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ILS 4190- Week 3 Discussion: The Bad Seed (Chapters 1-9)

Aug 8, 2023

Week 3 Discussion: The Bad Seed

Reflect on the assigned chapters of The Bad Seed. Record your response(s) to the characters and events as they unfold. Mark passages that stand out to you as significant so that you can refer to them during the discussion.  Select one of the prompts below or create a focus for the initial post:

  • Which characters are likable? Which are not? How does the narrator influence our perception of the characters? Select three characters. In the initial post, focus on one important aspect of each character.
  • Examine the setting (time and place) and consider the social conventions that govern the actions of the characters. What does an analysis of the setting allow us to understand about the conflicts March asks us to examine?
  • The novel asks us to examine what is natural and unnatural behavior. An integral part of the debate on natural and unnatural behaviors addresses questions of nature and nurture. How does the novel challenge and/or reinforce our assumptions when we consider these debates?

Discussion 3

The notion of The Bad Seed is based on the killer instinct that develops across the generation. Thus, this novel is based on the seed that lies in the dormant confines of Western Society. This story is basically based on the Western lifestyle that sprouts up society in order to maintain an unhealthy and repressive lifestyle. I really liked the characteristics of Christine Penmark, who is one of the most beautiful and recognized to be a loyal housewife and mother to Rhoda. Thus, the most interesting part of Christine’s character is that being an adopted child, she grew up and eventually learn how to lead in the difficult situation in daily life. Thus, later Christine, learns about her biological mother, named Bessie Denker, who is famously known to be a serial killer, and this trait is present in her daughter ((Kabadayı, 2021)). As Christine knows well, that her daughter is just like her grandmother. Apart from this, I really liked the character of Rhoda, who is a manipulative, and selfish little girl. Actually, I really liked the three members of the Penmark family, as I really liked the character of Kenneth Penmark, who is one of the good-looking officers, and is in immense love with his wife, who is completely taken by her little girl Rhoda.

The setting is based on a gloomy plot, where, I liked the family setting of the Penmark Family, with a loyal mother who is busy and involved with the household life. Apart from this, Kenneth Penmark is one of the most influential men, who is busy attending the office, and very attracted to his family. Thus, one of the major character analyses which I would like to do is based on the character of Rhoda. She is a manipulative and selfish girl, within this family setting. Therefore, this novel has been set under her name, as the seed. Rhoda encompasses the characteristics that encompass something that does not satisfy her (Kabadayı, 2021). Eventually, all could recognize her character that Rhoda is developed in a wicked tone, with a wicked form of nature. As Christine could recognize that, her daughter has inherited the characteristics of her grandmother, who was a notoriously serial killer.

This novel eventually focuses on the characteristics of the killer’s nature, which is actually based on the notorious killing psychology. Hence, the seed is categorized into the forms of wickedness, which is unlike the most significant problem based on the impulsiveness of a child, and the kind of misbehavior conducted by a child, which can be recognized as one of the matters of struggle on a daily basis. Thus, this story struggles with the challenges of the wicked mindedness of Rhoda and her intentions to kill. Thus, this novel also shows how Leroy is obsessed with an aggressive sexual longing for Christine while having a sinister relationship with the little girl Rhoda in order to describe the courtship. Thus, the main challenge of this novel shows how Jessup’s family falls victim to Rhoda.  


Kabadayı, L. (2021). Charming but Villain: Cross-Cultural Perspective on the Evil of a Little Girl in the Adaptations of The Bad Seed. In International Perspectives on Rethinking Evil in Film and Television (pp. 104-111). IGI Global.

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