The Bad Seed: An Intimate Analysis

Essay by okeedokeyHigh School, 12th gradeA+, January 2007

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Rhoda Penmark, upon whom The Bad Seed is based, suffers from an antisocial personality disorder. To the common person, she would be known as a psychopath or a sociopath. It can be hypothesized that Rhoda suffers from antisocial personality disorder because the motives to her crimes are for her own self-fulfillment.


The Bad Seed is an astounding account of an 8-year-old girl that suffers from antisocial personality disorder. Rhoda was a very intelligent and well-liked young girl. Although she did not interact with her peers, whom she frightened, she did well with adults. Rhoda was very charming, smart, and well mannered, everything that people thought she was, but her actions were all calculated.

Christine Penmark, Rhoda's very pretty and kind mother noticed that there was more to Rhoda's behavior. Christine thought: "What an actress Rhoda is. She knows exactly how to handle people when it's to her advantage to do so" (March 13).

This quote exemplifies Rhoda's manipulative nature.

Although Christine thought Rhoda was [an actress, manipulative, whatever], she did not dig deep into it. It was not until the Fern sisters' annual picnic that Christine started to put the pieces of the puzzle together. Rhoda was sure she would win the penmanship award for improved writing, but Claude Daigle won the award because it was for most improved penmanship. A person that suffers from antisocial personality disorder usually has above-average intelligence, and they are master manipulators. These people also show no morals or emotions. Rhoda wanted to win the penmanship award - she felt she had deserved it most, more so than Claude Daigle. "'I don't see why Claude Daigle got the medal. It was mine. Everybody knew it was mine,' Rhoda said to her mother" (March 9).

An annual outing that the Fern Grammar School...