What is the importance of the character named Rudy in Ben's life in Deadline by Chris Crutcher?  How does Rudy affect Ben?

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In short, Rudy is one of “the unsavable” who Ben is “hardwired” to try and save in Deadline.  There is little hope for Rudy.  Molested as a child, Rudy grows up to be a child molester (of young boys).  Even worse, one of Rudy's victims kills himself.  Rudy tries to drown his tragedy in both drugs and alcohol.  This is where Ben appears.  Ben decides he is going to help the “town drunk” (Rudy) to “get healthy” before knowing the exact situation.  Healthy food and drink do not even scratch the surface of what Rudy really needs:  forgiveness and redemption.  Ironically, Rudy helps Ben by teaching Ben all about Malcolm X.  Ben comes into the picture only when Rudy is beyond saving because Rudy believes that even the forgiveness within the Roman Catholic Church is not enough to redeem him.  Through the character of Rudy, Ben learns about the complexities of life. 

[Rudy was] about the lowest thing this society has to offer, but [to Ben he] didn't seem like that kind of low guy … he just seemed sad.

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