Supportive Characters

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Dead Man Walking by Tim Robbins, Sister Helen Prejean

MITCH: See ya, man. Stay strong.

There is a crack in his voice when he says “strong.” Jim and Troy are beginning to walk out. Troy’s face is beginning to crumble into tears. Mitch and Lucille are moving toward the foyer. Lucille keeps jabbing a Kleenex to her eyes.”

Dead Man Walking is similar to Machinal because they both address the issue of capital punishment, but very different when it comes to character response. There isn’t as strong of a reaction to Young Woman’s death as there is to Poncelet’s (which is funny since his crimes were much more brutal).

Poncelet has a team of loving, supportive characters, which is different from Machinal, where no one is really affected from Young Woman’s death. Sure, Young Woman’s mother feels bad for her, but no one else really cares too much. There are no protestors, no gloomy guards, or sympathetic lawyers. No last meals, last words, or retrials. There’s not even much waiting around before her execution.

CLYDE: Poncelet should be stabbed seventeen times then shot in the back of the head, that’s what we oughta do to him.”

George H. Jones’s father doesn’t show up and furiously wish for a more appropriate “eye for an eye” death sentence and demand that Young Woman get hit over the head with a bottle full of pebbles (which would have been hilarious, btw). Maybe his parents weren’t alive and he didn’t have any siblings to come to Young Woman’s execution. It would have been interesting to see if any of them would have grudgingly forgiven her.

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This page contains a single entry by published on September 20, 2005 3:38 PM.

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