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The Sweet Hereafter-Theme on Dolores Driscoll - Essay Example

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Summary
Most literature that deals with law, in fact, tends to focus on crimes rather than civil wrongs. One exception is a current work by Russell Banks entitled The Sweet Hereafter. The story involves a school bus crash that kills fourteen children and the legal aftermath of the tragedy…
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The Sweet Hereafter-Theme on Dolores Driscoll

Download file to see previous pages... The goal of the lawyers, once they have enlisted clients, is to target the affluent or deep-pocket defendants.
We hear the story through the comprehensive introspections of each of the fundamental characters; the bus driver, a number of parents, one of the wheelchair-bound children, and particularly the big-city lawyer hungering, he says, for righteousness. However the events, apart from the crash itself, don't in actual fact matter so much as the characters' elucidations of the events as well as the consequence of those events on those characters and on Sam Dent. The bus driver, a vigorous, fine woman, Dolores Driscoll, takes us along her way and informs us regarding the children until the instant the big, yellow International leaves her control. Banks takes the account complete circle when Dolores Driscoll arrives at a tentative and heartrending understanding with her Sam Dent neighbors.
Dolores Driscoll is accountable for the loss of 14 innocent children. As it was a usual day for Dolores apart from the fact that she was driving the children to school and then she ensues to see something in the road. Dolores is not unerringly sure of what it is but she articulates "It was like a ghost of a dog I saw, a reddish-brown blur, much smaller than a deer." When she perceives this animal like figure Dolores turns sharply to a side of the road. In doing so she drives the bus into a trench and 14 children die right away when they strike the icy water.

Thus the story of the incident is told by four characters, who present their versions of the crucial facts in narrative style. All of them struggle, not only with the relevant facts, but with their own personal backgrounds and values. The first narrator or witness is the bus driver, Dolores Driscoll, an established member of the community. She explains what happened in a manner that exonerates herself. Her version is acceptable to the lawyers because their focus is on defendants who have greater resources. The lawyers who are pursuing clients also engage in lawsuits against each other arising out of claims of improper solicitation. The town is enmeshed in the legal web.

The next narrator is Billy Ansel, the father of twins killed in the accident. Billy was a witness to the accident since, according to his custom, he was following the bus at the time of the accident. A veteran of Vietnam, his life has been filled with random violence and inexplicable death, like that of the accident. He resents the lawyers and refuses to join the lawsuit. He does not believe that litigation or money will quell his pain. He rues the fact that "there'll be all kinds of appeals, and I'll be tangled up in this mess for the next five years. This thing is never going to go away". He is, however, a crucial witness for the lawyers and claimants.

The third narrator is the key lawyer, Mitchell Stephens, who represents the popular image of an aggressive personal injury lawyer. He feels fully alive only when pursuing a major cause of action. He believes that misfortunes or accidents do not exist, only injustices that demand a remedy in court. He believes in his role as protector of the wronged, but is ready to manipulate the facts and the people to accomplish his personal goals. Although a caricature of the modern trial lawyer, he represents both the best and worst qualities of ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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