Saturday, April 18, 2009

May it please the court

Current book: An American Tragedy
Pages read: 678-697

Clyde's trial has started, and we're being treated to pretty much a word-for-word transcription of the lawyers' statements so far. There was jury selection, too, which was less word-for-word, but still not the most thrilling thing to include in a novel, if one were to consider it carefully. (I'm not sure, for the record, that Dreiser is altogether chary in such considerations. (Hah. For the record. Legal pun.)) Anyway, so basically it's going to come down to how trustworthy the jury thinks Clyde is, because there's not really enough evidence to convict him beyond the ol' shadowy doubt, but it's damn close. Both sets of lawyers are making it into a character contest as a result, and frankly, I don't think Clyde's character is going to stand up to scrutiny. Neither, apparently do his lawyers, who are going to cast him as a victim of circumstance and the illnesses of American society, it seems.

He's been heavily coached to believe that he is, in fact, innocent. I'm pretty sure his lawyers did that because they knew if he thought he were really guilty, he would totally break down on the witness stand. (Have I mentioned that he's a worthless schlub? I believe I may have. He's also really not that smart. I mean, Christ, he worked from his own initials to make up the pseudonyms he used to sign at various hotel registers. I suppose, as I mentioned before, I ought to think he's a better person because of the fact that planning a murder caused him to have lapses in judgement, but instead it just makes me go, "You can't even kill somebody right. Schlub.") Chances are pretty good that he'll break down on the witness stand anyway. I'm kind of excited for it. (I keep wanting to type witless stand. Fruedian much?)

That was a lot of post for 20 pages. It may be that I just don't want to get to The Bostonians very much. Although I will get to use the phrase "The Woman Question" a lot, and who doesn't love that?

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