Thursday, April 11, 2013

The Sweet Hereafter: Blame and Civil discourse

We be surrounded by unexplainable horrors: gang strength and murder; hurri flush toiletes and other natural disasters cause hundreds of casualties; giant rider planes clash into the ocean and hundreds die terrifying deaths. Justice and our pursuit for deterrent example peace servemingly require us to image an answer for these tragedies make up though we subconsciously know that definitive answers may not exist. Nonetheless, we need to blame firearmyone. The courts often cannot decisively resolve who is to blame and make up when at that place is closure, we generally earn no cure other than imprisonment or recompense to make things right again. Efforts to assign blame often bl dying to suffering while the failure to make the effort leads to approximately lasting damage to the soul, both individual and communal. Thus, we seem to carry no choice even though we understand that moral peace willing not be found of all timey way. This struggle to assign blame, responsibility and liability is the core of The concoction hereinafter. The book was inspired by a 1989 school mountain crash in south Texas which took the lives of 21 children, initiated multiple fair playsuits and, in some ways, destroyed a conjunction. In The lovely Hereafter, Banks examines blame, responsibility, liability, lawyers, truth, greed, and the implications of participation as a result of the catastrophe. This horrific and unexpected issuing brings to light the moral implications of tragedy while questioning communal and personal responses to that tragedy.

The reader learns the accounting through the detailed recollections of individually of the central characters. The first four chapters present the perspectives of four teller-witnesses who each give their views of the bus crash: Dolores Driscoll, baton Ansel, Mitchell Stephens, and Nichole Burnell. But the events, overleap for the crash it self, dont matter as much as the characters interpretations of the events and the fix of those events on the characters and on Sam scrape. In telling the a equivalent(p) story from various participants points of view, Banks shows us that what is a tragic riddle to Dolores Driscoll, is an chance to the grieving father Billy Ansel, is a tragedy with someone or something at fault for Mitch Stephens, and is an ironic hazard for freedom for Nichole Burnell. Rather than taking a neutral military position that truth is undiscoverable and possibly absent, Banks advocates that truth is multi-dimensional and often cannot be revealed from a iodin vantage point. The uncertainties of truth in The Sweet Hereafter argon symbolized by Banks? story telling styles. Banks moves from narrator to narrator, and we learn different papers of in mildewation as the story unfolds piece by piece.

The bus crash and the law suits that follow are a test of extreme psychological pain for the picayune t knowledge of Sam turn. The people of Sam Dent seemed to perplexity almost each other through hard successions, matrimonial infidelity, heavy drinking, and other stressful situations. Now they are constrained to suffer through the loss of many of their children. Nichole Burnell recounts her fathers argument with Billy Ansel about the ensuing lawsuits: ?Daddy said, ?Theres a whole multitude of people in townsfolk thats involved with lawsuits. Were hardly unique(p) here, Billy?You cant just turn this off because you happen to envisage its a bad idea. Half the town is suing somebody or other, or getting ready to?? (193). The loss of the children is permanent, barely alternatively than confront their grief and move on, some of the victims turn to the law to ease their pain and overly to receive compensation for their suffering. The adjunct confederacy in the town fetchs destroyed. As Dolores tells her version of the events in the book, a follow or at least a blur of some kind passes quickly across the room of the bus as it travels down the snowy road. Dolores says, ?It was a dog I saw for certain. Or I thought I saw?(1). Dolores is hesitant in recollecting what was in the road, if there was even anything there. Dolores admits that she simply doesnt know how fast she was going although she told the police ?Fifty, lv is all?(33). Whereas Nichole, a crippled survivor, says that Dolores was speeding at the time of the adventure. However, Nichole deceitfulnessd about the speed as a system to displace the lawsuits and to punish her father for sexually abusing her. To Billy Ansel, who was avocation behind the bus in his pickup, it was all an accident. But as he says in the book, many townspeople and lawyers couldnt leave it at that: ?And then there were those folks who wished to consider that the accident was not really an accident, that it was somehow ca employ, and that, therefore, someone was to blame. Who caused this accident besides? Who can we blame??(73-74). Very quickly, many of the parents come to see this tragedy as anything plainly a simple, yet unexplainable, accident. Those parents and victims, with the dish of a crowd of invading lawyers, attempt to reassess the story to hazard the truth. As Stephens says: ?I knew at once that it wasnt an ?accident? at all. There are no accidents. I dont even know what the word means, and I neer trust anyone who says he does?( 91). Stephens passionately wants to uncover the truth, but his tactics of to finding the truth are unsuccessful in this case, and do nothing but further disrupt the lives of the residents in Sam Dent. Banks conducts an ?investigation? of the accident in his novel. He examines the cause and effects of blame and also compels us to think about why we so urgently need to assign responsibility when something goes wrong.

Banks attempts to move past the beaten(prenominal) stereotype to show that even though lawyers do ? pursuit ambulances?(90) and use problematic situations or events to lead them to money, they are also sincere people with multiple motivations. Stephens was ?somebody who is addicted to this service of finding the truth behind other peoples tragedies??(91) Mitchell Stephens wanted to believe that the crash was an injustice, rather than a fortuity. He hoped to prove that there was some human or corporate culpability that resulted in the deaths of the children. However, his desire to find the truth led to a turpitude of the social community in Sam Dent. Everyone?s lives began revolving around court legislations and evidence, which never made any progress and provided prolonged the grieving make for. Billy expresses his frustration with the infestation of lawyers: ?This has become a hateful place to live, Sam. Hateful?(196). Sam recognizes that the lawyers make up instigated the desire to find closure and place the blame of the crash on someone, rather than accept the tragedy as a pure misfortune, with no one at fault. Mitchell Stephens is a man driven by the search for truth and justice, but at the same time, recognizes that some of the general stereotypes are placed upon him: ? stack immediately assume were greedy, that its money were after... its anger that drives us and delivers us?what it is, were permanently pissed off, the winners, and practicing law is a way to be socially useful at the same time, thats all?(90). Lawyers are neither the villains nor the saviors in The Sweet Hereafter. Instead they are representations of computable and evil, but nonetheless are focused on triumphant a battle. All of them are looking for money, some for justice, some are moved by anger, some to erase their own personal pain, but all lawyers are on a mission to assign blame. In hopes of some form of self help and personal satisfaction, the people in Sam Dent turn to the legal system seeking answers and some form of conclusion.

A true conclusion to this tragic event, however, will never be found. When Nicole Burnell lied by blaming Dolores for the accident, all the possible fiscal benefits from lawsuits were ruined, thus ending the searching frenzy for a villain. Nicole said, ?Dolores was drive too fast, and it scared me?(213). She goes on to say that Dolores was Driving ?lxxii miles an hour?(213). Now, accusing Dolores for causing the accident could be justify by Nicole?s deposition. Immediately, all the blame was directed at Dolores.

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Nichole tells her own truth and ostracizes Dolores from the community, but becomes viewed as a scrapper for putting an end to the case. Billy Advocates Nichole?s decision to end the case: ?The girl has done us all, any single person in town, a valuable service?(240). Whether Nichole was real lying or not, sacrificing Dolores for the inviolable of the whole town was seen a heroic act. The idea of ruining one citizen appeared to be a way for the community to cleanse itself of its collective anger and blame. The chaos and constant skepticism in Sam Dent was erased, and everyone was enabled to end their grieving process and move on with their lives.

Dolores Driscoll did not deserve the community?s blame, but the community ?killed? heranyway. The blame for an aver injustice had to go somewhere, and Dolores was available due to her centrality to the accident. Nichole?s lie had two effects. First, it unfairly placed all the blame for the children?s deaths on Dolores. But equally important, by eliminating any hypothesis of a lawsuit, the lie destroyed any chance for Dolores to ever prove to her neighbors that she was innocent. She had grieved as well, but now she wanted her town back, and she expected them to accept her and her husband. She says, ?Sam Dent was our permanent womb-to-tomb community. We belonged to this town, we always had, and they to us; nothing could change that, I thought. It was like a true family?(223). Dolores had accepted the fact that she was the victim of the blame, but she still hoped that she would be forgiven. Sadly, this was not the case for Dolores, as seen at the wipeout Derby at the end of the story. Attending the Demolition Derby is important to the Driscoll?s not only because they get a line it every year, but because this year they will see if the town has accepted them back as members of the community. When she and Abbott arrive, none of the townspeople have intercourse them anymore. But when Nichole Burnell arrives, the crowd applauds her and praises her presence. Additionally, the crowd begins to unanimously cheer every time Dolores?s old car was hit in the derby. The crowd had united to oppose anything associated with her, just as the community had united to blame her for the death of the children. Dolores expresses her emotions: ?I had come to happen utterly and permanently separated from the town of Sam Dent and all of its people?we were as good as cold?(253). After this, she and Abbott leave the fairgrounds with the light of the town behind them. Dolores is piteous into a world of her own alone with Abbott, and is beginning to find a comfort in being in the ? obscure darkness.?The Sweet Hereafter Emphasizes the destructive affects of Nichole?s lie and the diverge of lawyers on the general public opinion. When bad things happen to good people, the natural human reaction is to try to assess blame. The stovepipe thing that the litigation process could have done in Sam Dent was convince the victims that what occurred was simply a misfortune with no one at fault. But the system was used to uncover vulnerable individuals and expose them to the discrimination and frustration of alliance?s urge to blame When a tragedy occurs, we can be sure of one thing, and that is that there will be blame. The litigation process can either drive it remote or properly direct it. But when the legal process gets corrupted, as it does in The Sweet Hereafter, the danger is that the blame will be wrongfully placed on the innocent. The Sweet Hereafter is not about Mitchell Stephens? defeat or Nichole Burnell?s revenge. It is about the influence of lawyers on the desires of the community, and Dolores Driscoll?s realization that once her community mistakenly channeled its blame at her, she was ?as good as dead?(254).

Works Cited1) Banks, Russell. The Sweet Hereafter. New York: Harper Perennial, 1992. Print.

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