The Runaway Jury Essay, Research Paper
Normally the lawyers give their arguments and then the jury go and deliberate but not so in John Grisham?s thriller ?The Runaway Jury?. In this book one mysterious girl, known only as Marlee, is controlling the whole jury from the outside. Her background is obscure and if they knew it they wouldn?t trust her. Which way will she turn, for the plaintiff and send tobacco companies worldwide into a crisis, or for the defence and stop all litigation cases for a generation?
Her accomplice Nicholas Easter, is introduced as a mystifying potential juror. ?The problem with Easter, potential juror number fifty-six, was that they knew so little about him.? From this, we deduce that Easter will be the thriller aspect which Grisham is known to use throughout his novels.
His not-yet known enemy Rankin Fitch, the defence?s background man, is the next character brought to our attention. After showing the change in attitude as he walks in the door: ?Carl stopped. The lawyers bolted upright in their seats? Grisham uses the short paragraph ?Fitch was back. Fitch was in the room? to show us how powerful and respected this man is.
Easter also starts to gain respect and portray his image as the ideal jury leader through making known that he was an ex-law student and by trying to gain them extra amenities. One of the stranger things he wanted was to perform the Pledge of Allegiance every week as they walked into the courtroom.
Mystery seems to be cropping up all over as Marlee, the mysterious girl, shows up with the note: ?Dear Mr. Fitch: Tomorrow, juror number two, Easter, will wear a grey pullover golf shirt with red trim, starched khakis, white socks and brown leather shoes, lace-up? There is more to this woman than is first thought.
She then arranges a meeting with Fitch, at which she conveys what she?s really doing:
? ?So why are we here?? he asked.
?One meeting leads to another.?
?And where do all the meetings lead??
?To the verdict.? ?
Grisham is quite aware that both sides in trials bribe jurors but Marlee has been introduced to keep the reader captivated, as it is quite unusual for an outsider to volunteer to do the dirty work, for a price.
?the price of Pynex shares dipped ? attributed to the dramatic events in the courtroom?. This shows that Easter?s seemingly senseless demands and goings on in the courtroom were actually doing something aside from confusing the lawyers and judge. It also indicates that the book may have connections with the stock market.
Starting to move slowly away from the trial the book gives a view of Marlee and Easter?s previous life: ?Marlee met Nicholas when both had other names. The point of contact was in a bar in Lawrence, Kansas?. The author starts to pull back the covers on their previously unknown lives because they are the main characters yet their backgrounds are mysteries to everyone.
As well as perusing the lives of Easter and Marlee, Grisham also highlights some of the poignant witnesses in court, people such as Leon Robilio who spoke through his oesophagus because of throat cancer. He does this because as well as writing another thriller Grisham wants to highlight the dangers of smoking and what could be a more realistic way to do that than use scientists to go through charts and statistics and cigarette victims to unload their terrible stories and show some of the dirt on these companies.
Easter and Marlee have some dirt that Fitch wants to get his hands on. He know they had worked hard to cover up their backgrounds but he finds a gateway and becomes excited as he learns that Marlee worked in a bar and her previous name was Clair Clement. ? ?Know thine enemy,? he said aloud to his walls. The first rule of warfare.?
To show Fitch how powerful she and Easter are in controlling the jury and to gain more trust Marlee actually does something more substantial. In a call with Fitch she explains how Herrera will be bumped from the jury. ??Look, Herrera, number seven, is really getting on Nick?s nerves. I think we will lose him today.??
Fitch immediately intimidated everyone he made contact with but Marlee manages to look him in the eye without blinking and ask straight up for 10 million in return for his verdict. This shows that she is very strong and will not falter in dropping Fitch in the deep end.
The small pieces of stock information which had been laced through the book finally leads somewhere more understandable as Marlee sells ?fifty thousand shares of Pynex at seventy-nine. Hopefully she would buy it back in the very near future at a much lower price.? This shows us that Marlee may not have been true to her word with Fitch as the only way stock would go down significantly in this scenario would be the loss of the trial.
This is proven in Easter?s speech to the jury about his vote: ??I?m convinced cigarettes are dangerous and deadly; they kill four hundred thousand people a year?? He then goes on to vote for the plaintiff. This twist in plot was intentional from the start by Marlee, as her parents died of lung cancer and she wanted revenge.
In ?The Runaway Jury?, John Grisham successfully creates the environment of the courtroom and the hectic life of lawyers but unusually he places the focus in the jury. If you were a lawyer working a big case and someone like Marlee came to you she would be like an angel sent from heaven, I found her too good to be true. I doubt that you would be able to control the way a jury votes through one member of the panel and an outside person. You?d think that Grisham would run out of ideas after writing so many law thrillers but apparently not. It is an extreme but I think he?s made it work.