dead man walking analysis essay

The question of whether capital punishment is right or wrong has truly become a tough choice to make. One of our nations most controversial issues is capital punishment. Capital punishment needs to become abolished because the unjust and cruel system does not appear for those who cannot pay for proper representation. Rich men do not belong there for one reason, which results from hiring high trained and well-paid lawyers. Being unjust, one can think of numerous ways to approach an argument for or against capital punishment. And not only are these excellent arguments, they tend to change ones point of view constantly if provided with good grounds. Sister Helen Prejean’s novel, DMW, discusses and defends her personal views on capital punishment while stating that capital punishment should be illegal.

Prejean successfully defends her views on capital punishment and was very brave and courageous for dealing with this delicate topic. She was a spiritual advisor and friend to two death row inmates, Patrick Sonnier and Robert Lee Willie. From these experiences, she developed her own views on death penalty. Prejean believed that capital punishment was morally wrong and spoke openly about it such as, “maybe violence is natural to him.” (11) The death penalty is legal because the government of the United States of America says that it is all right to execute another human being if their crimes are not punishable by other means. Even though Prejean knew Sonnier and Willie was dangerous and that there are no excuses for their crimes, she declared that a death sentence should not be the only answer.

Prejean as a spiritual advisor was successful when it came to dealing with the issue of capital punishment compared to others. DMW chooses to use the lethal injection form of capital punishment and hits on emotions that some people have never thought about feeling. Prejean tried her best to comfort the two inmates in their time of sorrow and need. Most of the time, this is what brought Prejean to visit them as the “sheer weight of his loneliness, abandonment, draws me.” (22) She tried her best to grant stays of execution or a court appeal for these inmates and fought for what she believed in. In the end, she did truly help and change Sonnier and helped him realize that the truth would save him. Although he was stubborn and biased in the beginning, he let his guard down and accepted his actions. DMW shows that capital punishment affects more people and their lives than one would perceive.

At the end of the story, Sonnier was not a danger at all to anyone and in fact became a better person. While it might be stretching such an observation to say that a convicted murderer should be let free, it would be fair to say that a life sentence is not merely wasting tax-dollars. Prejean stated, “I’m just trying to follow the example of Jesus who said every person is worth more than him/her worse act.” This relates to her because she was trying to help Sonnier realized that he was not an animal or worse.

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