John Grisham Analysis

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John Grisham- Characters, Plot, and Popularity

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John Grisham Analysis

  1. 1. John Grisham: Characters, Plot, and Popularity Research Presentation by Matthew Thompson
  2. 2. Who is John Grisham? John Grisham gained success writing legal thrillers, some based loosely on his life as a lawyer, while others are strictly non-fiction works by the author. Some of his most famous works include:  The Firm (1991,) The Pelican Brief (1992,) The Client (1993,) The Rainmaker (1995,) The Runaway Jury (1996,) The King of Torts (2003,) and The Appeal (2008).
  3. 3. What are critics saying? According to Pringle (2003,) “though legal thrillers are his forte, he ranges widely within and sometimes beyond the genre, telling stories that are close to his heart.” This research includes four literary analysts’ views of Grisham’s various works including characters, setting, plot development, and impact on the body of literary works.
  4. 4. What Rubin says…  Grisham is the “Mississippi attorney who almost single-handedly created the pop literary genre known as the legal thriller.”  Grisham presents a “romanticized, glamorized depiction of the law.”  Grisham’s plots are elaborate, but lack real substance or purpose.
  5. 5. Rubin wraps it up…  She concludes her analysis with a note to lawyers by saying, they “might do well to throw away their boilerplate list of questions (Will you treat a rich company fairly?) and focus on basic query … How many John Grisham novels have you read?”
  6. 6. What Breen says…  John Grisham is one of the first “lawyer novelists.”  Grisham’s first novel, A Time to Kill (1989,) was “superior to all of its successors.”  A Time to Kill is “representative of the new style of legal novel, but is one of the classics of courtroom fiction from any period.”
  7. 7. Breen brings it home…  Grisham’s novels are better suited to screenplays than to novels.
  8. 8. What Brill Says…  There are few differences within Grisham’s legal thrillers.  Grisham writes flat characters and fast-paced plot.  Grisham “overwrites” his plots.
  9. 9. Brill breaks it down…  “Grisham’s grace in constructing a sophisticated story is so poorly matched by his writing.”
  10. 10. What Pringle says…  Pringle wrote about Grisham’s work twice-  John Grisham: A Critical Companion  Revisiting John Grisham: A Critical Companion  Each novel has a hero attorney, a government agency asking the hero for help and an unlikely ally for the hero.
  11. 11. What Pringle says…  Characters “take a backseat to plot”  A Time to Kill, according to Pringle, has the most realistic character in Jake Brigance. As many reviewers and Grisham say, Brigance is the most autobiographical of all his characters. In an author’s note, Grisham says: Jake and I are the same age. I played quarterback in high school, though not very well. Much of what he says and does is what I think I would say and do under the circumstances. … We’ve both lost sleep over our clients and vomited in courthouse restrooms. (“A Time to Kill” xi- xii)
  12. 12. What Pringle says…  Grisham’s plot development follows the pattern of most suspense thrillers.  The structure includes an introduction, rising action, climax, falling action, and catastrophe.  The primary force behind the story is good versus evil. This is found in nearly every Grisham thriller.
  13. 13. Pringle’s ponderings end…  “Bleachers ranks between A Painted House and Skipping Christmas. … it lacks to beauty and earnest effort at characterization offered up in A Painted House, but is … more substantial than Skipping Christmas.”
  14. 14. Wrapping it up…  Average Americans Read Grisham
  15. 15. Works Cited  Breen, Jon. “The Legal Crime Novel.” Mystery and Suspense Writers: The Literature of Crime, Detection, and Espionage. Ed. Robin Winks. New York: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1998.  Brill, Steven. “Uncivil Action.” The New York Times Book Review 30 March 2008: 5-9.
  16. 16. Works Cited  Pringle, Mary Beth. John Grisham: A Literary Companion. Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1997.  ---. Revisiting John Grisham: A Critical Companion.  Rubin, Jennifer. “John Grisham’s Law: the social and economic impact of a pop novelist.” Commentary. 127. 6 (June 2009): p 56 Literature Resources from Gale. Gale. TROY UNIV. 29 June 2009

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