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Michael X on death row techniques

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“In the hope that public and political appetite for capital punishment would weary” – Personification. Robertson uses this to convey his opinion that people are quite savage and get pleasure from the death of people. “Michael X could have been executed at any moment, while his impoverished lawyer was waiting for someone to cancel their Caribbean holiday.” Irony. Robertson is highlighting the ignorance of most people in the middle to upper class in regard to the goings on of politics in smaller countries. “Committed death-row lawyers who delay the hangman with last-minute habeas corpus appeals” Legalese. This is used to express a level of formality and realism in his writing. “In the way that one might be taken by a zoo-keeper to see the rarest specimen in a monkey-house. Metaphor. This is used to describe the conditions of the prison Michael X was being kept in. Showing that they were in fact caged like animals. This allows the reader to sympathize with Michael.

“Which made him look like a Ku Klux Klansman” irony. This is because Michael X is a black man. It is ironic that he should die dressed similarly to such a racist group. “We hear the flying of the trap – we hear it distinctly” Quotation. Robertson includes this in order to increase factual reliability. “Had Michael planted trees instead, he might have eluded justice”. Ironic. This is because everything else he had done in order to cover up the crime was fine, but the fact that he chose to plant lettuce seeds instead of a tree meant that his whole plan failed. “Michael X became the cancer that the good people of Trinidad wanted to cut out of their society” Metaphor. This is used to create a level of understanding in the reader, in a more entertaining way. “Especially if the hearing dates could be fixed to coincide with the test cricket matches” Humor.

This bit of information is thrown in for entertainment. It’s not necessary. “In the justice game, losing by 3-2 is as bad as 5-nil.” Ongoing metaphor. The book is entitled ‘the justice game’ so Robertson continues with this theme throughout the book. “Cut his pound of flesh, so long as he cut not a fraction more or less of the appointed weight, or shed one drop of blood” Shakespearean allusion. Robertson includes this Merchant of Venice quote in order to parallel the situations in each story. “Like a remission of cancer in the body of a terminally diseased patient” Simile. This is included once again to create a level of understanding in the reader, in a more entertaining way. “But still St Joan’s question- ‘How long, O Lord, How long?’” Reference to Joan Of Arc, who also was executed. Comparing Michael X to a Saint highlights how highly he viewed him.

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