The Case for the Defence
The Case for the Defence is a short story written by Graham Greene. The story takes place in England around the time it was written, in the late 1930’s, when aconviction for murder carried a death penalty. We find ourselves in Central Criminal Court in London where the trial of the “Peckham murder” is being held. In this story we meet Mrs. Salmon who testifiesagainst the defendant Mr. Adams. But it turns out he has a twin brother and the witnesses can not be sure of which one of them they saw. Mr. Adams is therefore aquitted, although one of them commited themurder. Outside of the courtroom one of the two brothers is pushed by the crowd and hit by a bus. If it was the murderer or not we do not know. But what we do know, is that their might be a killer thatMrs. Salmon witnessed against on free foot.
The narrator of the story is most likely the prosecutor as he is in the courtroom, and talking to Mrs. Salmon , following her out after the trial andspeaking of her as the ideal witness. The narrator does not participate in the plot, but he or she is observing and refering from the events of the story in third person. By having a third person narratorthe author achieves an open story where you need to read between the lines, whereas an omniscient narrator to take an example, would know everything about the characters and in a way kill some of thetension in the story.
Even though Mrs. Salmon is not really significant to the theme, she is important to the plot of the story and is the protagonist. Mrs. Salmon is a round character and isdescribed like this by the narrator: “She was the ideal witness, with her slight Scotch accent and her expression of honesty, care and kindness. (...) There was no malice in her.” The reason I think theauthor chose to describe Mrs. Salmon like that, is to point out that she would tell the truth, that she would be a character with credibility. That way the reader can be sure that it really was Mr. Adams...
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