Essay on The Murder Of A Young Boy By William Landay

2208 Words Nov 8th, 2016 9 Pages
The definition of murder is the killing of someone unlawfully with premeditation. In the novel, Defending Jacob by William Landay, the main character’s, Andy Barber, son, Jacob Barber, is accused of the murder of a young boy, Ben Rifkin. Jacob is accused due to the findings of a bloody fingerprint on Ben’s dead body along with Andy finds a knife similar to the one that killed Ben. Andy then reveals that not only his father, but grandfather and great-grandfather were all sentenced to prison for murder. The results in court conclude that their family genes must contain “MAOA; a gene also known as the warrior gene because it has been associated with violence” (Hagerty). A person born with this “murder gene” is more likely to commit murder because the gene is associated with violent behaviors and antisocial behaviors (Hunter).
In the novel, Landay portrays Jacob as an innocent, shy boy at first, but throughout the story, there are secrets revealed to his father from other characters about who Jacob is. For example, Derek, Jacob’s best friend, tells Andy about the gruesome stories Jacob enjoyed to read that talked about cutting people up or cutting “things” off and then eventually killing them off (Landay 207). Or another example would be when Derek tells Andy the story of when Jacob killed a dog and buried it (Landay 209). Derek also reveals that Ben Rifkin, the dead boy, would bully Jacob and called him “gay” (Landay 205) Jacob’s character is slowly but surely revealed…

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