The Theme of Capital Punishment in Norman Mailer's The Executioner's Song

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The Theme of Capital Punishment in Norman Mailer's The Executioner's Song

Throughout this entire book many different points of view are present. Since the main topic of the book is the murders that Gary Gilmore committed and the controversy of his sentence, it was difficult to choose the exact thesis. I believe I came pretty close with the one that I have chosen. I believe that Norman Mailer's thesis in The Executioner's Song (1979) is: The controversy over capital punishment.

One reason I believe that this is the thesis is because Gary Gilmore says, "Nicole my inclination is to let them execute me." (473) By Gary telling Nicole, his girlfriend, this he shows that he is ready and willing to accept the fact that what he did was
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This statement is that if they are going to impose the death penalty on someone they better be able to carry it out.

Another reason that supports the controversy is from the lawyer's standpoint. Gary's lawyers do not particularly believe in capital punishment, but they will defend Gary's right to have his punishment carried out. One of Gary's lawyers starts thinking about something Gary said and makes a realization. The lawyer now believes, about Gary, that, "If he had to stay in prison, he wanted to die. But if he could get outside that was another game." (908) By Gary's lawyer deducing this from the things that Gary started to say as his time came to an end, thoughts started rolling about what possibly could have been done all along. Even though neither one of his lawyers would help him get on the outside they still thought about what they could have done to save his life.

Lastly, I believe that the ACLU has a point in what they are trying to do, stop the execution. The ACLU is going to all kinds of courts to try and get enough people to go for an appeal on the case. This group of religious officials and others in the community protest outside the prison on the night before the execution is to take place. One of the members of the group, Bill Hoyle, says that he can get buttons for everyone that read, "Why do we kill people who kill people to show that killing people is wrong?" (778) This shows the side that is against

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