When a traumatic event happens, a multitude of people are affected. In Picking Cotton: Our Memoir of Injustice and Redemption written by Jennifer Thompson- Cannino and Ronald Cotton, the story of Thompson’s rape and Cotton’s conviction is unraveled through the perspective of both authors. The emotions that both Thompson and Cotton endure in the aftermath of the rape are shown with the alternation of speaker. With the change in speaker in each part of the book, the read gets to see the most significant part of the person’s life.
The memoir begins with Thompson’s rape, in the perspective of her. Telling the horror of Thompsons experience strengths the reader’s sympathy towards her as pathos dominates the first section of the novel. Being inside Thompson’s mind and knowing her strength throughout the crime acts as a characterization method for Thompson. Since the novel is nonfiction, the typical characterization methods used in other novels are not possible. Knowing how Thompson thinks and feels creates traits for her which later makes her conviction of Cotton understandable.
The transition to Cotton during his ime in prison enlightens the reader on Cotton’s life and also his innocence. An inside look of what a double life sentence can take from an honest man is shown as Cotton reveals his hardships during his memoir. Again pathos was used, showing the struggles and confrontation Cotton faces during his imprisonment. The theme of forgiveness results after Cotton’s perspective and thoughts are expressed and he chooses to forgive Thompson for her mistake. Having multiple speakers in the novel also has its disadvantages.
By changing perspectives from Thompson to Cotton, the eader is neglected the others thoughts during a certain time. While Cotton tells of his prison time, the read does not know how Thompson is the novel during this time. When the novel changes speakers back to Thompson she is married with children. There is a missing gap of time the reader never knows about. The reader also misses out on Cottons reunion with his community and friends. During times when both Cotton and Thompson are together, only one person’s thoughts are shown, blinding the reader to how the other person feels and what they are thinking.
The authors’ choice to share both of their stories in one novel had both advantages and disadvantages. While the different point of views showed how both Jennifer Thompson and Ronald Cotton were victims as a result of the crime committed by Booby Poole, the reader did not always get the full story of both speakers. Overall, the structure of the novel was strong and made a momentous impact on the reader and accomplished its goal of bringing awareness to wrongful imprisonment and also to forgiveness. Picking Cotton By alyssaduck
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