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How can you summarize Robert M. Cover's "Violence and the Word"?

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Robert Cover was an American law professor who taught at Yale Law School. One of his most impactful essays is “Violence and the Word.”

This essay examines the undeniable link between the law in the form of legal literature and the inherent violence associated in law.

Cover notes that the idea of legal interpretation is “a social construction of an interpersonal reality through language.” This is at odds with “pain and death,” which are visceral emotions which impair one’s ability to interpret.

Similarly, when a judge “articulates her understanding of a text,” someone experiences violence, namely in their loss of “freedom, his property, his children, even his life.” Legal interpretations also consider previous acts of violence, which led to the judge’s interpretation and ruling. Victims are left behind and “lives have been torn apart,” which make the act of interpretation impossible to understand without understanding both the past and future violence associated...

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