The Runaway Jury Literary Techniques

John Grisham

Literary Techniques

Grisham leavens his plot with humor. Thus readers marvel at the intricate maneuvers of the competing conspirators and laugh at the ways some maneuvers work out. In a funny scene early on, one of the prospective jurors proudly announces that he is blind, a fact that millions of dollars paid to the jury investigators failed to uncover. Then this blind man wants to be considered for service in this law suit, or he will sue! In another early scene, Nicholas tests his ability to manipulate the jury by convincing them to recite the Pledge of Allegiance when they enter the jury box, a move which discomposes everyone else in the courtroom.

Grisham displays a dry, sardonic, and knowing humor, a technique that marks nearly all his novels. He offers a mocking insight into the vagaries of trials. For example, he writes of the jury's response to the taped deposition of the man whose illness brought on the suit: "Watching a dead man talk was quite compelling at first, but the jurors soon learned that his life had been just as boring as theirs. The heavy lunch settled in, and they began to twitch and fidget." Of human behavior Grisham is equally cynical. When Fitch's goons try to read Nicholas' stolen computer disks, they find, among other useless files, "a gawky poem he'd written about rivers" and later "more dreadful poems"—a subtle tangent about Nicholas' character. Grisham describes a black juror's consternation at the nondenominational Sunday service offered...

(The entire section is 400 words.)