Discussion Topics

(Masterpieces of American Literature)

Scott Turow once supported but now firmly opposes the death penalty. He voices this opposition in both his novel Reversible Errors and his nonfiction study Ultimate Punishment. What reasons does he advance for his opposition?

Personal Injuries is full of descriptions and images of people who are sick, injured, or dying. Provide examples and then speculate about Turow’s purpose in doing so. For instance, why does Turow include Rainey?

Turow relies heavily on metaphorical language to define his characters. Choose a central character from Presumed Innocent or Burden of Proof and list some of the images associated with him or her. Explain what these images/pictures reveal about the character.

Discuss narrative voice in Pleading Guilty. Through whose eyes do readers see events? How does that affect an understanding of the whole? Does Turow provide any other perspectives? How?

What can readers learn about courtroom strategies from Turow’s books?

What family secrets are ultimately revealed?

What are some of the signs that the main character in Burden of Proof, Sandy Stern, is learning, maturing, and discovering his own previously hidden qualities?

Sandy Stern is an accomplished and insightful lawyer, yet he is blind to the actions of his wife, brother-in-law, and three children. What are two or three reasons for this blindness? Does Stern’s background provide any explanation for his inability to “read” his family?

Do you trust Rusty Sabich? Why or why not?