The Case for the Defense

by Graham Greene

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How does Greene maintain suspense until the end in "The Case for the Defense"?

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I think that Greene is able to sustain the suspense feel of the short story because of the construction he offers.  Greene is able to develop the feel of suspense both in the courtroom and outside of it.  In operating through two realms, Greene is able to develop and sustain the feel of suspense in both worlds.  In the courtroom, the stunning reversal of Mrs. Salmon as a witness as well as all of the eyewitness testimony against the accused is powerful and filled with suspense.  This is continued outside the courtroom.  The scene after the trial is unclear, one in which there is chaos and little in way of certainty.  The fact that "it" happens without a sense of design, control, or even perceived premeditation is a part of this suspense.  In about five minutes, Mr. Adams goes from the thrill of exoneration to confronting or experiencing death, as we are uncertain which Adams dies at the wheels of the bus.  It is through this where Greene is able to continue the drive for suspense as the events of the courtroom spill into life outside of it.  In the idea of being able to challenge the reader's expectations in both realms, suspense is evident.

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