Dr. Mardson’s Presentation: Law

Law in literature, law as literature—literature is everywhere, yet people still question why law majors sometimes double major with English. John Mardson presented connections between literature and law and explained to the class why it is important for lawyers and law related job holders understand literature and it’s correlation with law.

First, to give his audience an idea of how literature was connected to law, he put on a skit between a lawyer and an offender.  He asked his audience (jury) what their verdict would be. To make a verdict the jury had to take in many considerations. Metaphors, similes, perspective, and setting all come in to play. It interested me how he combined simple literary techniques with law. For example, setting and perspective was no longer things we consider in literature but seem to leap off the page and plopped into a court room. Setting is important to analyze a crime. Perspective is important too, which is why on any case there are multiple witnesses and points of view.

To apply literature and techniques, Mardson presented a poem called “Law Like Love.” This poem presented law in many perspectives. For example, law to gardeners is the sun, law is wisdom of the old, and law to judges is the law. The stanza that caught my attention begins: “Yet law-abiding scholars write; law is neither wrong nor right, law is only crimes punished by places and by times, law is the clothes man wear anytime, anywhere, law is Good-morning and Good-night.” This caught my attention because it says law is up to interpretation. Literature is up to interpretation.

I was one of those people who continuously questioned law and English double majors. Although law doesn’t appeal t me and would not change my major or consider a double major with law, Mardson’s presentation did open my eyes to the connection between literature and law.

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