Karan Jayachandra

Book: Misery

This post is a review mixed with a dilemma that I have been facing concerning the Capital Punishment. It has always surprised me to see people who were so sure about the positions that they hold on any matter. I, for one, am not entirely sure about anything. My positions are always held with a certain degree of confidence. Some more than the other.

I recently read the book, Misery by Stephen King. Spoilers Ahead In the book, Anne Wilkes the antagonist puts the Paul Sheldon her favourite writer through horrific conditions. These include making him drink wash water, burning his manuscript and most disgustingly chopping off his foot and thumb. I could not but read with anger to the end where I desperately waited to see her face justice and I must say secretly hoping for a lethal ending. This however, was not in line with my character. Overall the book was very well written and always had me turning my digital pages. The roller coaster that Paul Sheldon goes through nearly kills him and exhausts the reader. I think this is the highest praise you can give the book as it literally make the reader feel as though he is right there with the hero of the story. Although it was a great story I can’t but say that this is just another good book and not a book that defines a stepping stone in literature. Rating: ⭐⭐⭐⭐.

I had always considered human life to be sovereign, and no second person can endeavour to take it from them. This was despite the fact that heinous crimes are committed every day. I never understood how anyone including “judges” and juries could pass “judgement” on a fellow human condemning them to death. No matter the crime, it makes very little sense how anyone can claim that they have a right to take another life. This is also accompanied by the fact that most of such cases involve people who are not of sound mind. However, does this excuse such behaviour? I believed that the worst punishment that anyone could impose on the other was to exclude them for society. This is however an idealistic goal because we share the earth. My ramblings can go on and on, but I always held fast to the idea that no man can or should be able to decide another’s fate when morality itself is a social construct. Things that were legal or illegal in the past might not be in the future.

While reading the book though, a thought came to me, do people who skirt the law deserve to be protected by it. This started a train of thought that made me question whether my own argument was flawed. The law is constructed based on the mutual agreement amongst people about social behaviour. To make it clear, my definition of crime is an action that takes away the sovereignty of another person. This made me realize that you are protected by the law only as long as you yourself come into an agreement to follow its tenets. But if you decide to disagree and commit a crime, do you deserve to be protected by the same law? For example, once a man has killed another person, if a retaliatory move is made against him. Should the law hold the second person accountable. This would lead to a world where an eye for an eye is the mantra. There could also be cases where wrongful killing can take place. Therefore, the law intervenes and takes the burden upon itself to determine the next course of action. I can’t see the immorality in that.

In reality, I still believe that the Capital Punishment is not the right way to go about it. This is because we live in a messy and non-ideal world. The evidence and the process are not ideal and therefore cannot be considered to be perfect. However, in cases where it is proven without doubt via non-human (ripe with errors) methods, I might consider that the law has the right to choose. I am however always willing to change my mind if other evidence presents itself. So please do contact me via the links below if there are lapses in the way I am thinking of if you yourself have a different but constructive point of view and argument.