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Imagine yourself convicted for a crime and sentenced to death Imagine the hate in the society towards you What kind of a soul would you have How would you feel about the thought knowing when you are going to die and in what way How will you react Who will help you out In the novel Dead Man Walking Sister Helen Prejean was asked to correspond with Pat Sonnier a man sentenced to die by electric chair for the murder of two teen-agers which he did not commit Dead Man Walking gives a moving account of her spiritual journey as she became knowledgeable about our system of capital punishment through her involvement in the lives and deaths of several convicted murderers their families the families of their victims and the people whose job it is to carry out executions Sister Helen brings a profound compassion to all the people she meets reflecting on her experiences from an engaged Christian perspective She helps the two death row inmates by loving them even though society despises them The soul of a man is reached and articulated through the assumption of those who love without judgment Sister Helens novel is a classic example of the practice of attentive love and of its consequences Throughout the novel Sister Helen quotes Albert Camus extensively on resistance to the death penalty The soul comes into articulation not through the discipline of punishment but through the practice of love a process that the death penalty may initiate When a human being is being subjugated to the power of the state he may enter into a religious functionary willing to be attentive to his needs for companionship In that exchange lies the possibility of constructionmaybe the reconstructionof the soul Her description of the relationship that developed between herself Patrick Sonnier and Robert Willie whom she is able to touch and love is clear testimony to the expression that is given thereby
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