Crimes and Passion Essay

Crimes and Passion Essay - Don't Judge a Prisoner by his...

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Don’t Judge a Prisoner by his Tattoos Most individuals would not describe a trip to prison as an introduction to an untapped “artist colony”. Ken Lamberton, on the other hand, felt exactly that way. In his essay “Crimes and Passion”, Lamberton describes his descent into the Arizona State prison system as an almost pleasurable trip which changed his mindset on being locked up while also reshaping his opinion regarding those whom he was incarcerated with. The essay not only recalls his time in prison, but also includes his take on the changes which have taken place since he was there. As a regular visitor, he acknowledges the fact that the prison system has made many steps toward hindering the creativity of prisoners as well as creating an environment of control. He is optimistic, however, noting that this has not stopped them from finding ways to express their creativity, an activity which is not commonly associated with acceptance in lockdown. Much of the article delves deep into the different ways which prisoners express themselves that many outsiders would never expect; between expressing remorse over their crimes to simply having the blues about being incarcerated, all forms of artistic expression are viewed as beautiful and telling by Lamberton. In writing this essay, Lamberton hopes to change the societal stereotypes about prisoners which only help to facilitate their negative image, while instead trying to express his idea that both crime and art arise from the same human impulse: passion. Ken Lamberton is certainly qualified to speak on the prison system as he spent a considerable amount of time in one personally. The audience can see that he is a credible source in this area not only through knowledge of that fact but also by knowing that he is a former high school English teacher and currently works as the associate editor of Walking Rain , a creative writing journal comprised of work by Arizona State prisoners. The audience discovers that he
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had been in prison at the beginning of the story, but the reason why he was sent there (having an affair with a 14-year-old student) is not mentioned until near the end. This likely is due to the fact that inclusion of that statement at the beginning of the essay would lose the attention of many readers as well as tarnishing the author’s credibility in the minds of some. It could be viewed as a defense mechanism, or as the author’s way of indicating to the audience the danger of forming opinions about others before investigating the facts—which is the basic thesis of his
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This note was uploaded on 04/02/2008 for the course ENGL 102 taught by Professor Bivona during the Spring '08 term at University of Arizona- Tucson.

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Crimes and Passion Essay - Don't Judge a Prisoner by his...

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