The essay deals with the pervasive US American ethos of punishing identified criminals harshly and retributively. Retributive justice has become part of the American landscape during the last forty years. Within the context of a literary and cultural studies program, the essay questions the best methods for teaching American punitivity. Not only religious attitudes or convictions have a bearing on individuals ‘attitudes about punishments and governments’ responses to these attitudes, but so in the American context do racism, public and media-related perceptions of crime, and forms of governmentally organized control.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 22
Keywords: punishment, American ethos, law and literature
Accepted Paper Series