Bennet’s: The Executioner “I am the executioner.
When the crime is committed and the Lord Goddoes not take vengeance nor does the exalted State move to declare and thento punish, I say when these bitter events happen, then comes the time forthe executioner to declare himself or herself as the case may be. I havewaited long enough. So the time has come, and I declare myself the executioner. The three criminals are hereby sentenced to death. By fire.
By earth. By water. ” This is the direct and powerful quotes taken from the novel, TheExecutioner. It explains the basic plot of the story of the one word thatevery man fears: Revenge.
The Executioner was written by the Canadian bornauthor, Jay Bennett. The strengths and weaknesses of this report will bediscussed in detail, and the plot of this murder, suspense, and horrorstory are revealed. The plot will be discussed, for easier comprehension ofthe story. This plot begins when Bruce , an 18 year old high school boy was at abar with his best friend Raymond, and a few other friends named Ed, andElaine. Unfortunately, Bruce got intoxicated, but still decided to drivethe others home from the bar.
On the way home, Bruce began arguing withRay, (the only sober one), and the car was steered of the road into a tree. Raymond was killed by the accident. However, everyone thought that Brucewas not intoxcated at the time, and the car just accidentally swerved offto the side. Throughout the next chapters, Bruce keeps facing the guilt of killingRay, and tries to admit to everyone that he did. No one believes himthough, and think’s he’s just making up the story to cover the guilt up. This carrries on for a while, and Bruce feels even more depressed.
A fewdays later, a mysterious man, (the executioner) comes into the bank, andtakes out a letter (The one at the introduction of the review) and says,”The first shall die by fire. ” The next thing the story shows is a scene in a building, where Ed andBruce are walking. All of a sudden, Ed is trapped in a room, which is seton fire. Bruce tries to recue him, but was too late. Ed died of smokeinhalation. Bruce knows the fire resulted from the killing of Ray.
Thepolice however say the fire just started from a cigarette in a garbage can. The story’s next scenario is at the bank again, where the executionerpulled out the paper, which said, “The next shall die by water. ” Then, Bruce was discussing all the deaths with Elaine, who was in thecar when Ray was killed. Elaine then said she wanted to go sailing alone. Bruce insisted that she shouldn’t, for she might get hurt. She ignored hisplead, and left for sea.
The next morning, she was found dead. The policesaid it was by drowning from a cramp, but again, Bruce did not beleive it. At Elaine and Ed’s funeral, Bruce was walking around, and saw a strangeman dressed in a priest’s clothing. He approcahed the man, who said he wasReverend William Dunn. Dunn said that all the deaths were caused becausethe people did not repent. Bruce said he was mad, but the Reverend saidBruce was the one that was mad, and that if he didn’t repent, he was doomedto end up the same way.
Bruce ran off quickly. Two weeks later, Ray’s brother, Oliver came over. He talked to Bruceabout everything that was happening, and said to forget it, because none ofit was Bruce’s fault. He asked to be friends with Bruce, and Bruce agreed. The next thing they decided on was to find the executioner, (who they thinkis Reverend Dunn), and kill him.
Bruce first talked to his father about theReverend, and his dad says that the reverend has been dead for 5 years now!Bruce was then more determined to solve this mysterious problem, and curehimself of his past. Oliver and Bruce go where they think the executioneris hiding, and wait there, armed with guns. Oliver tells Bruce to stayright there, while he goes and looks for the executioner. Bruce all of asudden hears a scream and runs to find out what it is. He enters the roomwhere the scream came from, and sees Oliver with a reverend’s mask andclothes on with a gun pointing to Bruce’s head.
He directs Bruce to a pit,and throws him in. He says, “The first died from fire, the second fromwater, and now you, the final death, by earth. ” As the executioner wasabout to shoot him, he heard a bang. The bullet of Bruce’s father hadpierced through the exectutioner’s head. It was all over. The excellent use of plot, suspense, and amazing choice of characterscreates the perfect plot for the story.
The executioner provides thehorror, and mystery which adds excitement to this fantastic story. The useof plot twists creates suspense, and even more exhilaration throughout theentire story. A good example of plot twist was how the executioner turned out to beRaymond’s brother, Oliver, who seeked avengance from his brother’s death. The reader never sees this, until the end. This creates suspense, becausethe reader wants to find out throughout the story exactly who theexecutioner is. This tension is held in right until the very end.
The use of Oliver as the executioner was absolutely unanticipated. Bennett also creates Oliver in a great way, trying to pose as a friend toBruce, to make it seem more covered up. Oliver being the comforting man toBruce, turned out to be Bruce’s nemesis. Bruce was also a good creation ofa character.
His covered up personality in the story causes mystery amongthe reader. He is a shy boy, who seems to be lost in his own life. He seemsso afraid of everything, and when the executioner appears in the plot, hisworst of nightmares come true. Raymond was also a good use of character.
His ‘perfect’ personality and humor emphasizes the loss when he is killed. It makes the reader see his death as a greater loss, since he would havebeen a very successful man. Bennett also may have included a subliminal theme to the teenagers withdriving liscenses. In the plot, the reason for Ray dying was because ofdrunk driving. Bennett may have been emphasizing the thought that drivingdrunk kills. When some adolescents read this, they may think twice aboutdrinking and driving.
Another strength that Bennett used was that he created a certain moodin the story. At the beginning, all was calm, with humor added by Raymond. When Raymond dies, there is no humor left, just a void of sadness, and theexecutioner. Now that the humor is gone, all emotions are stressed onanger, and revenge.
This creates more excitment and anxiety in the heartsof the readers. It was also interesting to see how Bennett puts one chapter in everybook where the executioner goes to the bank, and reads the note. This islike the air of forboding, sensing that someone is going to die soon. Italso creates more fear for the reader.
The quote of “By fire, by water, byearth” is also ingenious. Using natural elements instead of weapons orother items also creates more terror, since they are more mundane than firearms. It is more of a pyschological scare that people are going to die fromsomething more enormous. Bennet also uses good description, which is essential in a story.
Anexample was on page 10 in the story. In this quote of Bruce taking a walkat night. “Standing motionless in the slowly fading light. He heard a neighbor’sdog bark, a deep and solemn sound died abruptly and all was still again. The air was quiet and soft as silk. He walked along the tree-shaded street,using the cane to favour his right leg.
The leaves overhead lay flat andthick along the twisted and narrow black branches. The air was quiet andsoft again. ” This quote shows the excellent description that Bennett usesin his stories. Bennett also masters one area in story writing.
This is suspense. Oneexample was at te end of the story, when Bruce and Oliver are trying tokill the executioner. Bruce is scared, and the suspense is brewing. “Come on Bruce. Your life’s on the line.
Would you rather take a gun toprotect yourself, or face the fact of ending up like Raymond? The choice isyours. Make the sensible move. “Two other classic quotes in the story cause suspense, and fear. These are: “The time has come, and I declare myself the Executioner.
” “The three criminals are hereby sentenced to life. By fire. By water. By earth. ” These two quotes show suspense, and make the reader wonder ‘Whatwill happen next?’ One clue that Oliver gives to Bruce that shows he might be theexecutioner is when he says, “Four indians in a car.
And then there werenone. ” This signals to Bruce that he is the last person left alive in thatcar; soon he will be dead. It also gives the reader a clue as to wheter ornot Oliver might be the executioner. This again arises suspense.
Bennett uses an interesting way to show the executioner’s motive to getrevenge. The first is by the quote stated at the beginning, saying that”When the crime is committed and the Lord God does not take vengeance, thencomes the time for someone to declare himself the executioner. ” At the endof the story, Oliver (the executioner) says some brilliant words that proveto be a very good strength in the story. This is his motive: “He died because of his friendship for you.
And now you talk of God. You killed him. And with that you killed me, too. My brother and I weregonna spend our lives together. We had such dreams. Such plans.
To becomegreat archetects. You destroyed the dream. Now you talk of mercy. There’sno mercy in this life. There is justice, and there is execution.
” This was a clever way for Bennett to express the words of hate andrevenge in the story. Again it was another strength for the book. As with any book, there are weaknesses. Fortunately, Bennett managed tokeep them to a minimum, making the book much more enjoyable. The firstweakness is one that Jay Bennett manages to do in every one of his books. This being that he includes too much dialogue in the story, making itextremely confusing after a while.
The reader seems to lose his or herplace some times because of it. An example is this conversation on page 64: “Why do you do that, Ed?” “I dunno. Guess it’s just instinctive. ” “That’s not a real reason. ” “Yeah it is.
And big deal if it isn’t. ” “No it isn’t. I know it. So do you.
” “Just drop it. Forget it. ” “No. I don’t want to. “This always causes confusion among the reader, and proves to be one weakness. The other weakness happened to be in the dialouge.
This was thatBennett used too much slang in the speech. He may have done it to suit theyounger readers, but others interperate as more confusion among the reader,and therefore a worse understanding of the book. One example was this quotetaken from the book: “Goddamn that was good. Helluva night there, eh Bruce?” Again thiscauses confusion among the reader, and also proves to be a weakness. Although there were a mere two weaknesses in the book, the book made anexcellent recovery by having over 10 strengths.
Bennett managed grasp thequalities of suspense with great expertise. He mixed revenge and anger tocreate an award winning novel. All the strengths show the high standard ofa book. The length was reasonably short, so it did not bore the reader.
Thesuspense was exhilarating, and so was the way the plot was laid out. Thegreat plot twist at the end showed exactly what Bennett is capable ofproducing. This was one of the best books written in a long time. Thisreview however can’t display the book’s moments. It has to be read, notreviewed.
Inside, Bennett also threw in a very important theme which is directedat teenagers. This being “Don’t drink and drive; a person might just losemore than their liscense. ” Maybe he should have added that the person alsohas to live with the guilt. . .
. for the rest of his life, and will pay forit, one way or another.