Humiliated Justice In “The Deposition”

This essay has a total of 917 words and 4 pages.

Humiliated Justice in “The Deposition”


Tobias Wolff’s “ The Deposition” is a story of humiliated justice and the lies behind the humiliation. The characters in the story search for their right and get deprived of that as false statements and confessions obstruct their ways to achieve what is just. Starting with the witness in the court and then with the lawyer Burke, the characters undergo an echoing ambiguous treatment of fallacy and false justice that turns the story into a tale of escaping truth and trying to establish their own lies which leads judgments to be wrong.

The main character of the story, the lawyer Burke, has come to New delft “ to take this important deposition in person” (1) and his client was a woman whose son was a “paralegal in Burkes firm”(3). Due to the surgical malpractice of the surgeon, the woman has lost the proper functioning of her left hand and cannot work anymore at the reservation desk of a car rental office as she was a “fifty-eight-year old booking agent who could no longer use a keyboard.” (1). However the woman did not give up her hopes to get the justice for the loss she has encountered. According to the narrator, “she was a battler.”(3) and therefore she moved to San Francisco to live with her son and to fight the battle for justice. She searched for her rights and wanted to achieve them and thus she was never afraid of producing proper documents and reports to the investigators, threat of counter suits and nothing could prevent her from seeking justice “she lowered her head and kept coming.”(3). This attitude of the old and poor woman who had “spent all her savings going after the surgeon” (3) inspired Burke to deal with her case so that she could find some peace and justice after what had been done to her.
When Burke takes the old disabled woman’s case to the court, we see an ambiguous and strange scenario where the witness does not remember what he has said earlier. “The witness was playing hard to get. Statements he had made earlier to his girlfriend, another nurse, statements crucial to Burke’s case, the witness now declined to repeat under oath. He claimed not to remember just what he had said, or even to recall clearly the episode in question..”(1) This was because “he was no doubt under great pressure to stand by the surgeon…he simply claimed not to recall any of it clearly.”(3). Moreover, the lawyer, Burke, could feel the reluctance of the witness’s to tell the lie as he was forced to lie which he did not want to do intentionally. So, there was

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