Discussions

  1) Why do you think the author gives “The 12 Angry Men” as the title of the play ? Why are these people so angry ? Do you agree that strong emotions can often affect our judgment ?
  2) Do you find it strange that the truth is sometimes in the hands of one person ? Why is it so easy for people to go along with the crowd ? What lesson should we draw from this ?
About the author
Born in New York City in December of 1920, Rose enlisted in the Army in 19
  42. Penning his fist teleplay For CBS’s Studio One in 1951, it was a mere three years later that Rose would become the head writer for that series and create the work that would become his masterpiece. Overwhelmed by the intense drama of the jury system while serving as a juror on a manslaughter case, Rose success that spawned an even more successful film in 19
  57. The film version was nominated for multiple Oscars including Best Picture and Screenplay, and marked Rose’s sole credit as co-producer
Background
Reginald Rose (1920- ) is a native New Yorker, best known as a writer for television. The Twelve Angry Men was written in 1954 based on his experience as a juror. The play was turned into a movie, with much abridgement. What distinguished Rose’s teleplays was their direct preoccupation with social and political issues. Rose is one of the outstanding television playwrights to emerge from the "Golden Age" of television drama anthology series. Rose takes a place in history at the top of the craft of television writing. In addition to other accolades, Rose was nominated for six Emmy awards during his career, and won three.
A Brief Introduction to the Judicial System in the United States
In America, there is a principle guiding a criminal court: the accused is convicted beyond reasonable doubt. In other words, innocent until proven guilty. The jury consists of 12 jurors, selected at random, who will give an unanimous verdict of guilty or not guilty through discussion. If the verdict is guilty, then the judge will give the sentence. If the verdict is not guilty, then the judge will have to acquit the accused
unanimous: unanimous: all agreeing completely verdict: verdict: an official decision made by a jury about whether someone is guilty or not guilty of a crime
acquit: acquit: to give a decision that someone is not guilty of a crime
Figures of Speech
Observe these sentences and find out the grammatical function of each of the italicized gerund phrase.
  1. They are the jury for the trial of a boy charged with murdering his father.
  2. He’s been arrested for muffing, picked up for knife-fighting.
  3. Let’s stop being so sensitive.
  4. …so I was used to wrenching myself away from friends.
  5. Keeping to myself was my way of not forming attachments that I would only have to abandon the next time was moved.
Structure of the text
Part ( para.1-
  8) The jury proved that the old man couldn’t have heard the boy yell. And the vote then was nine to three in favor of guilty. Part (para.9-
  62) The jury found some reasonable doubts in the old man’s testimony. No.3 was agitated by No.8 words and he even cried out the remarkable angry sentence “I will you” . The vote became six to six. Part (para.63-1
  14) No.8 proved another important piece of testimony against the boy impossible. No.5 also made by the boy. The vote accordingly changed to be 9-3 in favor of acquittal. Part (para.115-1
  64) The jury discussed the woman’s testimony and found some reasonable doubts in her words. Eleven jurors agreed that the boy is not guilty in the end. No.3 who persisted his own idea for a while finally changed his vote.
Word Study
court criminal : a court dealing with criminal cases involving crimes cf: civil court: a court dealing with cases involving private legal matters
juror: a member of a jury. foreman: the leader of a jury. jury: a group of up to 12 people, called “jurors” whose duty is to listen to the evidence given in a court trial and decide whether the accused is guilty or not guilty. preliminary: happening before sth. that is more important, often in order to prepare for it; preparatory
to serve a jail term: to spend time in prison as a punishment (also: to serve a sentence; to serve time) flimsy: thin,weak feeble as in “flimsy dress”, “flimsy cloth”, “flimsy building”, “flimsy evidence”, “flimsy argument”, “flimsy excuse” etc. listening while the evidence spilled out. to spill out: to come out in a large amount plain stupid (infml) simply, completely stupid Look, there was one alleged eyewitness to this killing…someone else claimed that… alleged: supposed to be true although there is no proof to claim: to state as a fact even though it has not been proved I kept putting myself in the kid’s place. If I was on trial for my life, I’d want my lawyer to tear the prosecutor’s evidence to shreds. to put oneself in sb’s place: to imagine myself to be in sb’s position
Sentence Paraphrase
Maybe we can all get out of here.
No.7 means that if everyone agrees that the boy is guilty, then they can take the verdict to the court and get the whole thing over and done right away. He is eager to get out of this jury room because it is hot and besides he has a ticket for a football game for that evening which he does not want to miss. These interesting details have been cut out with great reluctance because the text is too long for our purpose
…we’ve
got to send him to the chair. …we’ve got to send him to the electric chair (to be electrocuted )
Now we know where we are. Now we know what everybody’s attitude is. That’s old enough. The boy is old enough to be held legally responsible for his actions. He has reached the legal age for which the law can punish him for his crimes. I just think we owe him a few words. The society has not treated the boy very well. Therefore we should at least talk a little bit before we send him to the chair. The boy has a right to that. We should do it for him.
If her testimony don’t prove he’s guilty, the nothing does. I think her testimony is strong enough to prove he’s guilty. Notice the use of “don’t” instead of “doesn’t” showing No.10’s educational background.
You don’t believe the boy’s story. How come you believe the woman’s? She’s one of THEM, too, isn’t she? No.8 is pointing out a flaw in No.10’s logic. No.10 first says that you can’t believe those slum people, then he begins to quote one of those people’s testimony, but he is not aware of his self-contradiction.
writing
The Danger of Prejudice What is prejudice in your opinion? What harm does prejudice do? Is it possible to be an unprejudiced person?
 

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