The commission of a crime is surrounded by several circumstances. This also goes to say that people have different motives and reasons in carrying-out wrongdoings such as killing others. As such, it is essential that the nature and kind of crime are established in order to apply the law accordingly. Confirming the correct type of crime done also enables authorities to perform the required actions concerning the conditions of both the victim and suspect. As regard the crime of killing, whether murder or homicide, the condition appears to be simple.
However with the reality that the details or circumstances of killing someone varies and that these determine the corresponding sanction to be applied, there is a need to confirm if the killing is a planned crime or is a result of an emotional outburst. This situation particularly points to the significant difference between a crime of passion and a premeditated crime. At the onset, there appears to be a variation between the said two kinds of killings. This is because of the evident fact that a crime of passion is characterized by emotional component while the premeditated crime signified the factors of planning and intention.
But if the case is to be analyzed, it will be confirmed that the difference between the said two kinds of killings is important to be known. This is due to the condition that such difference serves to be the determining element of the degrees of crime committed. In particular, a crime of passion that was performed outright or resulting from an unexpected triggering cause; lessens and may even removes the liability of a culprit. This is significantly different from a premeditated crime where the killing is studied and there is a deliberate purpose for the suspect to commit the crime.
It is empirically valuable to consider one particular literary work in order to understand better and realize more the concept and practice of killing. Written by Andre Dubus, the story “Killings” portrayed the characteristics and components of the cited two types of crimes. In presenting the two killings in the mentioned narrative, the author made the public raise a question. That is, whether the killings or which between the two incidents is the crime of passion or premeditated crime? Going further to the story, the details of “Killings” themselves provide the answer.
This is because of the very obvious grounds that the Dubus story, in fact, showed that the killings represented the said two types of crime. “Killings” imparted that the first killing was a crime of passion and the second a premeditated case. The story then is to be particularly lauded because Dubus effectively showed the connection between a crime of passion and a premeditated crime. “Killings” is a notable material for it successfully presented that a killing, resulting from an uncontrolled emotion, paved the way for the performance of a premeditated crime.
Ultimately, the Dubus story made the public realize that regardless of the nature and circumstances of killings, the things that became clear are that lives were lost and the act only left the killers feeling empty in the end. “Killings,” an Overview The principle and practices of retaliation or getting even to someone as well as grief over the leaving and death of a love one and the implications of such actions were what exemplified by Dubus in his story simply titled “Killings.
” As an estranged and dejected husband, Richard Strout has nothing to himself but anger and jealousy to the new-found love of his former wife Mary Ann in the person of Frank Fowler, the youngest son of Matt and Ruth Fowler. The angered-driven Strout performed a crime of passion when he killed Frank who entered into a relationship with Mary Ann in the middle of divorce proceedings. The death, in turn, resulted into an undeniable suffering on the part of Matt who then planned to avenge the death of Frank and eventually got even when he murdered Strout, his son’s killer.
Dubus opened “Killings” as the Fowler family buried Frank, the youngest member of the family. The story became clear with its presentation that Strout’s killing of Frank manifested an emotional feature making such a crime of passion. Thereafter, Matt took it upon himself to put law into his own hands as he carried-out a plan and revenged against the killer of his son. In doing so, Matt was even assisted by his friend and that the killing of Strout was even tolerated by his wife.
Noting that Strout’s passion made it easy for him to kill Frank and was even fortunate to be let out of prison despite the crime, Matt depicted the nature and circumstances of an intentional crime as he planned the killing of Strout. As a man who already lost morality, it apparently became easy for Strout to out rightly kill Frank. With the bugging thought that the latter hinders his efforts to win back his wife, Strout allowed his anger; jealousy and immorality get in the way in killing Frank hence his lack of remorse in ending the life of a young man whose only fault is to love Mary Ann.
Hence, Strout’s statement towards Frank that “He was making it with my wife” (Dubus 13 & 17) seemed to justify the performance of a crime of passion because it was his intense jealousy that drove him to kill Frank. Matt’s intact morality, on the hand, was used by the author as the basis why the father did not have natural instinct to inflict harm on other thus needed a plan to kill Strout. In presenting the reasons which eventually made Matt kill Strout, “Killings” emphasized that the father’s ethical fortitude made it difficult for him to instantly retaliate against the killer of his son.
Dubus’ “Killings” was a clear proof which showed how the experiences of the characters and the surrounding circumstances paved the way for the story’s presentation of two kinds or ways of committing crime. Relatively, the story illustrated that people, acting on a presented situation, are definitely capable to instantly perform a crime of passion (Strout killing Frank) or embark on a premeditated crime (Matt killing Strout). Whatever the circumstances and outcomes of such conditions however, one thing became clear.
This is the concrete presentation made by Dubus through his story “Killings” that crimes, regardless of their contexts, have nothing good to provide to people because both the victim and perpetrator suffered. This was shown in the story as in the end Matt, just like Strout, did not find peace and relief in his heart despite ending the life of the killer on his beloved son. Crime of Passion Crime of passion is not a new situation. Since its emergence, it is manifested in any possible situation wherein one’s spontaneous emotion acts as a triggering factor in the spontaneous commitment of a crime such as killing.
In a typical scenario just like when one sees and discovers his or her love one having an affair with another person manifests one’s tendency to perform a crime of passion. In fact, the crime of passion condition is used to determine the degree of killing and liability of the killer thus is oftentimes used as a legal defense. In a clearer context, Thompson wrote the following: A crime of passion is usually a murder or an assault that is precipitated by jealousy, an act that wasn’t planned (premeditated), but occurred for no other reason than pure emotional violence.
In the past, many murderers have escaped charges or even prison because of this legal defense…The purpose for a crime of passion defense is to rule out one very important element of murder: premeditation…For one thing, murder isn’t a crime of passion unless the murder was committed immediately following the discovery of whatever prompted the attack. (Thompson 1-2) Premeditated Crime Premeditated crime, unlike a crime of passion, signifies an intention and the carrying-out of a crime like killing in a planned manner.
This is where premeditated crime was associated with murder as a form of killing where the killer studied the commitment of the crime. Most importantly, it is through an establishment of the act of killing as a premeditated crime that the degree of the case and culpability of the defendant are determined. This is because a premeditated murder, if compared with a crime of passion, makes one more liable for a stiffer penalty. As Pauley stated, murder by premeditation nowadays serves to be the dividing factor in establishing the level of murder that was done (Pauley 1).
Pauley further noted the evolution of a premeditated crime such as murder wherein the imposition of capital punishment was incorporated. Citing judicial positions, Pauley added that an intentional and premeditated killing necessitated for the imposition of severe sentence. This is primarily because of the nature and circumstances of a premeditated crime such as intentional killing or murder (Pauley 2). “Killings,” an Analysis If the Dubus story is to be generally analyzed, “Killings” represented what Roberts called as a miniature Greek tragedy.
This is due to the factor that the narrative showed the “corruption of a good man’s soul” (Roberts 1). In particular, it boiled down to the elements of jealousy and revenge which characterized the two killings. That is, jealousy made Strout kill Frank and that revenge, in turn, made Matt kill Strout. A further evaluation of the story showed how the author efficiently made the readers be a part of the situation and eventually realized that Strout allowed his emotions to overcome his personality thus enabled him to do a crime of passion when he killed Frank.
Furthermore, the story also forced the public to learn the thoughts and feel the sentiments of Matt, which are the factors that drove him to plan and finally carry-out the killing of Strout. As Dubus presented, the fact that Strout became already incapable to control his emotions signified the condition that when he killed Frank, he manifested and, in fact, was in a condition of a crime of passion. It was rage and jealousy that eventually erupted when Strout shot Frank in front of his children and estranged wife.
On the other hand, it was revenge that cultivated Matt to undertake a premeditated crime as he planned, sought the help of others and carefully performed the killing of his son’s killer. In fact, Dubus clearly made it appear that there was no redemption when Matt killed Strout as he was encouraged by his primary intention to get even with his son’s killer (Roberts 1). Crime of Passion in “Killings” Strout’s motivation to commit a crime of passion such as the killing of Frank was attributed to his unstableness and stubbornness.
Strout was a picture of a man who exuded disgust in almost everything and that the thought of his former wife, Mary Ann, being with another man enraged him more. His statements toward Frank proved how hostile he is and manifested how he can be outraged immediately or anytime. These comments included “I couldn’t even talk to her. He was always with her” (Dubus 17). Such emotional outburst and violence, especially if presented with an uncontrolled and inevitable kind of situation like when he was prevented from getting near his former wife, depicted the tendency of Strout to commit a crime of passion.
As explained by Hoffman, it was indeed emotions that overruled people to commit crimes. As it is a natural instinct to immediately respond according to what emotions dictate, a person’s action is then shrouded by such condition and eventually made one to commit a crime of passion without even realizing the consequence of said act. This condition was evident in Dubus’ “Killings” where Strout’s intense emotions made him exemplify untoward actions and eventually perform the killing. As Dubus wrote:
One night he beat Frank…Before ten o’clock one night Frank came home: he had driven to the hospital first, and he walked into the living room with stitches over his right eye and both lips bright and swollen (Dubus 6-7)…Strout came in the front door and shot Frank twice in the chest and once in the face with . 9mm automatic. Then he looked at the boys and Mary Ann… (Dubus 10) Premeditated Crime in “Killings” Strout’s killing was absolutely premeditated as evidenced by the involvement of Matt’s friend, Willies Trottier, in the murder. With the help of latter, in fact, the killing was carried-out and accomplished accordingly.
He and Willis each held an arm and pulled Strout face- down off the road and into the wood [ . . . ]They pulled off the branches then dragged Strout to the edge of the hole [ . . . ] and pushed him in” (Dubus 21). The condition of premeditated crime is affirmed by Almeida when she reviewed Dubus’ “Killings. ” She said that aside from the pain brought about by the loss of his son, Matt was burdened by the depression and deterioration of his wife Ruth over the sudden death of Frank hence Matt, in retaliation, clearly manifested the nature and circumstances of a premeditated killing (Almeida 87).
Conclusion Dubus’ “Killings” was a valuable material because it was able to present and explain two kinds of crimes in just one story plot. It is then appropriate to state that the crimes in “Killings” were manifested as both crime of passion and premeditated crime. This was shown by Strout’s emotionally-motivated killing of Frank and the planned murder done by Matt against his son’s killer. It was apparent however that the story did not just focus on the killers but emphasized the nature and principles of the two kinds of crimes.
This was purposely done by the author in order to make the public realize the significance of the outcomes of the killings. This is due to the fact that the story ultimately provided people with realization that regardless whether it is a crime of passion or a premeditated crime, their outcomes and implications are irreversible and that such actions definitely create nothing good but just emptiness in hearts. Works Cited Almeida, Rochelle. The Politics of Mourning.
New Jersey: Fairleigh Dickinson University Press, 2004. Dubus, Andre. “Killings. ” In the Bedroom. New York: Vintage, 2002. Hoffman, Eva. “Taking a Chance on Pathos. ” The NewYork Times. 6 November 1988. 23 May 2009 < http://www. nytimes. com/1988/11/06/books/taking-a-chance-on-pathos. html? n=Top/Reference/Times%20Topics/People/D/Dubus,%20Andre&pagewanted=all>. Pauley, Matthew. “Murder by Premeditation. ” American Criminal Law Review. 36 (1999).
23 May 2009 <http://www. questia. com/googleScholar. qst? docId=5001263133>. Roberts, Tim. “Literature: The New Granta Book of the American Short Story. ” MC Reviews. 23 May 2009 <http://reviews. media-culture. org. au/modules. php? name=News&file=article&sid=2379>. Thompson, Steve. “What is a Crime of Passion? Is it a Viable Legal Defense? ” Associated Content. 4 February 2008. 23 May 2009 <http://www. associatedcontent. com/article/569913/what_is_a_crime_of_passion_is_it_a_pg2. html? cat=17>.