Public Execution as a form of “Legal Massacre”
Literary journalism is defined as a kind of nonfiction that makes use of the facts (real people and actual events that occurred) and integrates with the narrative methodologies as well as a varied stylistic technique anciently employed by the fictional narratives. Through the stories, literary journalists give vital information and their interpretation of the people and the culture they are writing about. Literary journalism has undergone several changes over the centuries. The literary texts of different centuries include the work of Samuel Johnson “The Rambler” published on 1750, William Thackeray’s “Going to see a man hanged” published in 1840 and George Orwell’s “A Hanging” published in 1931. In the 18th century, journalism had taken to the ground but was mired by trade which was money-oriented and corrupt. The period of the 19th century saw a transformation where there were changes in leadership which saw the development of the periodical press which gave information at all times ranging from education to entertainment. The 1830s was the age of reformation whereby authors addressed various public spheres with the aid of print culture. In the 20th century, journalism was mainly affected by political factors such as Fascism, British Imperialism and communism and thus the writers tend to make political writings into art (“Truth is another Country”). These various changes century changes affected Johnson’s, Orwell’s and Thackeray’s essay on public execution.
Samuel Johnson in the text “The Rambler” published in April 1750 gives his opinion on the state of capital punishment. Born in 1709, Johnson became an English writer who contributed to poetry, literary critics and a lot of essays. His turning point was in 1737 after he left Lichfield for London where he spent his time as a hack journalist in the ‘Grub Street.’ The greatest achievement he made in the ‘Grub-street’ was giving it a reputable name. He did this by bringing the notion of moral authority as an essayist and a writer. Aware of the religion, he avoided mentioning them in his writings because he wasn’t a die-hard. His guiding principles to morality were that everyone must die and after death, everyone will be accountable to the actions he or she did. Moreover, he made arrangements in language by illustrating and evaluating ideas, developing clauses and constructing complex sentences. This is what he believed as the only way of telling the truth. The first significant employment of Johnson was as a writer for “The Gentleman’s Magazine” a journal based on politics and literary ideas. Johnson’s journalism was outstanding as he used various styles and features in his philosophical language which made his work to be included in the Dictionary of the English Language in 1755.
In his essay ‘The Rambler’ Johnson argues against the ‘Black Act’ of 1724 which was also called the ‘bloody code.’ He questions on the increasing number of punisha...