Please wait while we process your payment
If you don't see it, please check your spam folder. Sometimes it can end up there.
Don’t have an account?
Create Your Account
Sign up for your FREE 7-day trial
Already have an account? Log in
Choose Your Plan
$4.99/month + tax
$24.99/year + tax
Save over 50% with a SparkNotes PLUS Annual Plan!
for a group?
Get Annual Plans at a discount when you buy 2 or more!
$18.74 /subscription + tax
Subtotal $37.48 + tax
on 2-49 accounts
on 50-99 accounts
Want 100 or more?
for a customized plan.
You'll be billed after your free trial ends.
7-Day Free Trial
Renews September 29, 2023
September 22, 2023
Discounts (applied to next billing)
This is not a valid promo code.
(one code per order)
Annual Plan - Group Discount
SparkNotes Plus subscription is $4.99/month or $24.99/year as selected above. The free trial period is the first 7 days of your subscription. TO CANCEL YOUR SUBSCRIPTION AND AVOID BEING CHARGED, YOU MUST CANCEL BEFORE THE END OF THE FREE TRIAL PERIOD. You may cancel your subscription on your Subscription and Billing page or contact Customer Support at firstname.lastname@example.org. Your subscription will continue automatically once the free trial period is over. Free trial is available to new customers only.
For the next 7 days, you'll have access to awesome PLUS stuff like AP English test prep, No Fear Shakespeare translations and audio, a note-taking tool, personalized dashboard, & much more!
You’ve successfully purchased a group discount. Your group members can use the joining link below to redeem their group membership. You'll also receive an email with the link.
Members will be prompted to log in or create an account to redeem their group membership.
Thanks for creating a SparkNotes account! Continue to start your free trial.
Your PLUS subscription has expired
*See discount terms and conditions.
Symbols are objects, characters, figures, and colors used to represent abstract ideas or concepts.
As head of the Department of Corrections, C. Paul Phelps embodies the moral ambiguity surrounding the death penalty. He is a decent, compassionate man who does not believe in capital punishment but who readily ignores his personal beliefs in order to do his job. His decency and compassion are what make his acceptance of capital punishment so difficult for Prejean to fathom. At the same time, Prejean acknowledges that the penal system desperately needs men like Phelps. If Phelps adhered to Prejean’s mandates concerning individual responsibility, he would most likely leave his position out of principle. His departure, while serving one moral purpose, would also most likely be a blow to the prison system he has helped reform for the better.
The death house to which Patrick and Robert are moved in the days preceding their executions is the first physical step in the path to the electric chair. The death house, with its particular rules and around-the-clock guard watch, is the last residence any of these men will know. A holding pen for the condemned man, it occupies the physical space between life and death. It is the place where the inmate has his last meal and conversation, and where he is strapped to a chair and killed. Its very existence strikes Prejean as absurd. Death is supposed to be unexpected and unknown, but the death house turns it into something quotidian and routine. The death house makes the taking of a life an orchestrated, state-sponsored event.
Prejean frequently quotes Albert Camus, whose writings on capital punishment are a philosophical model and source of moral support. Camus, a philosopher, novelist, and playwright, is known for the strong moral perspective that suffuses his work. Like Prejean, Camus believed in the inviolable dignity of the human spirit and considered capital punishment cruel. He also stressed the need for action in the face of injustice and absurdity.
Ace your assignments with our guide to Dead Man Walking!