THE PELICAN BRIEF by John Grisham

I. Biographical Insights

John Grisham was born on February 8 1995 in the town of Jonesboro, Arkansas. His father was an emigrant construction worker so the family moved a lot. In 1967 they came to Southhaven, a little town outside Memphis. John got an undergraduate degree in accounting at the Mississippi State University and after that he went to Lawschool at OLE Miss and graduated from the University of Mississippi in 1981. After his graduation he returned to Southhaven to work as a lawyer. He got himself a small office where he practiced criminal law. John was also politically engaged and in 1983 he won the election the Mississippi House of Representatives. He now started to work on his first book, "A Time to Kill" which he later finished in 1987. This book was based on his own experience as a small-town lawyer but it wasnít a hit (it is today). John Grisham continued to practice law and he also started writing his second book, "The Firm,." His luck changed one day in 1990 when Paramount Pictures paid him $600,000 for the rights to his new book and this happened even before a publisher accepted it. The Firm was published in 1991 and stayed on the best-sellers lists for nearly a year. In 1992 his third book, The Pelican Brief was published and it became and enormous success. At the same time "A Time to Kill" was republished and this time it became a best-selling book. In 1993 "The Client" was published and "The Chamber" came the year after that. His two most recent books are "The Runaway Jury" (1996) and "The Partner" (1997). All of his books are or will be movies, five of them already are (The Client, The Pelican Brief, The Firm, A Time to Kill and The Chamber). In 1990 he gave up his job as a lawyer and resigned his seat in the state Legislature to write books. Today he lives in Charlottesville, Virginia with his wife Renee and his two kids Ty and Shea. Apart from writing books John also coaches his sonís Little League team. He also has a small farm in Oxford, Mississippi.

II. Characters

In the novel The Pelican Brief a young female Law Student named Darby Shaw writes a brief describing a theory she has on the murder or two Supreme Court Justices. It was a legal shot in the dark for Darby, a brilliant guess. To Washington it was the one thorn that was sticking in their back. Suddenly Darby witnessed a murder intended for her. Darby was chased into hiding out in little motels in big cities. She had no one to trust. She decided to go to the one person who she would have control over, Grey Grantham, ambitious reporter willing to do anything for a news break bigger than any front page article before. Together they uncovered a sneaky cover-up, made by the most prestigious men in the country.
Darby Shaw is the main character in the novel. Darby moves the entire plot, by being the instigator of the entire plot. By writing the brief Darby caused herself to be followed, stalked, and wanted for dead. Darby was a young woman, completely in love with her Law Professor. The first major conflict Darby experienced in the novel was the death of her lover, her Law Professor, which was intended for her. Throughout the novel her struggle with guilt and pain is omnipresent, as well as her fear. When she had nowhere else to run, she contacted Gray Grantham, he was her last hope, it helped her struggle with guilt and pain to become less dramatic. Her relationship of trust and dependence with Gray, eventually led her to fall in love with him. The love between Darby and Gray developed throughout the novel, without the love relationship, I doubt Gray would have risked his life the many times that he did.

III. Representative Passage on Imagery and Figurative Language.

"A dozen cruise ships of all sizes sat perfectly still in the shimmering water. They stretched in a careless formation almost to the horizon. In the foreground, near the pier, a hundred sailboats dotted the harbor and seemed to keep the bulky tourist ships at bay. The water under