Dead Man Walking – A Precis

Matthew Poncelet is on death row in the early 1990s, in Louisiana. He is accused of the rape and murder of two teenagers. He writes to Sister Helen Prejean asking for her help.

Sister Helen exposes the idiocy of his racism. Over the course of his time with Sister Helen, he repairs his relationship with his mother.

At his execution, he asks the Delacroix and Percy families for their forgiveness. Delacroix accepts this apology to an extent. The Percys cannot forgive him.

Initially, he is arrogant, claiming to dislike “victims”. However, he comes to see that he has been weak and a victim of his own weakness. His weakness was his pride: he wanted to be seen to be confident and aggressive when, really, he was very afraid.

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