John Wilkes Booth's Assassination

1426 Words6 Pages
Most members of today's society will only recall John Wilkes Booth as 'the man that shot Lincoln', and therefore only remember him as being the man insane enough to plot and execute the assassination of a president. In their minds, he was a psychotic man who finally acted upon his sick fantasy. The general population would also agree that they have next to nothing in common with Booth, and that he was clearly "different" than everyone else. With such an intimidating reputation, many forget that he was just a man. He had a childhood, he went through school, he was a talented actor, and he was renowned and respected throughout the country. He was as common as any other person walking down the street, and the realization of this fact plays a…show more content…
Swanson writes extremely detailed scenes of events that unfolded the night of Lincoln's assassination, and the escape attempt that followed.. He allows us to paint a magnificent picture in our heads with stunning vocabulary and by mentioning the most minute of details that allow each person and location to become tangible. For example, "At all times his eyes were his striking features but when his emotions were aroused they were like living jewels". Swanson could have simply stated that "He had beautiful black eyes", but he takes it one step beyond that to envelop you in the description of this man, to make him more real, and to plant him in reality. Even the tiniest of actions can create a sense of realism: "The actor's black pupils flared wide, adjusting to the darkness, while fixing on the only available light in the dim, claustrophobic chamber...". Again, Swanson's description of the infamous actor's eyes goes one step beyond the needed information, making the man seem all the more relatable. The large vocabulary Swanson uses to describe the setting of the novel also assists in building a fathomable world in the reader's mind: "The moon, two days past full, rose high over Washington, and under it's cool, lunar light the great dome glowed like a twin moon descended upon the earth. Like Lot's wife, who paused, turned, and dared look upon the destruction of Sodom and Gomorrah, Booth could see the sleeping city from which he fled, and knew it would awaken soon and hear of the destruction he had wrought. He had done it. And he had escaped.". Making a realistic, easily visualized world created an easier route to understanding the reasoning and actions of the assassin, as Swanson clearly
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