Come a Little Closer So That I Can See You My Pretty: The Use and Limits of Fiction Techniques for Establishing an Empathetic Point of View in Appellate Briefs
80 UMKC L. Rev. 399, Winter 2011
37 Pages Posted: 26 Apr 2012 Last revised: 12 Jun 2012
Date Written: December 1, 2011
This article starts from the premise that legal clients have individual truths. To convey those truths and create empathy for clients, appellate brief writers can use fiction point of view techniques. Literary fiction writers often believe that they are telling higher truths. In so doing, they utilize subtle degrees of distance. Thus point of view means more than just first person, third person, or omniscient. It means more than just the character from whom a story's viewpoint is told. It includes the distance that the reader feels from the story, the characters, and the viewpoint character.
Fiction writers use a variety of techniques to establish that close or distant point of view and create or diminish empathy. I have identified some of these techniques. I have provided good examples from fiction works such as Mystic River, The Book Thief, and A Step From Heaven. I have used books such as Twilight and Eragon for the bad examples. I then provide examples of the same techniques used in actual appellate briefs.
Keywords: applied legal storytelling, law and literature, appeals, appellate, fiction, distance, psychic distance, john gardner, briefs, narrative, storytelling, epistemology, Descartes, cartesian, John Dewey, perception, perspective, empathy, point of view, literature, Francine Prose, Zusak
JEL Classification: K41, K40, K49, K00, K10, K19, Z00
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation