Dead Man Walking Reflection 2

Select one of the questions to answer.

  1. Scene:  Matthew finally confesses to Sr. Prejean.  The dialogue went as follows:
    Sr. Prejean:    “Do you take responsibility for both of their (the victims) deaths?”
    Matthew:    “Yes ma’am.” (Matthew breaks down and cries)
    Sr. Prejean:    “…You did a terrible thing.  But you have dignity now.  Nobody can take that from you.  You are a Son of God, Matthew”.
    Matthew: (crying)     “Nobody ever called me a Son of God before.  They’ve called me a son of a you know what…”

What does Helen mean by “dignity”?  What does the above conversation tell you about Matthew’s self-esteem? You may need to draw from your unit one notes. Why was Sr. Prejean so insistent that Matthew takes responsibility for his actions? What does Sr. Prejean mean by “You are a Son of God, Matthew.”

2.  During another discussion between Sr. Prejean and Matthew   Poncelet the following dialogue occurs:
Sr. Prejean:    “Was your Daddy a racist?”
Matthew:    “What kind of question was that?”
Sr. Prejean:    “You have to teach a child to hate.  I was just wandering who taught you.”
Matthew:    “I just don’t like niggers.”
Sr. Prejean:    “Have you ever known any black people?”
Sr. Prejean:     (Talking about black people) “...I know some pretty cool people.  A lot of hard working people.”
Matthew:    “I know a lot of welfare taking coloreds sucking up tax dollars”
Sr. Prejean:   “Have you ever been the object of prejudice?”
Matthew:    “No.”
Sr. Prejean:    “What do you think people say about men on death row?”
Matthew:      “I don’t know.  Why don’t you tell me.”
Sr. Prejean:    “They’re all monsters.  Disposable human waste.  Good for nothing sucking up tax dollars.”

What is prejudice?  Does prejudice come from ignorance? Are people taught to hate?  Explain.   Do you agree that people on death row are “all monsters?  Disposable human waste.  Good for nothing sucking up tax dollars.” Why or why not?  Remember, your opinion has no validity unless you provide reasons with evidence or examples.

3.  During a discussion between Sr. Helen Prejean and a Catholic Priest, the Priest says, “Are you familiar with the Old Testament?  Thou shalt not kill (Exod 20:13).  If anyone sheds the blood of man, his blood shall be shed.” (Gen 9:6).  Sr. Helen responds with, “Yes Father.  Are you familiar with the New Testament where Jesus talks about grace and reconciliation? (Matthew 6:14)” Why is there two very differing views on how to deal with murderers in the bible? Explain.   Which testament (old or new) should be given president?  Why?  Is using scripture text to justify your position acceptable?  Why or why not?

To help you understand the two dominant images of God in scripture, go to bible, and enter Genesis 6:11-13 to get a feeling of the OT image of God.  Then to get a feeling for the NT image of God, enter 1 John 4:7-9 and 1 John 16-17.

Reflection Rubric