THE CONTRIBUTION OF PLOT
IN REVEALING AMERICAN CAPITALISM IN THE 1990s
IN JOHN GRISHAM’S
AN UNDERGRADUATE THESIS
Presented as Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree ofSarjana Sastra
in English Letters
ERNA AGUS PARMAWATI Student Number: 014214017
ENGLISH LETTERS STUDY PROGRAM DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH LETTERS
FACULTY OF LETTERS SANATA DHARMA UNIVERSITY
THE CONTRIBUTION OF PLOT
IN REVEALING AMERICAN CAPITALISM IN THE 1990s
IN JOHN GRISHAM’S
AN UNDERGRADUATE THESIS
Presented as Partial Fulfillment of the Requirements for the Degree ofSarjana Sastra
in English Letters
ERNA AGUS PARMAWATI Student Number: 014214017
ENGLISH LETTERS STUDY PROGRAM DEPARTMENT OF ENGLISH LETTERS
FACULTY OF LETTERS SANATA DHARMA UNIVERSITY
YOUR LIFE HOLDS
This undergraduate thesis is dedicated to
My beloved family
My dear friends
In this occasion, I would like to give my gratitude to many people around me who have given their love, support, advice, care, time, energy, and thoughts for me at any moment. I really thank them all for everything they did. However, I apologize for I cannot mention all of them one by one.
First of all, I would like to thank my Lord, Jesus Christ, for every blessing you have given me. You are the one who has never left me alone and always enriched me by giving me love, strength, guidance and patience to keep on moving whenever I fell and failed. I thank you for giving me opportunities to meet these all amazing people in my life who always beside me during these years.
Then, I would like to thank my beloved family: my mom and dad, Mrs. and Mr. Usman Cu; my brother in law, my sister, and my little brother, Mas Danar, Mbak Lenny, and Adita; my uncle and my aunty or my second parents, Mr. and Mrs. Agus Suryanto; Mr. and Mrs. Karjo or my third parents in Klaten. I thank you for always believing in me when no one did; for always giving me the best you could do or give, so that I can be what I always wanted to be; for every prayer you sent to God for me. I also want to apologize for every tear dropped from your eyes every time I broke your hearts, and I thank you for always forgiving me whenever I made mistakes.
My great appreciation is intended to my Advisor, Dewi Widyastuti, S.Pd., M.Hum. I thank you for giving me advice, suggestion and guidance in completing my final thesis; for always supporting me whenever I was down with my thesis; for always being patient in guiding me during these three years. It is a blessing for me that made me proud as your student. Besides, I also want to thank my Co-Advisor, Ni Luh Putu Rosiandani, S.S. I thank you for giving me suggestion and advice in finishing my thesis. It means a lot for me.
My gratitude is also aimed to Maria Ananta, S.S. or Mommy Tata, and Th. Utik Triningsih, S.Pd. or Maam Utik. I thank you for giving me time, care, advices, and support whenever I need someone to listen to me and strengthen me; for always believing in me that I could be a better person and to feel confident of what I am; for being patient in guiding me through these years.
Special thanks I give to all my friends in English Letters, especially all the 2001s: Sinda, Ayu, Dian Bangka, Lita, Kristin, Rivina, Dian Q-Tink, Ian, Bimo, Vava, Endra, Sandi, Obed, Mas Imbik, Mas Fariz, Garry, Wawan, Wisnu, Fangkie, and many more. I thank you for sharing our every moment and strengthening me to survive in this city. I never feel alone because I know that you all are always there for me.
I also want to thank my other friends in Sanata Dharma University. For my other dear brothers, Edi and Niko, I thank you for always beside me and taking care of me every time I need someone to lean on and encourage me. For UKMK guys (all of you, without exception), I thank you for your brotherhood and for giving me a chance to develop my talent. I apologize if I cannot mention all of you one by one. For KKN guys, I thank you for that unforgettable moment. For PSM guys, I thank you for the cooperation, great job! For Sengon guys, I thank you for giving me a chance to see and ease other people’s suffering. For English Letters secretary officers, lecturers, Sanata Dharma employees, I thank you so much for serving and helping me during my study in Sanata Dharma University
Many thanks I would like to say to everyone in my boarding house: Nana, Dwi, Alfi, Afi, Mbak Ida, Mbok Ikem, Tante Ratna, Bu Dewi, Alm. Om Herman, Cheche, Ennu, Mbak Dwi, Yayan, Mbak Lily, Pak Un. I thank you for the sisterhood we have; for always accompanying me so that I have never felt lonely in this city.
At last, I would like to thank all of you once more. I know words are not enough to tell how grateful I am to have you all by my side. I am thankful that God sent me to you. Thank you for sharing everything (happiness and sadness) during the years. Thank you for always loving, taking care and standing by my side. THANK YOU!
ERNA AGUS PARMAWATI
TABLE OF CONTENT
A. Background of the Study... 1
B. Problem Formulation... 3
C. Objective of the Study... 3
D. Definition of Terms... 4
CHAPTER II THEORITICAL REVIEW... 5
A. Review of Related Studies... 5
B. Review of Related Theories... 9
1. Theory on Plot... 9
2. Literature and Society... 12
3. American in the 1990s... 13
4. Theory of American Capitalism... 14
C. Theoritical Framework... 18
CHAPTER III METHODOLOGY... 19
A. Object of the Study... 19
B. Approach of the Study... 21
C. Method of the Study... 23
CHAPTER IV ANALYSIS... 24
B. The American Capitalism in the 1990s in John Grisham’s The Firm... 44
CHAPTER V CONCLUSION... 65
ERNA AGUS PARMAWATI. The Contribution of Plot in Revealing
American Capitalism in the 1990s in John Grisham’s The Firm. Yogyakarta: Department of English Letters, Faculty of Letters, Sanata Dharma University, 2007.
A novel cannot be separated from its intrinsic elements. One of them is plot which constructs the body of a story. Plot takes an important role in revealing any specific idea that is wanted to show by the author through the novel. This thesis analyzes the contribution of plot in revealing the idea of American capitalism in the 1990s in John Grisham’s The Firm. Grisham does not only succeed in arranging the plot in such an organized way, but he also succeeds in portraying the condition of American capitalist society in the 1990s through the actions and the conflicts among the characters in the novel.
This thesis is made to answer two problems. The first problem is to analyze the plot of the story. It will explain how John Grisham arranges the plot and its formula so that it can reveal the idea of American capitalism in the 1990s. The second problem is to analyze what kind of issues of American capitalism that are represented in the novel. This problem will show Grisham’s aim in creating such story, which portrays the American capitalist society in the 1990s.
In this thesis, a library research method is applied in order to study the work. Some significant theories and data, which are gathered from the library research, are used in analyzing the study. It is suitable to apply the sociological approach in this analysis. This approach is useful to show the specific idea that want to be revealed by the author through a novel for it treats a novel as a work that is affected by the social condition that happens at certain time and place.
In the analysis, it can be seen that the plot is divided into four parts (beginning, complication, climax, and denouement) which contains the idea of American capitalism in its every part. This finding then leads to deeper discussion about the issues of American capitalism in the 1990s that are represented through the actions and the conflicts among the characters in the novel. This part gives details about the issues of American capitalism in further and deeper explanation.
By seeing the analysis, it can be concluded that Grisham succeeds in arranging the plot interestingly. This well-organized plot gives significant contribution in revealing the idea of American capitalism in the 1990s. From this analysis, it can be found out that this novel was made by Grisham as his criticism towards American capitalism in the 1990s, which has been indoctrinalized in American society for years.
ERNA AGUS PARMAWATI. The Contribution of Plot in Revealing
American Capitalism in the 1990s in John Grisham’s The Firm. Yogyakarta: Jurusan Sastra Inggris, Fakultas Sastra, Universitas Sanata Dharma, 2007.
Sebuah novel tidak dapat dipisahkan dari elemen-elemen intrinsiknya. Salah satu elemen itu adalah plot yang menyusun kerangka sebuah cerita. Plot memegang peranan penting dalam memunculkan ide-ide tertentu yang ingin ditunjukkan oleh pengarang melalui sebuah novel. Tesis ini menganalisa kontribusi plot dalam memunculkan ide kapitalisme Amerika pada tahun 1990an
yang tampak pada novel The Firm karya John Grisham. Grisham tidak hanya
berhasil menyusun plot dengan susunan yang terstruktur, tetapi ia juga berhasil menggambarkan kondisi masyarakat kapitalis Amerika pada tahun 1990an melalui tingkah laku dan konflik yang terjadi di antara tokoh-tokoh dalam novel tersebut.
Tesis ini disusun untuk menjawab dua permasalahan. Permasalahan pertama untuk menganalisa plot dari novel tersebut. Analisis ini akan menjelaskan bagaimana John Grisham menyusun plot dan elemen-elemennya sehingga dapat memunculkan ide kapitalisme Amerika pada tahun 1990an. Permasalahan kedua
untuk menganalisa persoalan-persoalan yang merupakan bentuk-bentuk
kapitalisme Amerika yang tercermin di novel tersebut. Permasalahan ini akan menunjukkan tujuan Grisham dalam mengarang cerita seperti ini yang menggambarkan kondisi masyarakat kapitalis Amerika pada tahun 1990an.
Dalam tesis ini, metode studi pustaka digunakan untuk mempelajari karya sastra ini. Beberapa teori dan data penting yang dikumpulkan dari studi pustaka ini digunakan untuk menganalisa studi ini. Pendekatan sosiologik sangat tepat diaplikasikan dalam analisis ini. Pendekatan ini berguna untuk menunjukkan ide-ide tertentu yang ingin dimunculkan oleh pengarang melalui sebuah novel sebagai sebuah karya yang dipengaruhi oleh kondisi sosial yang terjadi pada waktu dan tempat tertentu.
Dalam analisis ini, dapat dilihat bahwa plot dibagi menjadi empat bagian (awal, komplikasi masalah, klimaks, dan akhir) yang di dalamnya terkandung ide kapitalisme Amerika di setiap bagiannya. Penemuan ini kemudian menuju pada diskusi yang lebih dalam tentang bentuk-bentuk kapitalisme Amerika pada tahun 1990an yang tergambarkan melalui tingkah laku dan konflik di antara tokoh-tokoh dalam novel tersebut. Pada bagian ini secara detil dijabarkankan bentuk-bentuk kapitalisme Amerika dalam penjelasan yang lebih jauh dan lebih dalam.
Denganmelihat analisis ini, dapat disimpulkan bahwa Grisham berhasil menyusun plot secara menarik. Plot yang tersusun dengan baik ini memberikan kontribusi penting dalam memunculkan ide kapitalisme Amerika pada tahun 1990an. Dari analisis ini dapat ditemukan bahwa novel ini dibuat oleh John Grisham sebagai kritiknya tentang kapitalisme Amerika pada tahun 1990an yang telah terdoktrin di masyarakat Amerika selama bertahun-tahun.
CHAPTER I INTRODUCTION
A. Background of the Study
A novel needs some intrinsic elements to construct its body and content.
They include plot that cannot be separated from other intrinsic elements. It is
mentioned in The Encyclopedia Britannica, plot is “the main story of a literary work also known as the narrative structure. Plot involves a considerably higher
level of narrative organization than normally occurs in a story” (1983: 890).
Plot has an important role in constructing the body of a novel. Then, it
depends on the author in making the plot interesting or not. It also becomes the
significant element that makes a novel worthy enough to read or not. The author
should arrange it in an organized way so that the novel will not be boring for the
Besides, the plot also has a significant role in revealing some ideas that
want to be presented by the author. M.H. Abrams in his book, A Glossary of Literary Term, said, “A plot is commonly said to have unity of actions...or incidents” (1993: 160). The readers can see the important ideas revealed by the
author in a novel through these actions or incidents from the very beginning until
the end of the story. Sometimes the important ideas illustrate in a simple actions
or speech or even words.
Plot can be used effectively by authors to reveal certain topics through its
actions and incidents. As revealed in John Grisham’s The Firm, the readers can
see that the idea of American capitalism in the 1990s was illuminated by the
author through the plot in its actions or incidents. There are several actions and
conflicts that reflect capitalism that have occurred in several places in the world,
especially in American society as one of the most powerful countries in the world
in the 1990s.
In The Capitalist System, Richard C. Edwards stated that in a capitalist society, the land, factories machines, and offices are owned privately by a small
group of people who use their control to organize the work process and sell goods
and services in order to make profits for themselves (1972: 51). This shows that
the capitalists dominated the economic field in order to get big profit for
themselves, even though they had to oppress their employees.
Capitalism has occurred in American society for centuries and it has been
indoctrinated in their way of thinking, especially in economic system, where the
capitalists, who own the biggest income and authority, directly or indirectly, force
their employees to work for them and give them the profit they want.
In John Grisham’s The Firm, capitalism also happened to the associates and the partners that work for the Bendini, Lambert, and Locke law firm. There
are several actions that reveal the capitalist system through the actions of the
owner, the partners, the associates, and even the clients. John Grisham tries to
present the way American people present the capitalism in the 1990s through this
Capitalism, which is mostly discussed in this novel, is about the inequality
the employees. The employers or the capitalists tend to exploit the employees in
order to get great profit. While the capitalist can live prosperously and
comfortably, the employees had to work hard time to time so that they can earn
money, for themselves, and, of course, for the employers.
B. Problem Formulation
To make the analysis well organized, there are two problems that are
formulated into certain topics as follows.
1. How is the plot arranged by John Grisham inThe Firm?
2. What issues of American capitalism, which happened in the 1990s, are
revealed through the plot in John Grisham’sThe Firm?
C. Objectives of the Study
Through this thesis, I try to answer the questions in the problem formulation.
Since the problem formulation consists of two questions, therefore the objectives
of study are divided into two parts also.
First of all, I will try to find out the formula of the plot presented by John
Grisham in The Firm. It is important to analyze the importance of this intrinsic element because this thesis deals with the narration of the story so that it will help
me to discover the specific idea that wants to be revealed by John Grisham.
Secondly, I will try to find out the issues revealed in the novel through plot and
the actions of the characters. However, before discussing the issues, I will also try
that I can see the impact of the real condition in the society to the novel; whether
it represents the society at that time or not. Hopefully, these objectives can
encourage and also can be used as references for other students who are interested
in doing further researches.
D. Definition of Terms 1. Plot
According to Robert Stanton in An Introduction to Fiction, plot is the entire sequence of events of a novel. These events are not only causally linked
events, but also anything that adjusts the course of affairs. A plot is the backbone
of a story. There must be some links of cause-and-effect. A plot must have a
beginning, middle and end, and it must reasonable and logical (1965: 14 – 15).
In Studies in The Development of Capitalism, Maurice Dobb identifies Capitalism with a system of free individual enterprise: Capitalism is a system
where economic and social relations are ruled by contract, where men are free
agents in seeking their living, and legal obligation and control are absent (1959:
3). This means that capitalism is seen as a system where people have their own
right to choose their own living (economic) and they have no responsibility to
A. Review of Related Studies
The Firmis one of John Grisham’s best-known novels, which brought him into fame as one of best legal thriller authors since the 1990s to present. John
Grisham’s The Firm was firstly published in 1991 by Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group in New York.The Firmwas sold 1 million copies in 1991 and it is still sold until the present day, though it has arisen many controversies from
critics and readers.
Moreover, John Grisham’s The Firm became a mega bestseller in
Newsweek list for nearly a year in 1991. The paperback version, which was published in February 1992, remained at or near the top of Publishers Weekly’s mass-market bestseller list for eighteen months. It has also been translated into 27
languages, and became a bestseller in Netherlands, Germany, Great Britain, and
In 1993, Sydney Pollack directed a movie based on John Grisham’s The Firm.The movie version was produced by Paramount Pictures, which brought the movie right from Grisham for $ 600,000 in 1990. The Firm starred Tom Cruise, Gene Hackman, and Jeanne Tripplehorn. In its first two weeks of release, the
movie took in almost $ 74 million at the box office and eventually being turned
into the 3rd most successful film of 1993. By the time the movie was released,
there were five hundred fifty thousand hardback copies ofThe Firmwere sold and
more than 7 million copies of The Firm in print were sold.
As we see, The Firm deserves to be a bestseller novel at its publishing time. In 1991, Grisham made a surprising work in literary world by writing and
publishing this successful novel. The Firm also made a controversy among the critics and American readers, which reveals some critical reception. However,
generally, those responses accordedThe Firmsuch a favorable novel.
Susan Toepfer wrote in People (April 8, 1991), “The Firmis a thriller of the first order, powered to pulse-racing”. Peter S. Prescott declared in Newsweek (February 25, 1991), “Improbabilities abound, the characters are ciphers – and yet
the story has significant strengths, [including] and irresistible plot”.
In his opinion, Prescott wants to say that this story are full with
doubtfulness that the readers cannot guess what will happen on the following part.
The characters symbolically represent the people and their problems in real life,
such as the relation and the conflicts between the capitalists and the employees.
Moreover, this novel has a function to mirror the condition in the reality into a
fiction literature, in this case, the American Capitalism in the 1990s.
The Wall Street Journalalso gave comments on John Grisham’sThe Firm, “Keeps the reader hooked…from the creepy first chapters…to the vise-tightening
midsection and on to the take-the-money-and-run finale”.
According to The Wall Street Journal, Grisham’s The Firm can intensely attract the readers by its plot. It keeps them enthusiastic to read the novel from the
very beginning to the last section for the plot provides tightening chapters that the
readers will not miss.
Another comment was also written by Barbara Conaty inLibrary Journal: No aphorism, though, can convey the suspense, wit, and polished writing of this laser-sharp candidate for the best recent updating of the David and Goliath story. What's more, it is all accomplished with just a few whiffs of the heavy duty violence and sex that kick many cops-and-robbers stories along today. Set in Tennessee, the Cayman Islands, and other southerly points, the action moves briskly, relying on character types that are quickly made likable or repulsive. The author, a Mississippi-based criminal defense lawyer, has in this first novel set a daringly high standard, one that his readers will hope he can reach again and again.
By seeing the explanation stated by Conaty, it can be understood that
through this novel, the author portrays the relation between the capitalists and the
employees by providing the tightening actions presented by the characters in the
story. The setting is also chosen perfectly to represent the condition of American
capitalism in the 1990s.
Furthermore, I found also another previous study which was written by
another English Letters student who had graduated from Sanata Dharma
University. The thesis has almost similar idea and the same discussion. However,
the following explanation show that they are different.
The thesis was composed by Yurita Metariana in 2005. The title of her
that is plot. It seems that John Grisham always attracts the readers by his ability in
arranging hooked plot and it is worthy to analyze.
Though Yurita and I discuss the same intrinsic element, that is plot, we
analyze a different topic. Yurita’s thesis discusses the main characters and the plot
in order to reaveal the theme that is the relation of human ambition which is
related to the law. On the other hand, my thesis analyzes the contribution of plot
in revealing American capitalism in 1990s.
For the first time in reading The Firm, I am interested to find out what made this novel a bestseller. That is why I use some comments, responses, and
critical opinions in developing this thesis in order to understand more about the
novel. Later on, after reading it closely, it can be known that there is a specific
idea that wants to be revealed by John Grisham through this novel. Most of those
critics only talk about the story and re-tell what it is about. They do not see that
there is something more important than the story, which is the idea of capitalism
that represents the American society in the 1990s. By considering this reason, I
decide to write this thesis. Through this thesis, I want to show other people, who
read this thesis, that there is a certain issue that wants to be revealed by John
Grisham in the novel that is American capitalism in the 1990s.
Nevertheless, by looking at the critical opinions and comments above, it is
clear that mostly, the readers are hooked by the plot provided by John Grisham.
Those opinions only give comments about the plot. It does not give further
explanation about certain issue that revealed by Grisham. However, they help me
Grisham presented it in a well-organized way. It is not only the plot that is
important, but also the function of the plot in order to explain and describe an idea
that is presented by the Grisham, which is American capitalism in the 1990s,
through the actions that are arranged in the plot ofThe Firm.
B. Review of Related Theory
1. Theory on Plot
The first theory used in this study is the theory of plot for this thesis will
discuss mostly about plot; what kind of plot used in The Firm and how it is presented by John Grisham. The main sources for the theory of plot used in this
thesis are M.H. Abrams’ A Glossary of Literary Terms (1993), and Edgar V. Roberts and Henry E. Jacobs’ Fiction: An Introduction to Reading and Writing (1989).However, I also took the theory from some other sources in order to get an objective opinion.
Abrams mentions that plot is “the structure of the narrative work action,
which is ordered and rendered toward achieving particular emotional and artistic
effect” (1993: 159). Plot provides the structural events and an organized and
arranged narration in a story so that it can be easily understood by the readers in
reading the novel.
As Robert Stanton says in An Introduction to Fiction that plot is the backbone of a story and it has its own rules, which means that a plot must have a
to arouse our curiosity, hope, and fear. The movement of the plot from the
beginning to the end should be reasonable, rational, and logical (1965: 15).
Basically, a plot has functions to give and to show the structure of the
unified and completed dramatic action. Generally, it tends to follow a regular
formula of common plot. This formula consists of exposition (beginning),
complication, climax and resolution/ending/denouement (Abrams, 1993: 161).
a. Exposition (Beginning)
The first thing that is necessary for the reader in reading a story is to
understand the situation in the beginning of an action. A plot mostly begins with
the exposition (beginning), which commonly provides the introduction of the
characters, the sketch of the background, and the description of the situation
(Abrams, 1993: 161).
According to Edgar V. Roberts and Henry Jacobs in An Introduction To Reading and Writing, “Exposition is the laying out, the putting forth, of the materials in the work: the main characters, their backgrounds, characterization,
basic assumptions about life, goal, limitation, and potentials” (1989: 101). It
means that this part will introduce everything that is going to be important in the
story later on.
The exposition then moves to the complication or the rising action.
Roberts and Jacobs state that the complication marks the beginning of the main
conflict in the story – the onset of the plot. The participants are all the characters
values those characters represent, such as childhood and age, love and hate, good
and evil, freedom and slavery, and the like (1989: 101).
In addition, this section usually provides the rising of the problems and the
introduction of some difficulties faced by the character(s). This situation keeps on
increasing with complexity and tensions of the problems and the difficulties until
it reaches the climax (Abrams, 1993: 161).
Climax is the high point in the action or the point of greatest expectancy
and the cumulative effect of the previous incidents. In this part the conflicts and
the following tension are brought to the fullest level. Climax is the point that is
inevitable and no return, where all the rest of the action becomes firmly set
(Roberts and Jacobs, 1989: 101).
Furthermore, the problems or the conflicts reach the top and make the
highest point of complexity and emotional intensity in the action. Though it is not
always the best part of the whole unified story, however, the climax is the main
part that is what the story mostly talks about. And then, this most complex event
will find the resolution of the problems and the conflicts (Abrams, 1993: 162).
d. Denouement (End)
According to Roberts and Jacobs, the resolution or denouement or “the unknotting” is the last section of plot which brings the story to its conclusion. The
resolution usually directed as quickly as possible for the conflicts are over. On the
other hand, once the main conflict is resolved, a brief action of this sort
Moreover, this section presents the direct consequences of the decisive
climax, and it brings the problems and the conflicts to a logical end. The
resolution may vary greatly in duration, but usually it forms the shortest part of
the plot in a novel. The ending of plot, generally, is divided into two kinds, an
open end and a close end. An open end is an end that gives another or other
possibility(s) for the ending of a story. A close end means that it is the end of the
story and there will be no another or other possibility(s) for an ending of a story
(Abrams, 1993: 162).
2. Literature and Society
In Theory of Literature by Rene Wellek and Austin Warren, there is a relation between literature and society. It is that literature is an expression of
society. Though literature is an expression of society, it does not mirror the
current life situation correctly. It does not duplicate the events or the life itself in
details. The author’s experience and total conception of life are expressed through
literature. However, it does not mean that the author expresses the whole life
completely in his works (1956: 95).
Furthermore, Wellek and Warren state that literature has a function as a
social document, as an assumed picture of social reality which is able to record
the features of the society (1956: 95). Thus, literature is served as references or
the source books for the history civilization chiefly for modern readers who have
deep impressions of foreign society. By reading literary works, modern readers
The author expresses his idea and experience about society in literature by
using words or language as the medium in his fictitious characters. In the world of
literature, those fictitious characters offer interesting clues of social attitude which
is similar to the characteristic of the people in his real society (Wellek, 1956:
3. America in the 1990s
Capitalism is based on market, and it requires a possibility for political
freedom, which creates wealth and also the fairness in its distribution. The
American economy reflected these values until the 1980s. It was the time when
American capitalism and European social democracy formed practically similar
economic outcomes. After the New Deal and the Great Society, there was an
implicit social contract among business, labor and government. This kind of
contract had maintained economic stability, a strong social safety net, and an
increasingly large distribution of wealth in America.
However, as a result of higher population growth rates in the U.S. and
greater investments in research and technology, America began to be different
with Europe in the 1980s. Moreover, there were some accelerating changes in
American corporate culture and in the functioning of the financial markets by the
1990s. It was coupled with cheap money and easy speculation. These conditions
resulted the creation of astounding levels of wealth. These in turn led to serious
of wealth fair distribution.
In addition, Douglas Greenwald in The McGraw-Hill Encyclopedia of
Economics tries to explain how capitalism developed in America in the 1990s. According to Greenwald, through capitalism the world has come to the perfect
competition among the economists. However, this competition eventually has
moved further from the competitive ones (1994: 133).
In the 1990s, criminal behavior in America extended not only to
speculators or insider traders, but also to a number of CEO's and senior corporate
officers who manipulated their financial statements in order to inflate the price of
their stock. In doing this kind of cheating, they were often aided by their auditors,
their bankers and, in some cases, their lawyers.
These conditions explained above also happen in John Grisham’s The
Firm; the huge inequality of wealth distribution and many kinds of cheating that is illegally done by the firm. However, it seems that these conditions considered to
be legal and had been being indoctrinalized in American Capitalist society in the
4. Theory of Capitalism
ownership operates in a market environment for the ostensible purpose of profit
making” (1963: 13).
Furthermore, in The Capitalist System, Richard C. Edwards gives another explanation that while the inequalities in income and wealth reveal the primary
feature of inequality in a capitalist society, they also give rise to further
inequalities – in power, political influence, occupational status, and privilege –
which exist along and strengthen the inequalities in income and wealth. The
workers’ incomes depend on how much the employers are willing to pay their
particular kind of employee. The capitalists’ incomes depend on how much profit
they can make with their capital (1972: 206).
Capitalism has historically always been characterized by great inequalities
in the distribution of income, wealth and power. The great inequalities probably
reflect the growth of the white-collar working class; more people now rely on the
sale of their labor-power (skill) as their main source of income. The inequality in
Capitalism is created because people received different incomes according to the
market-determined return to their own skill and their productive capital.
(Edwards, 1972: 131).
Wall Street is a place which is filled with most of the business transactions
among corporations and institution that occur in American economy. However,
not all the transaction in Wall Street is legal and ‘clean’. In August 1999, Martin
McLaughin in an article, which titled Wall Street's Dirty Secret: 1990s Boom Based on Smashing of Labor in the 1980s, writes:
standards and driving up the rate of exploitation of the working class (http://www.wsws.org/articles/1999/aug1999/frie-a24.shtml).
Capitalism is always related to freedom. However, most of the time, only
certain groups, who own the capital or the capitalists, can use their freedom to
explore their skill. In the book titled Economics: Capitalism and The Market Economy (Fourth Edition), David H. Hyman states, “In the capitalist system freedom of enterprise is the right of business firm owners to employ private
economic resources for whatever purpose they want” (1997: 102).
In addition, while the freedom of the capitalists are being explored and
protected, the freedom of the employees is being invaded. John Ikerd, a professor,
who lectures in University of Missouri, presented his opinion about this issue
through his speech, titledThe Corporation of Americaat theSummer Canvassers’ Conferenceat The Ohio State University, Columbus, Ohio, on July 26-28, 2001.
Most of us work for some “corporate” business organization that makes all of the major workplace decisions for us. For the most part, at work, we do what we are told to do. We have no true economic independence. We do
what we have to do to keep our jobs and to survive.
Moreover, as pointed out by an economist, Joseph Schumpeter, in The Fragile Global Economy, capitalism is the most successful wealth-creating economic system that the world has ever known. According to his opinion, there
is no other economic system has benefits as much. He observed that capitalism
creates wealth through proceeding continuously to higher levels of productivity
and technological complexity. This process requires that the "old" ones be
driving force of capitalism, requires the continuous removal of old-fashioned
factories, economic sectors, and even human skills. The system rewards the
adaptable and the efficient. However, it punishes the redundant and the less
productive things (http://www.pupress.princeton.edu/chapters/i6778.html).
In using Schumpeter’s term, this "process of creative destruction" not only
produces many winners, but also many losers that are involved in the economic
system. It also poses a serious threat to traditional social values, beliefs, and
institutions. Capitalism eventually distributes wealth more equally than any other
known economic system. However, as it tends to reward the most efficient and
productive, then it tends to concentrate wealth, power, and economic activities for
certain groups, in this case, the capitalists.
In the international economic system, revolution against a global economy
is characterized by open markets, unlimited capital flows, and the activities of
multinational firms. It appears repeatedly in the guise of trade protection, closed
economic blocs, and various kinds of cheating. Individual nations and powerful
groups believe that the world economy functions unfairly and to their
disadvantage. They wish to change the system to benefit themselves and to harm
others. These groups are a threat to the stability of the system.
Capitalism was accepted morally, legally, and socially in American
society. By looking at that fact, it is not impossible that the capitalists will oppress
force the employees to work harder that those employers could enrich themselves
and left the employees in poverty. There is still a sharp inequality between the
rich and the poor, the capitalists and the labors, in American capitalist society.
Inequalities in wealth/income will lead to inequalities in power/authority, where
the capitalists hold the highest power, and the employees are controlled by the
C. Theoretical Framework
By using and exploring more theories, this thesis will reach its aim to
answer the problems that have been formulated in the previous chapter. It means
that the theory of plot, the theory of capitalism, and the description of American
condition in the 1990s will help the writer in finding out how John Grisham
revealed the issue of American capitalism that happened in the 1990s throughThe Firm.
Firstly, in order to find out how John Grisham arranged the plot of The Firm, the theory of plot is used in this thesis. At first, the analysis of plot begins with finding the plot of the story using the regular formula of plot that consists of
exposition, complication, climax and resolution. Moreover, the analysis on the
plot of John Grisham’s The Firmwill show the facts that it is the plot which has been the most interesting part in reading the novel.
Secondly, in order to discover the idea of American Capitalism in 1990s in
story reflects the condition of American society in 1990s or not. Then, it
continued by analyzing whether the story provides or revealed the idea of
Capitalism or not. At last, it can be found out that the idea of American
Capitalism in 1990s is revealed in John Grisham’sThe Firm.
Finally, at the end of the analysis, it will lead us to the answers of the
problems that were formulated previously. It then can be concluded that plot has
great contribution in revealing the specific idea which is presented by the author
CHAPTER III METHODOLOGY
A. Object of the Study
This thesis uses the first edition of John Grisham’s second novel, The Firm, which was firstly published in 1991 by Bantam Doubleday Dell Publishing Group in New York. It was the bestseller that had made John Grisham a
household name. The film, with same title, The Firm, is also successful in 1993 (http://www3.isrl.uiuc.edu/~unsworth/courses/bestsellers/search.cgi?title=The+Fir
John Grisham’s The Firm is about a poor young smart lawyer, Mitch
McDeere, who had just graduated from Harvard Law. Then, he signed a contract
to work for the law firm of Bendini, Lambert, and Locke in Memphis, for a salary
of $120,000 a year. The firm was going to pay his school loans, arrange a bank
loan for a house, and give a brand new BMW for him. He was just the type of
person the firm wanted: a poor boy who would be silent about the illegal activities
done by the firm to keep his high salary and high standard of living. Mitch soon
discovered that the law firm’s biggest client was a group of mafia, the Morolto
family. The Morolto family controlled the senior partners in the firm. Mitch was
contacted by FBI for his help to give them information about Morolto family and
their illegal business. Now, Mitch was caught between the firm and the FBI. If he
gave what the FBI wanted, the FBI would not accuse him for his involvement in
illegal business activities done by the family using the Bendini, Lambert & Locke
law firm as its cover. On the other hand, Mitch also knew that he would never
work in a law firm again because, ethically, he could not release the information
on clients. Mitch then figured out the plan to get himself out of the situation. He
took millions of dollars from the Moroltos fund at the firm. He also made a deal
with the FBI to give him one million dollars for his information. He arranged for
the FBI to get his brother, Ray, out of jail also. Then, Mitch copied the client files
that the FBI wanted but kept the real files for himself. He made a videotape about
what he knew of the Morolto family and their illegal businesses. He left the
videotape with the copied files in a motel room. A friend told the FBI where the
files and tape were. And then he escaped with his wife and brother to Little
Cayman Island by boat. They had plenty of money to live on and no one knew
they were there. They read later that over half the members of the law firm had
been arrested and indicted. Mitch saw himself as very lucky for he and his family
were still alive.
B. Approach of the Study
To get a better understanding about John Grisham’s The Firm, the writer used the sociological approach in analyzing the American capitalism in the 1990s
which is obviously revealed through the actions and the conflicts in Grisham’s
This thesis used sociological approach for it treats a work of literature as a
product or a work that is mostly conditioned by the social, political, and economic
of a work by readers as shaped by the circumstances, specific to the time and
place; when or when that they read this literary work.
According to Kennedy and Gioia inLiterature: An Introduction to Fiction, Poetry and Drama, sociological approach was used to examine a literary work in the cultural, economic, and political context in which it is written or received. It
explores the relationship between the author and the society. It also analyzes the
social content of literary work – what cultural or economic or political values a
particular text implicitly or explicitly promotes (1999: 1955).
In addition, Richard Abcarian in Literature: The Human Experience
emphasizes that sociological approach asserts that since men are the products of a
particular time and place, a work can never be fully understood without some
understanding of the social forces that shaped the author and all that he did and
thought (1978: 1126)
The sociological approach is used because this thesis analyzes the idea of
capitalism in Grisham’sThe Firm where capitalism is one of economic system in the world. This approach enables me to discover the relation between Grisham
and the condition of American capitalist society in the 1900s that revealed in the
novel. Moreover, it also makes possible for me to find out, not only about
economic, but also the political and cultural condition that described by Grisham
in the novel, and then compare it with the real condition that happens in American
C. Method of the Study
The method of the study used in analyzing John Grisham’s The Firm,was library research. The resources were taken mostly from the library of Sanata
Dharma University, some private collections of literary books, and the internet.
Most of the data used in this thesis were taken mainly from the literary books
from the library. However, I also need some additional information from the
Internet as the secondary data. John Grisham is an author of the 90s so that there
are some data from the Internet that are helpful for this thesis. This study mostly
applied textual study. It means that the data and the information was collected by
reading the texts one by one, and then the writer tried to make some notes which
are important and needed for the research.
The research procedure of this thesis was, first, reading the whole texts of
the novel and comparing this novel with other Grisham’s novels. Then, in order to
get a deeper understanding, I read the novel again and this time I focused on the
plot of the novel. Then I found the specific idea that was presented by John
Grisham in this novel. The next procedure was searching the appropriate studies
and theories, which were related to this research. At last, I recognized the
relationship between the studies and the theories toward the plot of the novel and
CHAPTER IV ANALYSIS
This chapter contains the analysis discussed in this thesis. This part is
divided into two parts that is answering the problem formulation which is stated in
the first chapter. The first part will answer the first problem formulation analyzing
the plot of the story that is used by John Grisham in his novel, The Firm. The second part will answer the second problem formulation, which analyze the
American Capitalism in the 1990s which is revealed in John Grisham’sThe Firm.
1. The Plot ofThe Firm
In the book,A Glossary of Literary Terms,Abrams explains that the reader can see the structural events and an organized and arranged narration in a story
through the plot so that it can be easily understood by the readers in reading the
novel (1993: 159).
Moreover, Robert Stanton inAn Introduction to Fictionmentions that plot holds the rule in the story. It has to own, at least, three important parts, which are
the beginning, middle and end. The plot should be able to stimulate the readers’
curiosity, hope and fear. The development of the plot should be reasonable,
rational, and logical from the beginning of the story to the end (1965: 15).
According to Abrams, regularly the plot of the story is divided into four
parts. The first part is exposition or the beginning part of the story. The second
part is complication. Then it is continued to the third part, which is the climax of
the story. Finally, it is ended on the fourth part, which is denouement or resolution
In this analysis, plot is chosen to analyze the American capitalism in the
1990s. The reason is because the plot divides the story into four parts and it makes
it easier for the writer to analyze the idea of American capitalism in each part
through the actions, the incidents and the problems faced by the characters. By
analyzing each part of the plot, it can be seen the details of the actions, the
incidents and the problems so that the issues of American capitalism in the 1990s
can be found and they can be explained further and deeper.
a. Exposition (Beginning)
It is necessary for the readers to understand and to know about the
characters and the early condition of the story before the plot goes too far into
other actions and events. That is why, in this part, the characters, the sketch of the
background and the description of the situation are being introduced and
explained briefly (Abrams, 1993: 161).
As Edgar Roberts and Henry Jacobs write in An Introduction To Reading and Writing, “Exposition is the laying out, the putting forth…” (1989: 101). It means that this part contains the introduction about the main characters, their
backgrounds, characterization and basic assumptions about life, goal, limitation,
and potentials, which are the important materials of the story.
In the early chapters of the novel, John Grisham gives attractive
describing the main character, Mitch McDeere, the Bendini, Lambert and Locke
law firm, the senior partners, and also some suspicious things that dealt with the
Furthermore, the idea of capitalism is already revealed from the very
beginning of the novel. John Grisham gives some early illustration about what
issues of American capitalism in the 1990s. The first issue is about great
imbalance in the distribution of wealth/income. It is implied in the novel, while
describing the main characters, such as Mitch, a poor student who recruited by the
firm; the senior partners, who live prosperously. It is such a great imbalance that
happened in American society in the 1990s. Then, Grisham explains about the
Bendini, Lambert & Locke law firm and the actions done by the partners, such as
recruiting the best law student who graduate from the best law school, and taking
prosperous clients, who will pay them great money. These senior partners did
these things to keep this law firm and, of course, themselves rich.
As the beginning, the story starts with a brief introduction of the main
character, Mitch McDeere. It starts with an awkward interview that was held by
Bendini, Lambert & Locke law firm. They always looked for a great tax lawyer
every year. That year it seemed that they had no other choices than Mitch
McDeere. It should be McDeere or no one for he was qualified to meet the
requirements they expected from their new associate.
The interview run smoothly and Mitch had impressed them very much. He
answered the questions smartly and never let them underestimate him. He thought
that he deserved to get the best place to work for he is the best student from
Harvard University. Moreover, he was holding three job offers and those come
from three most major law firms in Washington, New York and Chicago. These
facts made him feel a little overconfident while performing in front of the
Then, the plot moves forward by describing about the firm. At first it
seemed that this firm was only a common small law firm and there was nothing
wrong or suspicious about it. After doing the interview, Mitch decided to work for
the firm. It was because the firm offered higher wage and other tempting facilities
for him than the three other firms.
“A base salary of eighty thousand the first year, plus bonuses. Eighty five the second year, plus bonuses. A low interest mortgage so you can buy home. Two country club memberships. And a new BMW. You pick the color, of course.” (p. 9)
Grisham tries to explain further about the firm through the conversation
between Mitch and the interviewers. It is described that Bendini, Lambert &
Locke was a small law firm. It had around forty members; twenty partners and
twenty associates. Bendini, Lambert & Locke was a young firm since it was
founded around World War II by an aggressive tax lawyer, Anthony Bendini.
“Mr. Bendini founded the firm in 1944. He had been a tax lawyer in Philadelphia and had picked up some wealthy clients in the South.” (p. 10)
Though Bendini, Lambert & Locke was a young and small law firm, it
associates. This firm only recruited one new associate every year and always
searched and chose for the best law student from the best university. It only hired
the best people who could handle their clients faultlessly. These associates or
partners were also paid higher than other law firms could pay, and the firm took
pride on this. This was the reason why most of the partners retired on late forties
or early fifties with money to burn.
This law firm was also very careful in taking its clients. It specialized in
handling the cases which were faced by wealthy people and rich institutions. The
firm chose them because they were the people who paid the firm without
worrying about the fees. This firm needed a lot of money to pay for the associates
and the partners, and they thought they were worthy enough of getting some
facilities for they had worked hard for those clients.
“We take only rich clients – corporations, banks, and wealthy people who pay our healthy fees, and never complain. We’ve developed a specialty in international taxation, and it’s both exciting and very profitable. We deal only with people who can pay.” (p. 9)
The second issue of American capitalism in the 1990s which is discussed
in these early chapters is about the concentration of power, which was privately
owned by the senior partners. Starting to work for Bendini, Lambert & Locke law
firm, Mitch and his wife, Abby, began to get closer to and befriend of another
associate’s family, Lamar and Kay Quin. This family gave details of the way to
live and ‘the rule’ in this firm environment. Kay Quin explained how to be the
wives of the firm’s associates. It included some private things, such as about
having babies, jobs, or how to dress up, and even their social lives. It seemed that
“Most of us don’t work. Of course, working is not forbidden.”
Moreover, briefly and implicitly, the story goes further explaining about
the illegal activities of the firm. Oliver Lambert, the senior partner, went to a
secret room on the fifth floor and talked carefully to the head of security,
DeVasher, about Mitch McDeere. They had wired and bugged his house, his car
and his phone. They knew everything about what he had said, where he had gone
and what he had done. They observed everything that was related to Mitch and, of
course, Mitch did not know about this. They acted as they had the right to break
their employees’ private lives.
“His room was wired, as was the limo and the phone and everything else. Told her (his wife) about the fancy dining room and hid little lunch with partners. Gave her the specifics on the offer and they ecstatic…” (p. 39)
At the same time, these men, implicitly, also said about the plan of
‘eliminating’ some associates that worked in the firm. DeVasher and Lambert
assumed that these people had secretly given some information, and they had
talked to FBI about what they knew about the firm. These two men even wanted
to ‘eliminate’ the FBI officer, Tarrance, who was in charge at that time to
investigate some suspicious cases, which dealt with this Bendini, Lambert &
Locke law firm.
“Preliminary plans to eliminate Kozinski, Hodge, and Tarrance, should it become necessary.”
They mentioned that some people in New York and a man, named
Lazarov, have ordered them to make a plan to ‘eliminate’ Kozinski and Hodge,
their own associates, because they thought these associates endanger their
position. However, these New York guys and the man named Lazarov were still
mysterious in these early chapters. It seems that these mysterious people were so
important and had power that Lambert and DeVasher have to obeyed them when
these people gave command to ‘eliminate’ people who put their position in
From the exposition, the plot then goes forward to the next part which is
the complication or the rising action. Roberts and Jacobs mention that the
complication marks the beginning of the main conflict in the story – the onset of
the plot. They, who involved in the conflict, are the whole characters in the story.
The conflict could be about whatever thoughts and significances these characters
represent, such as childhood and adulthood, love and hate, good and evil, freedom
and slavery, and the like (1989: 101).
Furthermore, the rising of the problems and the introduction of some
difficulties faced by the character(s) are also created. The tension of the problems
and the difficulties develops the story into the intricate one and it is getting
complex while it reaches the climax (Abrams, 1993: 161).
In this second part, John Grisham shows two issues of American
shown by how hard Mitch worked at that firm, what consequences he had to face,
how risking his job was if he made a mistake. Mitch had to work almost 24 hours
a day working on the clients’ files. He even did not have much spare time at
home. Almost all the lawyers in that Bendini, Lambert & Locke law firm were
being exploited by the senior partners to get more profit from the rich clients.
Moreover, when Mitch noticed that it was a dangerous place to work and he
decided to cooperate with the FBI, he had to risk his family and himself. Though
he got paid by the FBI, however, the payment could not be compared to the risks
he had to face, for examples Mitch was being threatened by the mafia and his
friend, Eddy Lomax was being killed. These all were did by the senior partners
because Mitch was considered as a threat that endangered the firm. These senior
partners had no fear to ‘eliminate’ everyone who could not give them more
advantages or endanger their position. They would do anything to keep their
In the novel, John Grisham presents some difficulties Mitch faced through
the time he works to that firm. Grisham starts by giving a description that
everything seems under control during the early weeks Mitch worked for the firm.
He was busy with his new job in the firm. All he did was just working and making
money. Mitch even spent most of his time at his office working on his clients’
files. He came to the office early in the morning and came home late at night.
Besides, Mitch also enjoyed his new environment by visiting his friends, the Kay
family, and spending his spare time with his wife, Abby. Mitch and Abby really
On the other hand, without their knowledge, everything that Mitch and Abby did
was monitored by the partners of the firm and the head of security, DeVasher,
from a room that was placed somewhere in the Bendini, Lambert & Locke law
The second issue of American capitalism in the 1990s implied in this
second part is about the power of money. It is shown in the actions of the FBI,
who paid Mitch to get some information about Bendini, Lambert & Locke law
firm; and in the action of the mafia, who paid one of the FBI officers to get
information about Mitch, and paid the Cayman banks to help them laundering
their dirty money for many years.
The development of the early event of the conflict to the peak arises when
the situation becomes more complex since the FBI officer, Wayne Tarrance,
started to visit Mitch in a coffee shop. His purpose was to warn Mitch about some
important things related to Bendini, Lambert & Locke law firm. First, he advised
Mitch not to believe anyone in that firm. Second, Tarrance tells Mitch that his
house, his phone and even his car had been bugged and wired by some people
from the firm. Third, he said that nothing is free in this world. This meant that
there must be something behind all the kindness given by the firm. There was a
compensation to pay all the facilities he got. Tarrance convinced him that it was
not such a safe place to work.
After the visit, Mitch’s life was in a mess. The firm started to smell
something suspicious from Mitch. Then, he and his senior partner were sent to
Cayman Island to take care of his client’s files. In this island, Mitch met a girl and
made love with her. He thought that no one would know, especially his wife.
However, this would be ‘a boomerang’ for him that will be explained on the next
Being curious of what really happened in this firm, Mitch paid a detective,
named Eddy Lomax. He was a friend of Mitch’s brother, Ray McDeere. From this
guy Mitch found out some information about the firm and some doubtful deaths
that had happened in the past fifteen years. Knowing about those facts, Mitch felt
confused, and he decided to tell Abby about the firm and the FBI visit. Abby was
surprised, and she felt frightened about what would happen next to them. It
became more intricate when Mitch found out from Tammy, Eddy Lomax’
girlfriend, that Lomax was killed by some mysterious murderer.
One day when Mitch was sent to New York to attend in a tax seminar, he
was told that Denton Voyles, the Director of the FBI, wanted to meet him. They
then met in a cemetery, and Voyles told Mitch almost all facts about Bendini,
Lambert & Locke law firm. Those were the facts that the firm was such a
dangerous place to work. The first fact was that the firm was funded by a mafia
family. Another fact was that this mafia family owned many illegal businesses,
and these bad guys used the law firm as its cover. During the conversation, Voyles
offered Mitch to cooperate with the FBI by giving them all the information they
“Mitch, no lawyer has ever left your law firm alive. Three have tried, and they were killed. Two were about to leave and they died last summer. The firm is more than a firm. It is a division of a very large business, a very profitable business. A very illegal business. The firm is not owned by the partner. The law firm Bendini, Lambert & Locke is owned by the Morolto crime family in Chicago. The Mafia. The Mob. And that’s why we’re here.” (p. 233-234)
Afterward, Mitch and Agent Tarrance started to meet each other
frequently until one day, the guys, who was sent by the firm, caught them in a
shoe store. It made the partners in the firm worried. They commanded DeVasher
to watch Mitch closer than before to anticipate interference. It made DeVasher
used some photos of Mitch and the Cayman girl to threaten Mitch. DeVasher said
that if Mitch dared to tell anything about the firm to the FBI, he would send those
photos to Mitch’s wife, Abby.
“I have something that will keep you honest. Take a look at these.”
Mitch leaned on the limo and nervously opened the envelope. There are four photographs, black and white, eight by ten, very clear. On the beach. The girl. (p. 259)
Subsequently, on another contact with Tarrance, Mitch negotiated about
the compensation that he would get from the FBI if he agreed to cooperate by
giving them the information about the firm. Mitch asked a lot of money around
three million dollars. Mitch asked this requirement for the FBI asked him to do
such a dangerous action so that he needed something as a reasonable repayment.
At first, Tarrance refused and even threatened Mitch. However, Tarrance then said
that he would make an effort on those requests. He would discuss this first with
Voyles, the FBI Director.
The story is getting hectic when problems appear one by one. Mitch began
Abby, Mitch’s wife, and Tammy, Eddy Lomax’ girlfriend, helped him to carry on
with his mission copying those files for the FBI. Smelling something suspicious,
the mafia also tried to find out what was exactly going on between the FBI and
Mitch McDeere. One of the mafia, Vinno Cozzo, paid someone, who had worked
with in the bureau for sixteen years, named Tarry Ross to give them some
information about Mitch McDeere. Ross made a deal with him and asked some
money from Cozzo.
“Mitch McDeere… We think he’s selling info on Bendini to the feds. Just need to know if it’s true. That’s all.”
“I’ll see what can I do. Let’s talk money.”
“Two hundred thousand cash. Give me two weeks.” (p. 361-362)
After a while, Mitch called Tarrance and told him that Mitch almost
finished copying most of the clients’ files. Mitch also informed Tarrance about
how the illegal business was done by the firm. He assumed that the bad guys used
the plane that is used to take the partners and the associates to the Cayman Island
regularly to cover their illegal business. The mafia sent these partners and
associates there to work. However, besides working on the files, they also
laundered the money they got from the casinos they owned. Tarrance also asked
Mitch about what they did on the fifth floor. Mitch believed that the senior
partners and DeVasher monitored and planned everything from that room. After
the long conversation, Mitch and Tarrance was then negotiating about the price
the FBI should pay. At last, Mitch agreed to get only two million dollars from
three million he asked from the FBI. He also asked them to get his brother, Ray,
out of jail as the compensation. They, Mitch and the FBI, finally had a deal about
Unfortunately, when Mitch continued copying the rest of the files at the
office, his action was recorded to DeVasher’s room on the fifth floor. The senior
partners and DeVasher hold a meeting discussing about Mitch. DeVasher said that
the guys in New York commanded to take care of this case immediately. They did
not want anything endangered their businesses. Considering the condition that
was getting worse, they planned to eliminate Mitch within twenty four hours.
Roberts and Jacobs state that climax is the point that is inevitable and no
return, where all the rest of the action becomes firmly set. It is the part where the
reader can see the consequences, the effects or the results of the problems, the
actions, and both complexity, which are faced and taken by the characters from
the earlier incidents. It is the turning point of the story when the conflicts and its
complexity develop into the highest intensity (1989: 101).
Though it is not always the best part of the story, climax is the main part
that is what the story mostly talks about. It is the part where the problems and the
conflicts arrive at the highest point of complexity and emotional intensity in the
action. Then, this most complex event will find the resolution of the problems and
the conflicts (Abrams, 1993: 162).
The plot of The Firm also then comes to the climax. The tension appears when the chasing and hunting between the mafia, the FBI and the McDeeres
happened. In this part John Grisham gives one issue of American capitalism,
the several actions did by the mafia and how they used their wealth and power to
get what they wanted. The Morolto family paid someone in the FBI in order to get
information about the FBI project on Mitch McDeere that they found out that
Mitch cooperated with the FBI. Another proof is that the mafia killed Avery
Tollar, one of the senior partners, because he knows too much about the firm and
its relation with the Morolto family. Then, the mafia also paid great snipers to
chase the McDeeres. By looking at these proofs, it seems that this firm had to pay
much to keep the secret covered.
This part started with a call from Judge Hugo, which is Wayne Tarrance’s
pen name. It meant that Mitch had to run from the office and saved himself and
his family because the mafia had already known about Mitch and his deeds.
Tarrance said that one of their trusted men in the bureau, Tarry Ross, had sold the
information about Mitch to the mafia.
He had never been particularly impressed with Wayne Tarrance. But his idea about a Mayday code, a ‘don’t as question, just run for your life’ alert, was a brilliant idea. For a month, Mitch knew if Judge Hugo called, he had to hit the door on the dead run. (p. 421)
Tarrance offered protection for Mitch and his family. Tarrance also asked
Mitch to give him all the copied files owned by Mitch. However, Mitch could not
believe the FBI anymore. Mitch then decided to get away by himself. He told
Tammy to warn Abby, who was in her parents’ house, to leave that place as soon
as possible. After getting his brother, Ray, out of jail, Mitch, Abby and Ray run
for their lives. Fortunately, Mitch had already got one million dollars from the
FBI and ten million dollars from the firm. He wired all the money to a bank in