The Pulitzer Prize is an American award for achievement in literature, newspaper and online journalism. This award was created by Joseph Pulitzer. He was a newspaper reporter from Hungary. He gave 2 million dollars to Columbia University to establish a journalism school there and the establishment of a prize for subjects such as literature, drama, music and journalism. The Pulitzer Prize has a huge stature. This prize is the most significant of prizes that can be given to a journalist. The winners of this prize become very respected and very distinguished because of it. Not only do the winners get a lot of fame but it also opens up many different opportunities for the journalist.
“The Bravest Woman in Seattle” by Eli Sanders won a Pulitzer Prize for feature writing. The article is haunting story of a woman who survived a brutal attack that took the life of her partner, using the woman’s brave courtroom testimony and the details of the crime to construct a moving narrative.
The story shows the courage of a woman who testifies against the accused rapist and the murderer of her partner, Teresa Butz.
The choice of words and length of sentences she uses really grabs the reader. “You must listen. This happened to us. You must hear who was lost. You must hear what he did. You must hear how Teresa fought him. You must hear what I loved about her. You must know what he took from us. This happened.”
The pace of the story is stunning. In one paragraph the last line is a hit in the stomach when Sanders writes: “Don’t get too excited. That was just round one.”…The prosecuting attorney asked how many rounds were there altogether. “Three.”
When Eli Sanders talks about the raping scene it is amazing how helpless Butz was. There was nothing she could do anymore and she had to accept the fact that she was overpowered. The rapist held a knife against her throat the entire time. Teresa said it was about a foot long from handle to tip. She tried to get out of it by saying she had her period but the rapist didn’t care. There was absolutely nothing in her power to stop this.
The article was written in the Inverted pyramid style, which means that the most important things are in the first one or two paragraphs and the least important details at the end. The article was very long but it pulled you into the story so far, you didn’t want to get out of it anymore. The article had such a nice flow and was so intense because of the dialogue included in it.
“One thought: If this woman can absorb, at the level of detail required for proof before a jury, the particulars of what happened to her daughter-can view the bloody crime-scene photographs, can listen to the 911 call from a neighbor leaning over her blood-soaked daughter and screaming “Ma’am please wake up” (while to the 911 operator pleading please hurry, please hurry), can hear the testimony about the DNA evidence and what orifices it was recovered from-then no one else in this courtroom can dare turn away.” I think this is the most powerful quote in the entire article because it shows how helpless someone can be and how little we know about the problems of others.
In the beginning I thought this article would be like a call for help, but it wasn’t. It alarmed people and told the story of a person who went through all this. I was quite shocked at the article and now I know why people say it is horrifying and gruesome. It really is.
Read the full article here: http://www.pulitzer.org/files/2012/feature_writing/strangerbravestwoman.pdf