A Map of the World Themes

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At the heart of Jane Hamilton's novel A Map of the World is the troubling question of child abuse. Six-year-old Robbie Mackessy alleges that the school nurse Alice Goodwin forced him down in her office and fellated him. His fiery mother believes the story, lodges a complaint, and the two encourage other boys to help put Alice away. Police launch an investigation, interview other children, and arrest Alice on a probable cause warrant. Her lawyer, Paul Rafferty runs an independent investigation that determines that Carol Mackessy enjoys a rich and varied sex life and Robbie has most certainly been traumatized by seeing her and a partner engaging in rough sex. When this is shown in court, the result is Alice's acquittal. Hamilton interweaves legal, psychological, and sociological aspects.

Police, child welfare agencies, and the courts assume that children do not embellish and lie, ask them leading questions...

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This section contains 1,459 words
(approx. 4 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the A Map of the World Study Guide
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