Analysis:Orange is the New Black
Ithink Piper Kerman`s primary purpose in her novel, "Orange isthe New Black" is to reveal the faults in the broken Americanjustice system. When the police knock on her door with an indictment,Piper is nothing close to the wild woman she was ten years back. Shehas progressed, in life, now with a career and a loving boyfriend.However, ten years after taking part in money laundering, Kermanstill has to bear the consequences for her action. She spent over ayear in a women`s correctional facility. Inside the prison, somewomen are locked up because they cannot afford to bail themselvesout. She points out while she spends 15 months in jail for her crimeother people spend lengthier periods for the same. This experiencemakes her question the competency of the penal regime. She writesthat the current system of corrections is all about arms-lengthrevenge. No wonder people get out of prison more damaged than theywent in.
Apartfrom exposing a broken justice system, Kerman is focusing on theexperiences of women in prison, based on her life story. Sherecounts the loneliness in jail. She says that one just had tointeract with others to forget her troubles. The prisoners lived insisterhood and surrogate families that they created. At one instance,she says that one just has to laugh at her problem rather than cryabout it. Women in jail have to deal with being unable to see theirfamilies and expressing care to their children. On top of informingher audience, Kerman might have intended to entertain. The novel hasseveral instances of humor, as the prisoners interact and shareinside jokes.
Ithink Kerman would like her audience to reflect on the experiences ofdetainees and imagine themselves in their shoes. She also wants morewomen to speak out about their experiences in prison so that peoplecan realize that their incarceration is real. I think the freedom ofwomen is at stake here. Kerman says that many women are in prison forpetty offenses that the center has limited capacity. If thecorrective centers took in fewer people, they would serve theirrehabilitation purpose well.
Kerman’saudience is every American, in my opinion. Given the current justicesystem, it is easy for anyone to find him or her slapped with a jailterm. However, I think she also gives a particular focus to youngpeople who are in their 20’s. Kerman expects that a majority ofAmericans believe that everyone who is in prison is a criminal anddeserves to pay for their crime. While she feels like she did notdeserve the punishment, she would like young people to reconsidertheir options. At their age, they are likely to make hasty decisionsand probably mess up. I think Kerman responds to the audience’squestion on whether she blames her former girlfriend for her fatesince the crime was helping in the transportation of her drug money.She stops blaming her the moment she realizes that she had the choiceto say no to her request.
Thenovel is in a context of a world where the criminal justice system isunfair and unpredictable this is relevant in the sense that onecould be thrown in for a petty offense or like Kerman`s case, anoffense they committed many years ago. With this knowledge, I readthe novel while bearing in mind that some prisoners may not be injail for real reasons. This way I can sympathize with their plight.