Small Great Things

Small Great Things

by

Jodi Picoult

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Judge Thunder Character Analysis

The judge who hears Ruth's case. Kennedy has had past experience with him and knows that he's a difficult judge who pre-judges cases and likes to make examples of people who step out of line. He also dislikes Kennedy personally, as she once was very rude to him, so she feels as though Ruth is bound to lose. During the trial, Judge Thunder's insistence on order keeps the white supremacists in the gallery in line. Prior to Ruth's testimony, he seems like he might be on Ruth's side when he agrees to throw out her murder charges. When the jury can't come to a conclusion, he decides to throw out the case, which frees Ruth.
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Judge Thunder Character Timeline in Small Great Things

The timeline below shows where the character Judge Thunder appears in Small Great Things. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 16, Kennedy
The Justice System and the Politics of Speech Theme Icon
...Kennedy checks to see what judge is assigned to Ruth's case. Her heart sinks; it's Judge Thunder , a tough judge with a vendetta against Kennedy after she, as a sick and... (full context)
Chapter 18, Kennedy
Institutional Racism Theme Icon
...do fieldwork, research, and take notes during jury selection. He asks if Kennedy actually offered Judge Thunder a blowjob right before they enter the judge's chambers. (full context)
Institutional Racism Theme Icon
The Justice System and the Politics of Speech Theme Icon
Judge Thunder and Odette Lawton are already inside. Thunder gives half of the jury questionnaires to each... (full context)
The Justice System and the Politics of Speech Theme Icon
...nervous. Kennedy introduces her to Howard and then they sit at the defense table together. Judge Thunder addresses the potential jurors and excuses one man who says that Odette locked up his... (full context)
Institutional Racism Theme Icon
The Justice System and the Politics of Speech Theme Icon
...trial. Odette takes the stand and Kennedy questions her on how she rated other jurors. Judge Thunder finally says that the juror can stay. Ruth passes Kennedy a note that says, "thank... (full context)
Institutional Racism Theme Icon
Belonging and Community Theme Icon
The Justice System and the Politics of Speech Theme Icon
When Judge Thunder dismisses them, Kennedy invites Ruth to get a glass of wine. She tries to raise... (full context)
Chapter 22, Ruth
Racism: Hate, Fear, and Grief Theme Icon
The Justice System and the Politics of Speech Theme Icon
...can feel the stares of everyone behind her as she sits at the defense table. Judge Thunder fortunately has a zero tolerance rule for interruptions, and many people sitting in the gallery... (full context)
Racism: Hate, Fear, and Grief Theme Icon
Institutional Racism Theme Icon
Family and Shared Humanity Theme Icon
...a snowstorm means that Ruth and Edison are five minutes late. Kennedy is upset, but Judge Thunder is late too since he got rear-ended. He crankily starts the day after complaining about... (full context)
Racism: Hate, Fear, and Grief Theme Icon
The Justice System and the Politics of Speech Theme Icon
...large, angry, and black. Kennedy asks if he was also wearing a hoodie. At this, Judge Thunder calls Kennedy up to berate her and then adjourns court for the rest of the... (full context)
Chapter 24, Kennedy
Racism: Hate, Fear, and Grief Theme Icon
The Justice System and the Politics of Speech Theme Icon
Kennedy is thrilled as she meets with Odette and Judge Thunder . Odette tries to hang onto Ruth's sterilization comment as motive for murder, but Judge... (full context)
Institutional Racism Theme Icon
...to the reader that it's time for her to raise the motion to acquit Ruth. Judge Thunder , however, looks murderous. He refuses to reconsider Odette's murder charge and says that closing... (full context)
Chapter 26, Kennedy
Belonging and Community Theme Icon
On Monday morning, Judge Thunder agrees to delay closing arguments so that Kennedy can deal with Edison's formal arraignment first.... (full context)
Chapter 27, Ruth
Belonging and Community Theme Icon
Family and Shared Humanity Theme Icon
Once Judge Thunder and the jury leave, Howard jumps up in awe of Kennedy's statement. Kennedy soberly says... (full context)
Chapter 29, Kennedy
Institutional Racism Theme Icon
Belonging and Community Theme Icon
At the end of the day, the jury is still split. The next morning, Judge Thunder calls Kennedy and Odette to his office to explain that the jury is hung, eleven... (full context)