Small Great Things

Small Great Things

by

Jodi Picoult

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Odette Lawton Character Analysis

The black prosecutor who represents the state of Connecticut in Ruth's trial. She's sleek and professional, and Kennedy knows her to be ruthless and unfriendly. Odette makes sure that Turk and Brit can sit in the gallery during the trial and coaches the two of them on how to best play the parts of grieving parents. Though she's open about finding Turk's beliefs abhorrent, she makes the case that his beliefs didn't give Ruth the right to neglect Davis's care. She appears to be a villainous character for much of the novel, but begins to show that she has a soft and understanding side near the end of the trial. She gets Edison's case excused and also admits that she too used to work at McDonald's.

Odette Lawton Quotes in Small Great Things

The Small Great Things quotes below are all either spoken by Odette Lawton or refer to Odette Lawton. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Racism: Hate, Fear, and Grief Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Random House edition of Small Great Things published in 2016.
Chapter 18, Kennedy Quotes

I've always thought of her as an uptight piece of work. But now I'm wondering: when she goes shopping, is she, like Ruth, asked to show her receipts before exiting the store? Does she mutely hand them over? Or does she ever snap and say she is the one who puts shoplifters on trial?

Related Characters: Kennedy McQuarrie (speaker), Ruth Jefferson, Odette Lawton
Page Number: 303
Explanation and Analysis:
Chapter 23, Turk Quotes

I have been thinking about what Odette Lawton said: if I hadn't spoken out against the black nurse, would this have ended differently? Would she have tried to save Davis the minute she realized he wasn't breathing? Would she have treated him like any other critical patient, instead of wanting to hurt me like I'd hurt her?

Related Characters: Turk Bauer (speaker), Ruth Jefferson, Davis Bauer, Odette Lawton
Page Number: 382
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Small Great Things LitChart as a printable PDF.
Small Great Things PDF

Odette Lawton Character Timeline in Small Great Things

The timeline below shows where the character Odette Lawton appears in Small Great Things. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 8, Kennedy
Family and Shared Humanity Theme Icon
...After a moment of conversation, Kennedy asks the judge to release her client. The prosecutor, Odette Lawton, insists he must be released with bail. (full context)
Institutional Racism Theme Icon
Family and Shared Humanity Theme Icon
The Justice System and the Politics of Speech Theme Icon
...out. The clerk reads that Ruth is being charged with murder and negligent homicide, and Odette says that Ruth acted intentionally and killed a three-day-old baby. Ruth explodes and says that... (full context)
Family and Shared Humanity Theme Icon
The Justice System and the Politics of Speech Theme Icon
...Ruth spits that they put her in chains and handcuffed her son. Kennedy watches as Odette, a sleek black woman who looks worlds apart from Ruth, says that Ruth should be... (full context)
Chapter 9, Turk
Racism: Hate, Fear, and Grief Theme Icon
The Justice System and the Politics of Speech Theme Icon
...starts to talk to him. He almost pushes her away before he recognizes her voice—she's Odette Lawton, the prosecutor, and she didn't sound black on the phone. Turk reasons that this... (full context)
Family and Shared Humanity Theme Icon
...he's done telling his story, a bunch of reporters are trying to speak to him. Odette comes out and makes a statement while Turk walks to the back of the building... (full context)
Racism: Hate, Fear, and Grief Theme Icon
The Justice System and the Politics of Speech Theme Icon
When Turk returns from court, he finds Brit in front of the TV watching Odette speak. She smiles at Turk for the first time in weeks and tells him he's... (full context)
Chapter 18, Kennedy
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 lawyer, tells... (full context)
Racism: Hate, Fear, and Grief Theme Icon
Institutional Racism Theme Icon
The Justice System and the Politics of Speech Theme Icon
The next morning, Kennedy meets Odette to talk about the jurors they both want to decline. Kennedy doesn't know Odette well,... (full context)
The Justice System and the Politics of Speech Theme Icon
...table together. Judge Thunder addresses the potential jurors and excuses one man who says that Odette locked up his brother. Then, the jurors are shown out and Kennedy explains that during... (full context)
Institutional Racism Theme Icon
Belonging and Community Theme Icon
Odette questions the first juror, a man who runs a hardware store and has a brother... (full context)
Institutional Racism Theme Icon
The Justice System and the Politics of Speech Theme Icon
After the individual questioning, Odette and Kennedy choose whom to excuse from the first group of fourteen jurors. Odette doesn't... (full context)
Institutional Racism Theme Icon
Belonging and Community Theme Icon
The Justice System and the Politics of Speech Theme Icon
...light-skinned. Ruth admits that black kids always made her feel worse than white kids, and Odette made her feel awful again. Kennedy realizes that she's never had this conversation with a... (full context)
Chapter 22, Ruth
Racism: Hate, Fear, and Grief Theme Icon
The Justice System and the Politics of Speech Theme Icon
...many people sitting in the gallery are the church ladies from Mama's funeral. Minutes later, Odette begins her opening statement. She tells the story of Turk and Brit's experience at the... (full context)
Belonging and Community Theme Icon
...said that she and Corinne were close. Now, she realizes they were just default acquaintances. Odette asks Corinne about her job and about the morning that she was asked to take... (full context)
Institutional Racism Theme Icon
Later, Isaac Hager, the anesthesiologist, testifies. Odette asks him to describe the role of chest compressions in resuscitating an infant, and to... (full context)
Racism: Hate, Fear, and Grief Theme Icon
Institutional Racism Theme Icon
The Justice System and the Politics of Speech Theme Icon
...to pass, she'll get Ruth's sentence as short as possible. She also points out that Odette will have a hard time keeping the jury from hating Turk. Ruth realizes that Kennedy's... (full context)
Institutional Racism Theme Icon
Family and Shared Humanity Theme Icon
The Justice System and the Politics of Speech Theme Icon
When Dr. Atkins takes the stand, she smiles at Ruth before turning to Odette. Dr. Atkins mentions the heart murmur, describes Davis's circumcision, and mentions Ruth's comment to sterilize... (full context)
Belonging and Community Theme Icon
...died tragically. Ruth uses the restroom before she and Edison leave, and she runs into Odette. Odette compliments Ruth on Kennedy's day, but insists that they'll lose. Angrily, Ruth says that... (full context)
Racism: Hate, Fear, and Grief Theme Icon
Institutional Racism Theme Icon
Family and Shared Humanity Theme Icon
...He crankily starts the day after complaining about his back. MacDougall testifies first. He tells Odette about knocking on Ruth's door. Ruth angrily starts to rise and tells Kennedy he's lying.... (full context)
Family and Shared Humanity Theme Icon
The Justice System and the Politics of Speech Theme Icon
...if he can say how the baby died, Dr. Binnie says the question is complicated. Odette enters the autopsy photographs of Davis's bruised body and sets one up on an easel.... (full context)
Institutional Racism Theme Icon
Family and Shared Humanity Theme Icon
The Justice System and the Politics of Speech Theme Icon
Fifteen minutes later, Odette leads Dr. Binnie through all the photographs. Dr. Binnie explains that the cause of death... (full context)
Belonging and Community Theme Icon
Family and Shared Humanity Theme Icon
Odette questions Dr. Binnie again. She confirms that the newborn screening doesn't actually diagnose the disorder,... (full context)
Chapter 23, Turk
Racism: Hate, Fear, and Grief Theme Icon
Family and Shared Humanity Theme Icon
In a small conference room in the courthouse, Turk tries to calm Brit down. Odette bursts in, saying that Brit looks perfectly distraught but threatening Ruth was a bad move.... (full context)
Racism: Hate, Fear, and Grief Theme Icon
Belonging and Community Theme Icon
Family and Shared Humanity Theme Icon
...He looks out at Brit and thinks of how he told her that he told Odette that it would be cruel to make Brit testify. Turk begins to sweat as questioning... (full context)
Racism: Hate, Fear, and Grief Theme Icon
Family and Shared Humanity Theme Icon
...the nursery, seeing Ruth pounding on Davis's chest, and watching Dr. Atkins declare him dead. Odette offers Turk tissues as he says that he just wanted to give Davis a good... (full context)
Racism: Hate, Fear, and Grief Theme Icon
The Justice System and the Politics of Speech Theme Icon
...for Kennedy, and calls her a race traitor. He comes to in a cell, and Odette tells him that he messed everything up. (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,... (full context)
Racism: Hate, Fear, and Grief Theme Icon
The Justice System and the Politics of Speech Theme Icon
Odette's questioning seeks to show that Ruth lied several times about not touching Davis. She suggests... (full context)
Institutional Racism Theme Icon
...raise the motion to acquit Ruth. Judge Thunder, however, looks murderous. He refuses to reconsider Odette's murder charge and says that closing arguments will take place Monday morning. Kennedy arrives home... (full context)
Chapter 27, Ruth
Racism: Hate, Fear, and Grief Theme Icon
Institutional Racism Theme Icon
The Justice System and the Politics of Speech Theme Icon
...is the only person who could've made the jury understand. She strokes Mama's scarf as Odette begins her closing argument. Odette says that, racial issues aside, Ruth didn't do her job... (full context)
Belonging and Community Theme Icon
Family and Shared Humanity Theme Icon
...her night in jail and tells Kennedy that her statement was still worth hearing. Suddenly, Odette appears in front of them. She briskly says that she's getting Edison's case dismissed and... (full context)
Chapter 29, Kennedy
Institutional Racism Theme Icon
Belonging and Community Theme Icon
...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 to one. When Kennedy... (full context)