A Time to Kill

A Time to Kill

The atrocities in the movie, A Time to Kill is a very similar to Lorde’s poem, Power.  A Time to Kill takes place in Canton, Mississippi and is a story of an African American father, Carl Lee who struggles to find justice for himself and his daughter.  His 10-year-old daughter, Tonya was raped and tortured by “four white boys in the city of Delta.”  Carl seeks the help of a young white attorney Jake Brigance to ensure the rapists pay the consequences for their crimes.  Unfortunately, this was not the case.  The look on Jake’s face after leaving the courtroom said it all.  One look at Jake and Carl said, “They got off, didn’t they?” Jake proceeds to nod his head. Carl felt defeated but was bound and determined to make the rapists pay for what they did to his daughter.  Like the black woman in Lorde’s poem who felt as though she was “raked over the coals” Carl felt alone and defenseless.  The resentment the woman had pales in comparison to the hatred Carl felt when he learned the rapists would be set free.  Instead Carl took the law into his own hands and shoots the rapists inside the courthouse on the day of their arraignments.  After this incident Carl soon finds himself on the wrong side of the law.  Jake agreed to represent Carl in the murder case but it was not without a price.  The price wasn’t monetary.  By taking on Carl’s case he placed himself in danger as he endured torment from one of the murdered rapist’s brother who happened to be a member of the K.K.K.  The brother planted burning crosses on Jake’s lawn, a bomb was planted in his home, and at one point he found himself at the wrong end of a gun.  Tension around the case grew as the K.K.K. started a riot outside the courthouse.  At this point, how is one man’s quest for his young defenseless daughter’s justice overshadowed by the rape and torture by white men.  If the judicial system didn’t see fit to make the white rapists pay for their crimes how they can stand by and let a man of color pay the price for defending his daughter’s honor.  How can members of an organized group such as the K.K.K. continue tormenting colored people for seeking their own justice.  I don’t believe Carl would have gone through such extremes if the judicial system didn’t fail his daughter.   The value of one’s life isn’t contingent upon the color of their skin.

Dont judge me

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2 comments

  1. I chose those exact example, as well! It is a great illustration of racism, prejudices, and the inequalities of the justice system. Justice alone is color blind. But we skew that! We are the ones that corrupt and vandalize it.
    I love how Jake struggles throughout the movie to find a way to get everyone on the jury to view this situation the way that he does. He understands why Carl Lee did what he did. The acts committed against Tanya were enough for any decent human being to be completely outraged. But because Jake also had a little girl, Tanya’s age, I am certain that it affected Jake even more. He not only understood why Carl Lee killed those men, he knew that deep down, had it happened to his little girl, he would have done the same thing. Jake also knew, I’m certain, that HAD he killed those two men, he likely would not be facing first degree murder charges!
    I love it at the end, when Jake brings his wife and daughter, Hannah, to eat with the Haley family! It was a perfect ending to such a catastrophic story!

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  2. This was a great movie I loved this movie so much I can only imagine what was going on through this fathers mind when they raped his little girl and left her to die by hanging her in a tree. I mean a father is always there to protect his daughter and his family. And for you to compare this movie with her reading s was a awesome affect to it cause she did place a lot of emphasis on how race instilled a person decision. Whether it was a boy killed by the police or Tanya raped and brutal beaten and left to hang in a tree it just shows how corrupt this world has always been. And how justice is never going to be evenhanded. We are truly a reflection of our own prejudices. this movie had me completely in tears this was an awesome example of prejudice and I too loved the ending when there kids were able to play with each other.

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