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A Time to Kill Movie Analysis

A Time to Kill Movie Analysis

Tradition is a priceless component to any culture, as it has been

shaped and developed by time itself. Tradition passes from generation

to generation, exercising its influence through the actions and

thoughts of a people. The tradition that has materialized from the

history of the American South is no different. It remains a pillar of

hope, faith, and pride for those southerners who embrace it.

Tradition of the South dictates a way life with roots in the very

foundation of the United States. While this may act as a testament to

the strength and courage of the people of the south, the fact remains

that the principles laid down by this tradition defy civil rights and

respect for humanity. In this sense, the old ways of the South do not

compliment the rapid changes that occur in society each day. At

heart, this realization is the overall theme of "A Time To Kill". The

convictions of the South are detrimental to the civility of the human

race and yet, remain unchanged after 150 years because they rise from

the tradition of the Southern culture.

The realization listed above haunts each of the principal

characters in "A Time To Kill" as the story of racial injustice

unfolds. Centered around the brutal rape and assault of a young black

girl, Tanya Hailey, "A Time To Kill" immerses itself into the intense

emotions that are involved in hatred. The rape, committed by two

white men, epitomizes this blind hatred that stems from the racism of

the South. Influenced by the pain of his loss, Tanya's father, Carl

Lee Hailey, lashes out in a passionate state of retribution, slaying

both assailants. Charged with two counts of murder in the first

degree, Carl Lee is trapped in a judicial system that is greatly

swayed by the racism of the world beyond. He is assigned the young

and en-US" style="margin-bottom: 0in">southerners who believes that he is still able to receive a fair

trial. The incident becomes a platform for social outcry, as white

and black, poor and privileged take a stand for what they believe in.

The emotional tension and social distress heightens as Ellen Roark, an

energetic Boston law student, comes to Jake's assistance. They seem

to be a very lost few among the surrounding hatred of the South. As

trial proceeds, it tears the community apart with controversy, and

takes its toll on the lives of all those involved. The most

significant relationship in this twisted story is that of Jake and

Carl Lee, for they are forced to find a way to transcend their

fundamental differences and work together for the same cause, equal

justice. Somehow, this justice is found, as an obviously partial jury

searches deep within to produce a compassionate verdict of "not


"A Time To Kill" was both dramatic and accurate in its depiction

of a small southern community. Prevalent throughout "A Time To Kill"

is the presence of the Ku Klux Klan, both as an antagonistic force and

as the embodiment of blind hatred that existed in the form of racism

in Mississippi at the time. This modern presence has been the root of

many crimes of hatred and racism. Conversely, the NAACP’s presence in

opposition to the Ku Klux Klan is significant, yet its true nature and

power was not shown; rather the movie focuses on the interracial

relationship and its impact in a southern society, in which equality

is undefined. It is evident that the producers of this movie truly

understand the mechanics of modern society in this respect. Finally,

“A Time To Kill”, faces segregation head on, displaying its

psychological effects on a society of the south, and its judicial

system. Today, nearly 40 years after the civil rights movement made

the first steps towards racial equality, segregation remains a part of

humanity that we must all face.

"A Time To Kill" speaks to all people, versed and unversed in the

hatred of racism. Above all, it calls the individual to examine their

convictions, and then ask themself if they have sought the just

principles for life. Jake Brigance eloquently calls the jury to

imagine the acts brought upon Tanya in these final words, "Can you see

her? Her raped, beaten, broken body, soaked in their urine, soaked in

their semen, soaked in her blood, left to die. Can you see her? I want

you to picture that little girl. Now imagine she's white." This

movies serves as a reminder that in governing our country, and

ultimately in living our lives, we must look past race, color and

creed, and seek equality in its purest forms. If this cannot be done

in the present, it cannot be a hope for the future.

Sources Cited:

{Source 1} Newton, Michael, And Judy Ann Newton. The Ku Klux Klan: An

Encyclopedia. Garland, 1991.

{Source 2} Harris, Jacqueline L. History And Achievement Of The NAACP.

Franklin Watts, 1992.

{Source 3} Haskins, James S. Separate But Not Equal: The Dream and the

Struggle. Scholastic, 1997.

{Source 4} A Time To Kill. Dir. Joel Schumacher. Perf. Matthew

McConaughey, Sandra Bullock, Samuel L. Jackson, Kevin Spacey. Warner

Brothers. 1996.

Материала е изпратен от: Стоянка Христова

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