“A Comparative Essay: To Kill a Mockingbird and A Time to Kill”
Since the human existence initiated there have been renowned laws. Form the story of Eve and Adam up to the Moses and 10 commandments there has been an upper authority in front, to which people are needed to deal with always. Similarly, in the story of both books To Kill a Mockingbird and A Time to Kill because of their actions people are needed to deal with some upper authorities. The Tom Robinson seems to deal with a rape charge in To Kill a Mockingbird and Carl Lee faced a murder charge in the story of A Time to Kill. These both cases were because of the stereotypes and white-black differences of the era. Based on this, the content of both books can be compared and contrasted about racial prejudice and justice. The A Time to Kill mainly focuses on the justice and differences between the black and white people along with the racial prejudice set by the law. However, the story of To Kill a Mockingbird is also about justice, morality, and social discriminations. In short, these stories are in good conscience are similar because of the themes of justice in society but on the other hand, both are far more different from each other. Both stories portray the American racial discrimination in the 18th century and some heroic acts of white people who also suffered to demolish that evil from society.
The books, To Kill a Mockingbird and A Time to Kill are written by Harper Lee and John Grisham respectively. Both of the authors have outlined the subject of racial discrimination in different ways. The story of A Time to Kill is primarily based on justice. The story revolves around the trial of a character named Carl Lee Hailey, he was accused because of murdering in the mid of a courthouse (Grisham 20). The story of To Kill a Mockingbird is a mixture of various themes such as perception about the world depicted from the eye of an innocent child, a man’s pride, and others (Lee 8). However, at the root of both stories are based on all about the matter of justice and racial discrimination. The A Time to Kill reveals the racial discriminations in a trial case when Carl Harley murders two white unarmed men. Likewise, the story of To Kill a Mockingbird reveals the story of a black man who is accused because of raping a white woman (Lee 8). Thus, it can be added that both these books are interrelated because of the matter of racial prejudice revealed in the stories. As it is mentioned above that both these stories continue by exhibiting some heroic acts of white people because trials in both stories do not directly show that the accused person is black and the victim is white. However, one more connection between both stories is noticed as two men try to raise the voice against unfair decisions based on racial prejudice. The fight for human rights and justice is highlighted in both stories so that the accused men can return to their families after the fair trial. The comparison of both books is interesting because both stories feature the trial of black man grassed by justice but they end oppositely to each other. However, the difference at the end of stories influences the message and category of the book, such as To Kill a Mockingbird becomes a tragic story in the end (Lee 8).
The subject of racial discrimination is featured similarly in both books. The character Atticus Finch states that “men sometimes lose their heads because of something in this world”. He continues; “in our courts, a white man always wins when he is against any black man". This quotation is taken from the book which strongly suggests the existence of racial discrimination in American society in the 18th century. The racial discrimination was because of the prejudice based on the race such as white versus black. The author Harper Lee reveals the story of a man who is accused unfairly by claiming that he has raped a white woman. On the other hand, the story of "A Time to Kill" is accused because he kills two men in cold bold because those two men raped his daughter (Grisham 20). More precisely, the books are similar because the story of a black man is revealed who are fighting for their rights by law, in the American courts. The quotes of lawyer Atticus Finch shows sympathy towards the black people minority because the character Tom Robinson was an innocent man, who was wrongly accused of rape. As Atticus Finch stated, “the courtroom is the only place where a man ought to get a square deal". The story "A Time to Kill" went heart-wrenching when Carl Lee talks to his lawyer “look twenty-four hours ago everything was fine and now my little girl has been raped” (Grisham 20). This statement clearly defines that Mr, Carl Lee was assured that he cannot get the revenge by law that is why he murdered both men himself, though he did not find peace of mind because his young daughter was raped.
While exploring similarities between both books it is realized that racial prejudice has affected the stories in a similar way. The accused men Carl Lee and Tome faced charges in court for different trails but they were not aiming to have a fair decision. However, if both the characters had been white both stories of the books would have been changed. In other words, if Carl Lee and his daughter would white the victims were black then they will immediately charged the death penalty. Similarly, if Tom had not been black he would not these challenges because his family would be regarded as the respectable white family. The statements written in the book in the courtroom reveals that justice plays a great and similar role in both stories. However, justice is based on the moral justice, not legal justice. The goodwill and intentions for minorities of Atticus Finch can be analyzed by a quote written by Harper Lee. He states that; "In the entire life, every lawyer gets at least a single case that influences his personally. And this case is influencing me, I guess” (Grisham 20). Though, the lawyer Atticus Finch worked and spoke a lot for justice by keeping racial discriminations aside. The lawyer Jake Brignance is also a straight forward an open-minded person who appreciates and wants to practice real justice. It can be analyzed by his statement such as "Justice is not possible to handle until and unless everyone starts seeing each other as equal members of the society" (Lee 8). Furthermore, Jake Brignance added about the unfair decisions that "It is nothing more than the reflection of our prejudices" (Lee 8). These both quotes also reveal that justice was made in the courts on the basis of racial prejudice.
The books To Kill a Mockingbird and A Time to Kill are similar and comparable because they are interrelated due to the themes discussed above. However, the protagonists in both movies are open-minded. They are forward thinkers but are accused because of racial discrimination and justice based on racial prejudice. The similarities are noticed about the court trials where the accused men are black; one had rapped a white girl while other has murdered two white men because of raping his daughter. The story further reveals that both accused men are actually victims but are facing challenges and threats in the court. Each story continues by introducing the supporting character who stands and raises the concerns so that innocent people can be protected. This type of character is common in both stories which stand for the fair decision so that accused blackish men can go back to their homes. Both stories depict the same message that all black men are not evil, nor all white men are good. However, in every society there exist some people who stand for the truth and rights of the people. Both books express the real image of the society in which racial discrimination was widespread. Moreover, these stories were introduced around about 30 years apart but they still relate quite closely. It is also realized that both stories have taken place in Southern America and in this area the racism is more common than other parts. This is also a similarity between both stories as both lawyers Jake and Atticus Finch supported their clients. The lawyers were devoted and defended accused people because they believe in the doing of the right thing. However, both stories are comparable because the prominent themes of racism are in common. However, it can be added that the social justice and human rights are protected in our society today just because of these open-minded people who raised the voice of innocent people including novelist, poets, filmmakers, writers, and lawyers, etc.
Grisham, John. A time to kill. Vol. 1. Dell, 1992. (Grisham 20)
Lee, Harper. To kill a Mockingbird. Random House, 2010. (Lee 8)