Time To Kill
Time to Kill
Racism and Justice collide when the life of a ten-year-old black girl, Tonya Hailey, is
shattered by two drunken and remorseless young white men , as they brutally beat and rape
her. In John Grisham?s novel rape, racism, and justice all prevail throughout the story A
Time to Kill. Carl Lee Hailey, the father of the ten-year-old child takes justice into his
own hands by murdering his daughters assailants. As his young defense attorney struggles
with the law to save his clients life, racism spreads through the streets of Canton.
?She watched as he walked around the tree on her right side, and she stared at him as he
stared between her legs. When he lowered his pants she turned to the left and closed her
eyes. He was hurting her again.? The two men that had raped the black child, Tonya
Hailey, had no respect for the black folks. When they selected their victim they did not
care if she was a child, but yet the fact that she was black gave them more reason to take
away her rights as a human. This is evident throughout the rape when one of the
assailants, Cobb explained;
?…that she was not dead because niggers generally could
not be killed by kicking and beating and raping. It took
much more, something like a knife or a rope to dispose
of a nigger.? (pg.2)
After the two intoxicated and remorseless men were done with her, the mostly white town
found out about this most inhuman crime. They reacted with shock and horror.
?We picked them up last night for rape.?
?Who?d they rape??
?That nigger Hailey– his daughter.?
?You?re kidding!?? (pg.23)
The people of the town could not believe that two of their white people could rape a young
child. Not only the fact that she was black, but a ten-year-old child.
Later on chaos erupted in the town of Mississippi after the father of the raped girl, Carl
Lee Hailey took justice into his own outraged hands and murdered her two assailants.
Racial tension in the town was already apparent, and excelled to more violent action
against the black community after the murders. The people of the town that were white
took several actions in trying to interfere with justice. Their first mission was to try
and eliminate Carl Lee Hailey?s attorney, Jake Brigance. The reason for their hatred
towards him was because he was defending a black man in a racial community. As the trial
grew deeper, a number of white towns people joined a group who despised blacks , known as
the Kl Klux Klan (KKK). Joining together like this, gave them more power to continue
their fight against the blacks and the people involved in the case. For ten days, with
burning crosses and the crack of sniper fire spreading through the streets of Clanton, the
nation sat spellboun!
d as a young defense attorney, Jake Brigance struggles to save his clients life — and then his own.
?Hello,? answered Prattle.
?Who?s this?? asked the voice.
?Deputy Joe Pintle. Who?s this??
?Where?s the sheriff??
?Asleep, I reckon.?
?Okay listen, and listen real good because this is important and I Ain?t calling?
again. You know that Hailey nigger??
?You know his lawyer, Brigance??
?Then listen. Sometime between now and three A.M., they?re gonna blow up his house.? (pg.272)
As the trial progresses Jake found the only way to save his clients life would be a plead
for insanity. His argument would be that Carl Lee Hailey was not in the right frame of
mind, he was so hurt and outraged by the rape of his daughter he felt it was the only way
to end her pain and his anger. To prove this, Jake?s main witness was a psychiatrist who
had the highest credentials in the state of Mississippi. Until the prosecutor, Mr.
Buckley, discredited the psychiatrist.
?Dr. Bass, have you ever been convicted of a felony??
?Of course not!? Bass answered loudly, desperately.
?Are you certain?? Buckley thundered.
?Of course I?m certain,? Bass protested.
?You?re certain?? Buckley asked.
?Yes,? Bass answered through clenched teeth.
?You?re telling this jury that on October 17, 1956, in Dallas, Texas, you were not
convicted of a felony under the name of Tyler Bass.
?You?re telling this jury that on October 17, 1956 you were not convicted of statutory rape??(pg.447-448)
The plead for insanity now was no longer an option for Jake to use in defence of his
client. Although his client was close to death road, and had little chance of winning
this trial he refused to give up. He still had one more option. He would need a speech,
a brilliant, emotional explanation that would touch the hearts of the jurors and make them
weep with pity for Dr. Bass and his patient, Carl Lee. He must now use his knowledge for
the all white jury to see past the issue of race and colour, he must get them to see that
no matter what colour you maybe, either old or young no one has the right to treat another
human being with disrespect, take advantage of them the way those two white boys did to
the little Hailey girl.
?Perhaps the most horrible crime of all is the violent rape of a child
A women who is raped has a pretty good idea why it happened.
Some animal was filled with hatred, anger and violents. But a child?
A ten-year-old child? Suppose you?re a parent. Imagine yourself
trying to explain why she cannot bare children. Suppose, Jake said, your
ten-year-old daughter is raped, and you?re a Vietnam vet, very familiar
with an M-16, and you get your hands on one while your daughter is
lying in the hospital fighting for her life. Suppose the rapist is caught,
and six days later you manage to manoeuvre to within five feet of him as
he leaves court. And you?ve got the M-16.? (pg.483)
Due to this brilliant speech prepared by Carl Lee?s defence attorney. He was not
convicted and was set free from all charges brought upon him.
Your colour of skin or your race should never be a reason for someone to disrespect you,
nor punish you, nor should the colour of your skin not give you the right to be given a
fair trial. When racism and justice collide, justice will prevail in most cases. If you
play with justice you can expect a fight, just as Carl Lee Hailey did. He did what he
thought was right and followed his heart for his daughter?s sake. But while he was doing
time and waiting on a verdict he put his people, his family and the whole black community