A Time to Kill Social Concerns

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A Time to Kill takes place in the town of Clanton, in Ford County, a fictionalized version of Grisham's home region, northern Mississippi. The area is rural, removed from the bustle of life in the city. The town's population is 8,000, 74% of them white, but the black presence is quite visible. This environment recalls the settings of a multitude of Southern novels, notably William Faulkner's Yoknapatawpha saga set in the same region.

A crime with profound racial overtones disrupts the region. Two rednecks kidnap, repeatedly rape, and leave for dead a ten-year-old black girl.

Her father, Carl Lee Hailey, blows the attackers apart with an M-16 as they leave the courtroom after their bail hearing. Grisham claims that he created this plot in response to watching a similar girl agonizingly testify in a rape case. Most of Clanton's citizens agree that if a white father had committed such vigilantism...

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This section contains 2,184 words
(approx. 6 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the A Time to Kill Study Guide
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