Writing Techniques in A Time to Kill

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A Time to Kill is not a streamlined novel, as are Grisham's later efforts in the thriller genre. In addition to vivid characterization, Grisham lingers over many specifics of place. A fine scene in which Jake takes Ellen to a restaurant leads to a humorous and succulent discussion of Southern food. All the details offer the reader a total immersion into a highly particularized place populated by extremely well-drawn characters.

For a first novel, the book reveals highly accomplished techniques. Grisham deftly juggles his large cast. He demonstrates the suspense that will fuel his later career as he sends trouble after trouble to beset Jake. As he does in other novels, he grabs readers with a tense, violent start: He describes the rape of the girl without being pathetic yet still conveying the horror and while making odd fun of the attackers (one complains that the little girl dripped...

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This section contains 484 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the A Time to Kill Study Guide
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