To kill a Mockingbird and A Time to kill In the world today there are several stories that are too vast to be covered by one story and its aspects. To Kill A Mockingbird and A Time To Kill are two stories that coincide. Many of the aspects of the stories are quite similar. The main similarities occurred to me in the themes and the characters. However, despite the stories’ similarities, the two have their differences. The characters are the heart of the stories; the readers follow two courageous protagonists: Atticus Finch (To Kill A Mockingbird) and Jake Brigance (A Time To Kill). They are two different men with different stories, but they are alike once the reader gets to know them. The two characters are both southern lawyers and loving fathers who fight against racism in their hometowns. They are both driven by an inner strength, and both are deathly loyal to their families became targeted by those that disagreed with what the lawyers were attempting to do.
In To Kill A Mockingbird Atticus’s children, Scout and Jem, are forced to deal with harassment from the majority of the Maycomb citizens, while in A Time To Kill Jake’s wife and daughter are targeted numerous times by the KKK. They, being the loving fathers they were, tried to protect their families. Jake sent his family to a relative’s house while Atticus preferred to educate his children on how to conduct themselves in difficult situations. Not only are the men out to save the lives of someone else, but each has to deal with his own past mistakes. Each man has to save not only the life of a black man, but his own as well. In their quests to reveal the truth, their true natures appear. I believe that it could be argued that Jake Brigance is a young Atticus and that Atticus finch is an older, wiser Jake Brigance. However, if it weren’t for their similar way to thinking, the men could not have been any more different.
Atticus Finch is an older gentleman in about his mid-forties with two small children to rise. Atticus is wise- made so by the numerous years he has served as a lawyer. His middle class stature makes him extremely friendly and courteous to everyone. Atticus is an honest man who is the same man whether he is in public or in the courtroom. While Atticus’s maturity and quiet determination set him apart, it is Jake’s youth and zealous nature that set him apart in his story. Jake is from a higher middle class and lives with his wife, daughter, and dog. Although he is friendly, he has a bit of prejudice towards black people, as Carl Lee Haley pointed out. Jake, in contrast to Atticus’s seniority, is still on his way to greatness as a lawyer. Brigance also has many different sides to him: the man in the courtroom and the father that cares for his family.
Jake is impulsive and persistent – the polar opposite of calm, unruffled Atticus Finch. While the characters are the heart, the themes (revealed mostly in the summations) are the souls of the stories. Throughout the stories, the issue of prejudice is being addressed. Atticus is known for his ¨walking in someone else’s shoes¨ line, which he constantly teaches to Jem and Scout. He tries to show them that no matter what someone does they are still human, and by understanding where that person is coming from many problems can be solved. In his summation, Atticus goes into detail about the equality between people. He highlights the fact that every person is unique and has their own qualities, but goes on to explain that in the eyes of the law, everyone is equal in a courtroom. Jake also has his own version of ¨walking in someone else’s shoes¨ theory.
In his summation he had the jury imagine a horrendous crime that caused Carl Lee Haley to do what he did. He hoped that he could show the jury that Carl Lee Haley was not the only person that would have taken the law into his own hands after that act. In his summation he also highlights on the importance of finding the truth with the heart. Jake wants the truth to come from the heart because in the eyes of the court, reason will not win the case because Carl Lee Haley shot two men and killed them. However, Jake knows the exact reason why Carl Lee did what he did. He feels that Carl Lee should not die because he felt that he would have done the same thing: kill the two men that had hurt his daughter. While the summations and themes are similar in their own ways, they resulted in two opposite verdicts.
In To Kill A Mockingbird, Tom Robinson was found guilty. He was not found guilty because Atticus did not do his best in defending him or because he actually did commit the crime, but because of deep-rooted prejudice in the small town of Maycomb. Atticus knew this, and tried anyway. Because his great efforts, the jury was kept out of the courtroom for a couple of hours on a case that would have usually have been a minute or two decisions. Atticus was able to convince one prejudiced man on that jury: a Cunningham. On the other hand, in A Time To Kill, Carl Lee Haley was set free. Jake was able to look past the racial barrier himself to see and admit that he would have done the same thing.
Once he discovered and accepted that he would have done that himself, he discovered that he could get the jury to discover the same thing. Knowing this he was able to sway the jury in his favor, along with Dwayne Looney who had his leg amputated because Carl Lee had shot him. To Kill A Mockingbird and A Time To Kill are two distinctively separate stories, and yet, they seem to have a lot in common. Between the two protagonists, the wise Atticus Finch and the impulsive Jake Brigance, many similarities can be shown.