Just Mercy: a Story of Justice and Redemption
The Novel, Just Mercy, by Bryan Stevenson illustrates Bryan Stevenson’s career as a legal advocate for troubled people. These people were given very harsh sentences or wrongly convicted, which means they were thrown in jail for something they never did. Bryan Stevenson felt it was his mission to help these people better there sentences and ultimately get them out of jail.
My response to the novel was it was very hopeful and the tone really set this off. The tone of the book to me was that Bryan had a very optimistic. The reason to why I feel that Bryans tone is optimistic are by all the cases that he makes little to no progress in, he never once lost hope and tried helping any way he could for his clients. I also feel that the first person aspect of the novel really compels the stories and seems more real. One thing that I very much liked in Just Mercy were the symbols that Bryan used. For example one of the symbols was to kill a mockingbird. Throughout the novel the book To kill a mockingbird was referenced several times. But one thing that I felt was bringing the book down was the fact that Bryan dwelled way to long on one case and never talked evenly about each of them.
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In the intro on page 10 one quote really stood out to me and will always stick with me me, “”The true measure of our character is how we treat the poor, the disfavored, the accused, the incarcerated, and the condemned.”” This quote shows that not everyone is who they say they are rather by the actions that they take. The second thing that really stood out to me was the fact that many of the people were poor people trying to get by in life and are having to go through all this jail due to there financial problems. The quote from Just mercy that really shows that is, “”capital punishment means ‘them without the capital get the punishment.”” This quote from the intro on page 2 means you will never see someone with a lot of money on death row or even long jail time. Lastly is at the top of chapter 10 starts of with a line that is a problem nowadays and i feel that this must be taken care of because many people with these problems require help and not just to rot in prisons. The quote states, “”America’s prisons have become warehouses for the mentally ill.”” This quote in fact opened my eyes to all the problems with america just throwing mentally disabled people into prisons were they cant get the help they truly need.
In the novel Just Mercy there were very many really important events but the one that I felt the most close to was the one with Walter McMillian. This event really showed how the legal system was straight up racist towards Walter because he was a man of color. Walter was wrongly convicted of killing a women and was sentenced to death, State’s witnesses blatantly lied on the stand and the prosecution had illegally suppressed exculpatory evidence. Also the jury just ignored Mr Walters alibis which is very wrong toward Walter. I feel that this case affect everyone in showing them how corrupt or legal system really can be.
Three of the characters that I feel changed were Ian Manuel, Bryan Stevenson, and Trina Garrett. The first person who I feel changed was Ian Manuel because of the fact that while in prison he would write letters to the lady who he had shot in the head and eventually they both started to send each others letters. She has helped him with his case and after he became a free man they were very good friends and Ian was a changed man. The second character I feel was changed was in fact Bryan. In the beginning of the book he sits down with a man named Henry. This meeting with henry was Bryan’s first learning experience from an actual inmate and changed his life because now he knew what he wanted to do with his life. The last character whose life changed for the worst was Tina however because even though she had mental illnesses they just threw her in a real jail were she is still staying and not receiving the treatment she needs.
In conclusion, the theme that I feel best suits Just Mercy is Systematic power and Oppression because his stories represent mainly the legal structure of the cases which are supposed to be fair to all americans but aren’t because of systematic oppression to people of other colors and the poor.