Micheaux And Mulligan's 'To Kill A Mockingbird'

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Micheaux ensures anger by having the mob build a fire to burn the bodies of the Landrys because lynching them was not final enough. Micheaux heavily relies on violence, physical touch, interactive camera angles, and a sense of chaos through motion to provoke rage among the audience. Conversely, Mulligan’s To Kill a Mockingbird employs a lack of action and audio techniques to produce a sense of resignation among the viewing audience. Speaking directly to the paucity of justice present in the film, once Atticus urges the jury to “believe Tom Robinson” in the name of God, he sits down in total silence and the audience views a full shot taken from the judge’s perspective where one can see a room full of faces with completely flat affect. Atticus…show more content…
The audience can make two connections about the varied approaches. One is that they reflect the time period in which the movie was filmed, and the second is that in order to feel anger versus resignation, the viewer must be visually compelled through action and stimuli to do so. As previously stated, 1920 was a time where the horror of lynching was a reality and 53 African American citizens were killed by that method that year alone (“Lynching Statistics”). The concept of using the visual power of violence and representations of a lynching is well explained in Poole’s article which explains using Emmett Till’s mutilated body as a means of inspiring action as opposed to passivity. Poole writes, “The rhetorical power of Till’s body consisted of showing white Northern Americans what racial oppression looked like. When combined with the farcical trial, the horror of that image provoked politically oriented mourning that successfully demonstrated the need for society-wide change in ways that no other protest, speech, or rally had done…”…show more content…
This could be the lynching of the Landrys, Emmett Till’s body, or, in 2015, a video of a police shooting an African American. It is as if the only way to believe in a failure of justice is to see it actually take place, and even then, there is room for interpretation as seen by the lack of indictment of Officer Pantaleo in the chokehold killing of Eric Garner ( Baker, et al.). Micheaux heavily relies on the act of physical violence, disorder of movement, fast-paced music, and horrendous plot lines to provide the viewer with a visual that will outrage. One cannot be certain that Mulligan was fully aware of the link between his use of limited stimuli to the audience’s feeling of resignation, not only at the guilty verdict and killing of Tom Robison, but at the political climate as a whole during 1962. He did however achieve this goal through his use of silence, lack of affect, and simple, yet effective camera shots. These two movies, during two different decades, utilize very different approaches, but arrive at a similar conclusion: by controlling the stimuli an audience member takes in, especially violent stimuli, the director can control the viewer’s affect while indicating the political climate of a given moment in

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