Just Mercy Essay Examples and Topics

by Bryan Stevenson

Essay Examples
Essay Topics
Brief overview



Bryan Stevenson





Major Characters

The main characters in the book Just Mercy are Betsy Bartholet, Steve Bright, Walter Macmillan, Eva Ansley, and Wille Tabb. Betsy Bartholet is a Law professor with NAACP Legal Defense Fund

Based on

The book Just Mercy is based on a 2014 memoir written by an American attorney Bryan Stevenson. The memoir is titled A Story of Justice and Redemption. It is a description of his job as a lawyer and his disadvantaged customers.

  • To Kill a Mockingbird: Throughout the book, the writer keeps referring to the famous 1960 book title To Kill A Mockingbird to symbolize how frail a client can be in the hands of a lawyer.
  • Songs: The writer uses songs and hymns to symbolize emotional situations
  • Closeness: He uses the closeness motif to symbolize how close clients should be with their lawyers.

Just Mercy takes a deeper look at criminal justice in America. He presents a broken system that is unable to confront injustices and inequalities. Unless the client holds on close to their lawyer, they might never win a court battle.


Stevenson becomes a lawyer at a time when the criminal justice system is wanting. He establishes EJI, an organization that he would use to advocate equal justice in America. In particular, he has to help a black man named Walter McMillian who has been wrongfully accused of murder.
Walter faces a death sentence in the state of Alabama. He manages to stage a successful campaign that challenged the system’s cruelty where children are sentenced to die in prison.

Why is this topic important?

Just Mercy narrates the infancy of EJI and its struggles while dealing with injustices. They are handling frail clients who only need help to receive justice. Its importance is to show the audience why it is important to stand against unjust systems and help those who cannot afford to hire lawyers.

Main Ideas

The main idea in Just mercy is about living at a time when the weak cannot obtain justice. The only thing they hope for is just to receive mercy from someone who dares learn about their experiences and innocence.

Key Quotes
  • Bryan Stevenson: "Each of us is greater than the most heinous act we've ever committed."
  • The way we treat the impoverished, the disfavored, the accused, the incarcerated, and the condemned is a real reflection of our character.
  • "Why do we want to kill everyone who is broken?" What is wrong with us that we believe such a thing may be true?"
Interesting facts

The relationship between Bryan Stevenson and Macmillan is true. The stories written are based on real issues that happened in America’s corridors of justice.

Arguments for

Bryan Stevenson is described as a true American hero after he committed himself to fighting for justice for Americans who could not afford to hire lawyers. His commitment was fruitful after many people finally walked free.

Arguments against

Bryan Stevenson is a lawyer and serves in the very system he accuses of lacking justice and equity. Being a lawyer, he is earning an income as he defends his clients who get justice from the same system he accuses as unjust.

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