A Lesson Before Dying Literary Analysis Essay

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ALBD: Literary Analysis A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines is a story set in the fictional Cajun community of Bayonne, Louisiana during the 1940s. It is the story of Jefferson, an accused black man who is sentenced to death for a murder he did not commit. Grant, a teacher, is asked by Jefferson’s godmother to persuade Jefferson that he is a man and not just a “hog” before he is executed. In A Lesson Before Dying, Gaines uses many symbols to explain how Jefferson is seen as a Christ figure. As the story progresses, the author begins to slowly reveal how Jefferson is a Christ figure. The first mention where the relation can be made is when Jefferson says “Easter was when they nailed Him to the cross. And He never said a mumbling word” (Gaines 139). This reveals that Jefferson sees Christ as a sort of role model. Jefferson’s time in prison and ultimately his execution can be seen as a spiritual connection to Christ’s deliverance and innocence at his death. This supports the idea that Jefferson is slowly making progress towards understanding what it means to be a man. Said scene is also significant in that this is the first time Jefferson did not relate himself to being a hog. The idea in this novel is that Jefferson “comes to understand the…show more content…
He was: looked down upon his entire life, had only a few loved ones, was accused for sins he did not commit, and ultimately died a martyr; not to mention the fact that he was execute only 2 weeks after Easter.. However, he did not go down without influencing others to change and take action. Jefferson’s acceptance of death in resistance to the white prosecutors can be seen as him breaking cycle of previous blacks who failed to do what he did: defy the expected. He has transformed Grant and Paul’s hearts, and it can be assumed that they will change in one way or another to become a better person and to make a
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