Coming Of Age In A Lesson Before Dying

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A Lesson Before Dying is a story of heroism, defiance and transition. The novel focuses on Grant Wiggins, a teacher, trying to turn a clueless prisoner into an empowered individual. Grant’s whole purpose in the story was to turn Jefferson into a man so he can die proud, little did Grant know, that he would mature as well. The main motif of maturity or coming of age was accurately depicted in the novel through imagery, symbolism, theme and even characterization. Using words and descriptions, authors of a story are able to illustrate scenes, settings and even conversations. Towards the end of the story, although Jefferson has come a long way, he still does not fully understand who he is. So Grant states,“ The white people are out there are saying that you don’t have it- that you’re a hog, not a man.…show more content…
You have the potentials”(Gaines 191). In this excerpt from Grant’s speech to Jefferson, the author uses simple language to paint a simple scene. The reader can easily imagine the distress in Grant’s face and exhaustion he feels from his words while he is trying to explain to Jefferson that he has the power to grow and make a difference. Symbols can also be used to demonstrate the theme, such as the hog in A Lesson Before Dying. After being called a hog by his defense attorney, Jefferson’s godmother, Miss. Emma, makes sure that Jefferson goes to that electric chair as man and not a hog and asks for the help of Grant to follow through on this. The hog symbolized insignificance, what Jefferson considered himself useless and a nobody. But as the plot advanced, he journeyed into adulthood. Furthermore, the traits and qualities of characters can also serve to portray the theme. Grants insecurity about being able to change Jefferson has revealed quite a bit about the
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