Grant In A Lesson Before Dying

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The reason why Grant, the main character in one of Mr. Ernest J. Gaines’s best work A Lesson Before Dying, does not attend Jefferson’s execution is because he is afraid of seeing his lack in acting like a man with dignity and more importantly, seeing what all black men around them have become reflecting in Jefferson. In the short 250-paged novel, we come across a few common issues that still linger in today’s society; racism and diffidence, both in which the two main characters -Grant and Jefferson- suffer from.

Self-doubt and uncertainty in oneself was frequently detectable, even in the 1930’s; how the white people portrayed the black and how little they made them feel was a big cause of it. Sadly enough, Jefferson shows that he was never
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He believed that they would all turn out the same and he did not want that for himself or Jefferson, but he knew deep down that they were just as stuck as every other person of colour. Grant did not want Jefferson to be like him and the rest of them, he wanted Jefferson to prove them wrong; prove to them that he was so much more of what they made of him by walking to that chair with his chin held high and his shoulders as straight as ever. However, Grant did not attend Jefferson’s execution. Maybe it was because he didn’t want to be seen as a failure if ever Jefferson decided to be what was said of him during his execution. Maybe he was too afraid of breaking down as Jefferson walked toward the chair alone. Maybe he thought he was too weak to be a witness of Jefferson’s death and possible strength that he believed he could never possess. Maybe he didn’t want that to be his last memory of Jefferson; he wanted to remember the Jefferson who gave him life in ways no one ever could, he wanted to remember Jefferson as the first person who made him believe in himself and what he could accomplish. Grant did not want to see Jefferson as another black person walking down to that chair with nothing left in them, he didn't want to see himself in Jefferson, he wanted him to be
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