Grant Wiggins's Struggle In A Lesson Before Dying

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Since the beginning of time there’s always been some form of struggle to break away from the grasp of someone powerful and someone who strives for power between those of mankind. This is evident all throughout history in society, even during the 1940s when this novel, A Lesson Before Dying takes place. Grant Wiggins and Sheriff Sam Guidry are prime examples of two characters that struggle to separate themselves from power and strive for power and are determined to keep themselves in power respectively. Grant is the main character of the novel with quite the cynical and depressing outlook on the South, which is the place he was born and raised. He gained this attitude of cynicism from his mentor Matthew Antoine, who felt very intense feelings…show more content…
Guidry hates being refuted, due to the amount of power he holds, which you can see when he says this statement “Maybe you’re just a little too smart for your own good,” (49) to Grant after he uses his intellect to swiftly dodge a question. Guidry clearly isn’t fond of Grant’s actions because it shows that he is a lot smarter than the average African American, which could be threatening to Guidry as a racist white man with an abundance of power. Guidry also tells Grant that at the first sign of aggravation, or if he manages to cause a riot with his words, that everything is to be called off, which is just Guidry’s way of showing off his power through his racist, yet genuine feelings. In the end this novel showcases situations of power struggle several times. Whether it be through Henri Picot who willfully upholds the status quo due to his position at the top of said hierarchy, or whether it be through Matthew Antoine who was stuck at the bottom all his life and let the adverse effects of such a status get to him. It just goes to show that during the period of 1940s, hierarchical and status power struggles were more prevalent than ever, and affected society as a
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