No matter who a person is or what others think of him or her, that person will always have the opportunity to change for the better; Nobody has the power to tell a person what he or she can or cannot do. In the novel, A Lesson Before Dying, by Ernest J. Gaines, the protagonist, Jefferson discovers that he could change as a whole person and finally become a man, even under difficult circumstances. He is constantly discriminated and does not feel welcomed to the society. Throughout the majority of the novel, Jefferson believes he is his own stereotype and takes it to heart when he is being called a hog. Although he knows he will be exiled, Jefferson and his family hopes for a change in his heart. Gaines’ treatment of Jefferson’s evolving character
This is shown throughout the novel by showing that in the beginning of the novel, Grant wants nothing to do with Jefferson and his situation. As the book continues, he realizes that Jefferson is a human too and that he needs to realize how good he has it compared to some people. In the beginning of A Lesson Before Dying, Grant Wiggins struggles with accepting his responsibilities. This is shown in multiple examples. The two examples used in this paper were when Grant avoids all of his responsibilities and does not want anything to do with Jefferson. The other example is when Grant goes to Bayonne and continues to ask Vivian over and over again if she wants to leave. As the story continues, Grant begins to accept his responsibilities a little bit, but not completely yet. The two examples used to support this argument were when Grant visits Jefferson in the jail and tells Jefferson that he is going to lie to Miss Emma by telling her that he ate the food even though he didn’t. The other example is when Grant asks Paul how Jefferson is doing. This shows that he cares but not completely. As the story approaches its ending, Grant begins to fully accept and take on his responsibilities. The two examples used to support this argument are when Grant visits Jefferson toward the end when he is nearing his death. The other example to support this argument is when Paul comes to tell him that everything went
Self-worth is a value many people struggle with, rarely appreciate, and often, forget to fully understand. Its importance is undeniable, though, and the ability to express it is crucial to living successfully in many degrading societies. The intense strains that come with valuing one’s self are continually displayed in the novel, A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines. In the novel, two of the main characters, Grant and Jefferson, have constant, internal battles of how to fully appreciate themselves. They both have different, unique struggles, and only by being placed in extremely emotional and complex situations are they able to come to terms with who they really are. Through thoughtful reflection and passionate determination, the connection of these two characters creates a heightened sense of worth that makes them a valuable and contributing part of society.
In Ernest Gaines’ novel, A Lesson Before Dying, the author uses a third person point of view to assess the issue of racial injustice in the South during the 1940’s. Grant understands that justice is evaluated unfairly and knows that it does not favor the poor and uneducated black man. Due to Grant’s ability to be able to understand others, he successfully learns how to bring justice, while assisting Jefferson. This presents the audience the significance of the novel as a whole, embracing responsibility and facing injustice.
A Lesson Before Dying is a historical novel written by Ernest J. Gaines. The novel is set in the late 1940s on a plantation in Louisiana. A young, black man known as Jefferson is wrongly convicted for murdering two white men. The main character is Grant Wiggins, a teacher at a church school. Grant is being forced by Jefferson’s Godmother, Miss Emma, to convince Jefferson that he is a man. In A Lesson Before Dying, Ernest Gaines uses the concept of manhood to describe racial injustice. In this essay, I will describe how Grant Wiggins and Ernest Gaines define manhood.
The young prophet, Imam Hussein once said, “death with dignity is better than love with humiliation.” In Ernest Gaines novel A Lesson Before Dying, presents the importance of dignity through the journey of a young black man and his wrongful conviction. The lesson that dignity comes from loving and being loved through the actions and thoughts of Grant Wiggins, Reverend Ambrose, and Jefferson is taught. Who these characters love, who they care for, and how and individuals that love them, define the dignity they feel and experience in their lives.
Being just in the American criminal justice system is a topic that is highly debated. Some believe the system is just, while others believe it is a flawed. The truth however, is that humans are not always right. God is the only who can practice justice in complete perfection, because humans are not perfect. Although many people in the American criminal justice system have good intentions, sadly that does not necessarily mean they are always just. The American criminal justice system tries to be truly just and has been before, but humans are not perfect and cannot always be truly just.
“What justice would there be take this life? Justice, gentleman? Why, I would just as soon put a hog in the electrical chair as it fits?” Jefferson’s attorney said.(8). A Lesson Before Dying is a novel by Ernest J. Gaines. This novel talks about how the jury wrongfully accused Jefferson of murdering Old Grope and the Bear Brother and later the jury assigns Jefferson a death penalty with the electric chair. Jefferson’s attorney has called Jefferson a hog and those words has haunted Jefferson in his mind. Miss Emma, Jefferson’s godmother, asks an educated teacher named Grant to help Jefferson to die like a man instead of a hog. Throughout this novel, Grant deals with a lot of responsibilities that’s being thrown at him such as helping Jefferson. A Lesson Before Dying has a universal theme of obligation because it is seen throughout the novel as it relates to Grant being forced to do things for the sake of others.
Imagine being in a situation where there are a limited number of options and your life can only go in one direction. Has this ever happened to you? Either way, this is the predicament that the character of Jefferson faces in A Lesson Before Dying, who is sentenced to death for crimes that he did not commit. Although Jefferson has only thirty days left to live, he learns three valuable lessons that he carries with him into his final hours. This includes learning to open up to the people closest to him, showing kindness and love to those who have shown kindness to him, and finding self-worth in the age of Jim-Crow.
Jail is a place no one ever wants to go. People go to jail for many reasons: robbery, murder, hate crimes, and there are people who are sitting in jail for a crime they did not commit. People have their different views on the justice system and how it works. People’s religious beliefs and personal beliefs in stereotypes play a major part in their convictions. In A Lesson before Dying Earnest Gaines reveals how different values and racism in a small community are seen through the characters Jefferson, Grant, and Tante Lou and their experiences and reactions.
In “A Lesson Before Dying”, there is a tension between how Grant sees himself and how others in his community see him. Grant has gone to a University and is now a teacher in the quarter where he grew up. To his community Grant is the most educated person in the quarter and is constantly being admired by them. Most of the admiration comes from Miss Emma in hopes that Grant can transform Jefferson into a man before he is executed. Miss Emma states, “I want the teacher visit my boy. I want the teacher make him know he’s not a hog, he’s a man” (pg. 20-21) Miss Emma constantly refers to Grant saying “you are the teacher” (pg. 13) putting him in a higher position than everyone else. The community hopes that Grant is the person that can make a change for them, considering that he is the only educated black man. Everyone believed Grant was a great teacher, he however, does not believe he is doing anything to help his community. He is full of doubt and disappointment. Grant thought to himself, “What am I doing? Am I reaching them at all? They are acting exactly as the old men did earlier. They are fifty years younger, maybe more, but doing the same things those old men did who never attended school a day in their lives. Is it just a vicious circle? Am I doing anything?” (pg. 62). Grant does not believe in himself, nor does he think he is a successful teacher. Later on, Paul, a white deputy, recognizes Grant’s ability to positively influence the people around him. Paul states,
A Lesson Before Dying highlights the events surrounding the conviction and eradication of an innocent man. Prearranged in deep south during the 1940s, the book ostentatiousness many of the common racial injustices of the era. Despite the fact the book chronicles the events ultimately leading to Jefferson’s eradication, it is really more about the way Jefferson’s conviction transformed and modified others. The book culminates with the electrocution of Jefferson, which was apperceived throughout the town.
The characterization of Grant Wiggins helps portray his true character and how he changes throughout the story.Throughout the story Grant is portrayed as selfish and doesn’t seem to care for anyone but
Grant has gone to a University and is now a teacher in the quarter where he grew up. To his community, Grant is the most educated person in the quarter and is constantly being admired by them. Most of the admiration comes from Miss Emma in hopes that Grant can transform Jefferson into a man before he is executed. Miss Emma states, “I want the teacher visit my boy. I want the teacher make him know he’s not a hog, he’s a man” (pg. 20-21). Miss Emma constantly refers to Grant saying “you are the teacher” (pg. 13) putting him in a higher position than everyone else. Considering that he is the only educated black man in the quarter, the community hopes that Grant is the person that can make a change for them. Everyone believed Grant was a great teacher, he however, does not believe he is doing anything to help his community. He is full of doubt and disappointment. Grant thought to himself, “What am I doing? Am I reaching them at all? They are acting exactly as the old men did earlier. They are fifty years younger, maybe more, but doing the same things those old men did who never attended school a day in their lives. Is it just a vicious circle? Am I doing anything?” (pg. 62). Grant does not believe in himself, nor does he think he is a successful teacher. Later on, Paul, a white deputy, recognizes Grant’s ability to positively influence the people around
The historical fiction novel A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines, features a falsely accused black man on death row in a small Cajun community during the late 1440s. Grant Wiggins, a college educated teacher of the black community, visits Jefferson in prison, an African American convicted of murder. During his trial, he was given a death sentence while referred as a hog. With the love of his godmother, Miss Emma, who sends Grant to teach him in proving himself a man, Jefferson receives the opportunity of representing his community as he dies. Tante Lou, a close friend of Miss Emma and Grant’s aunt, provides the assurance that Grant would prove Jefferson worthy a human. Grant’s girlfriend, Vivian, provides the support he needs to keep him from eluding his problems. Women in this novel play an influential part as a bridge to success in men’s lives, as Tante Lou and Vivian secure Grant 's role in the community, and as Miss Emma encourages Jefferson to die as a man.