Heroes In A Lesson Before Dying

653 Words3 Pages
When one hears the word hero he or she would most likely think of the fictional, comic book superheroes. However, heroes are not limited to just comic books and actually do exist in real life. They may not have laser-vision or shape-shifting abilities; but instead they possess valuable assets that label them as both inspirational and influential. Yet, overall, there is no clear-cut definition of a hero and, the definition varies for each individual. In actuality, heroes come in countless forms and generally speaking, have a positive impact in either one or numerous lives, and, A Lesson Before Dying, by Ernest J. Gaines, demonstrates how everyone has the opportunity to be a hero. With long lasting impacts on lives, real life heroes make up a…show more content…
A Lesson Before Dying, by Ernest J. Gaines, demonstrates this concept through the character, Jefferson. After being unjustly convicted of a murder, Jefferson is sentenced to death. Ultimately, Jefferson’s death symbolizes a positive change in the upcoming future for the black communities of Louisiana. However, even though Jefferson died a hero, initially, he was far from being one. Following the conviction, Jefferson, grief-stricken, loses his sense of self-worth in its entirety. He considers himself, “just a old hog they fattening up to kill for Christmas” (p. 83). Eventually, the professor, Grant Wiggins, assists Jefferson in regaining his dignity. Gradually, Jefferson begins accepting his life’s unfair outcome.. “The last thing they ever want is to see a black man stand, and think, and show that common humanity that is in us all. It would destroy their myth." (p.) As realization sinks in, Jefferson becomes aware of his position and his ability to challenge prejudiced white beliefs. In Jefferson’s diary to Grant, Jefferson writes, “good by mr wigin tell them im strong tell them im a man” (p. 234). In, A Lesson Before Dying, Jefferson experiences a transformation that entitles him a hero on behalf of the black
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