Jail In A Lesson Before Dying

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Generally speaking, there are not many places that contrast as a jail and a church do. In the book, A Lesson Before Dying, the church and the jail could not contrast more. That is mainly because Grant, the main character and narrator, spends most of his time going back and forth between the two. It is almost as if he lives in two different worlds. Anyhow, the contrast between the church and the jail helps to show the way Grant, as well as his relationship with Jefferson, evolves throughout the story. The church is where Grant teaches. The church is where children ranging from first to sixth grade come and learn from Grant. It is where these children gain knowledge, and where Grant distributes it. It is the more meaningful part of these children’s…show more content…
At the school, Grant is very verbally abusive to the children and ridicules them every chance he gets. Meanwhile, Jefferson just spends every day sitting quietly in his cell, with no emotion or ambition to do anything else. The contrast of the jail and the church contributes to the work by demonstrating the different lifestyles of the two men once Jefferson is thrown in jail. Grant is at first extremely opposed to trying to teach and reach out to Jefferson. He does not want anything to do with it. Jefferson has the same attitude in the beginning of the book; he is mute at first. He does not talk, and does not show any sign of effort; he is very pitiful. In fact, he calls himself a “hog” and, “You brought some corn? Cause that’s what hogs eat” (Gaines, 82). Grant just wants to stick to the way he has been living and stick to teaching in the church. Jefferson has nothing to live for and is in the jail, while Grant has an exceptional life that includes the church. But as the story goes on, Grant finds a way to reach Jefferson with things such as the radio, and pencil and pad. He displays to Jefferson the true meaning of life as well as he can before it is Jefferson’s time. The contrast of the church and jail ultimately help the two men understand each other
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