Grant Wiggins and Jefferson are protagonists. Their individual survivals depend on their mutual support. It’s Jefferson's story, but it is narrated by Grant. Miss Emma and her friend, Tante Lou, are inseparable. Sometimes they seem too close that it is hard to tell which one is speaking.
This is because he believes that Jefferson got himself into that situation. Having been pushed to help bring justice for Jefferson, Grant says, “ And I teach the white folks around here, tell me to teach reading, writing, and ‘rithmetic. They never told me how to keep a black boy out of a liquor store” ( Gaines 13). In Grant’s view, this instance is none of his business. Therefore, he doesn’t believe that he should help Jefferson.
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. Jefferson is a young, black man who is put on death row, because he was at the wrong place at the wrong time. He did not kill any men, yet the white jury is convinced he is guilty of all charges. During his trial, his lawyer states, “What justice would there be to take this life? Why, I would just as soon put a hog in the electric chair as this” (Gaines 8).
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.
Banneker know his place in terms that he is black, so he is not treated as equal. Banneker brings up the fact that Jefferson knows how he feels, as Jefferson has gone through having his freedom stripped from him. Banneker tells Jefferson to recall the time when “the arms and tyranny” of the king were applied with a stern effort to reduce him to a “State of Servitude.”
Jefferson was enslaved by Great Britain, now he lacks empathy for those without their rights. Banneker with an accusatory tone declares, “You should be found guilty of that most criminal act which you professedly detested in others.” Jefferson could not be relied upon considering he went against his word. Benjamin Banneker is questioning Jefferson’s credibility as one of the writers of the Declaration of Independence. He created these laws for the land but have yet to enforce any of them for those who are considered
Grant is hopeful to change Jefferson by giving him a notebook and having him write down all his feelings. Grant even dreamed that, “There was a lot of erasing, then he wrote: If I ain’t nothing but a hog, how come they just don’t knock me in the head like a hog? Starb me like a hog? More erasing, then: Man walk on two foots; hogs on four hoofs,” (Gaines 220). Eventually, Jefferson did manage to write down all of his thoughts and get his anger out of him.
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.
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
When Grant is first instructed to visit Jefferson, he is reluctant and resentful. Regardless, Grant does go and visit Jefferson, and over time the two men form a close gunk. Both Grant and Jefferson begin learning from each other, and Grant’s visits become more frequent with time. Jefferson helps Grant realize how good he has it in life, and that he should appreciate where he is and care about how he treats others. Grant vouchsafe Jefferson a radio to help him stay connected to the outside world.
140 An obvious allusion shown is how the date in which Jefferson was to be executed is tied to an important date on the Christian calendar, Christmas. 13. “He never could have done that. I saw the transformation. I’m a witness to that.”
In the novel A Lesson Before Dying, written by Ernest J. Gaines in 1993, Grant Higgins struggles with the idea of criminal justice in the south during the 1940s. During this time in Bayonne, LA African Americans did not receive the same justice as whites. In this quotation one can see the discrimination, “Twelve white men say a black man must die, and another white man sets the date and time without consulting one black person. Justice?” (Gaines 157).
In my opinion, racial injustice is still a problem in the United States criminal justice system. While the circumstances of the Trayvon Martin case did not affect me personally, it had a large impact on Miami-Dade County. I am friends with a bunch of students who attended the same public high school as Trayvon. However, while I live five minutes from that institution, the private school I attended was thirty minutes away, in Broward County. Thus, I could hardly sympathize with my friends back at home. But regardless, everyone in the democratic South Florida area, including myself, were enraged by the racial influence of the not-guilty verdict. Basically, I believe that while murder can sometimes be accidental, murder is murder. No matter who
He wants Jefferson to stand up and walk to that electric chair with his head held high. Not only is it relevant to Jefferson’s situation but it relates to what has been happening recently with the black shootings. There is now a black versus white war stirring up again. Most of the white cops are killing blacks because they consider them to be minor in comparison. Not all people with ivory skin think that way