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A Lesson Before Dying Jefferson Essays

Hero in a Lesson Before Dying Essay

761 WordsFeb 8th, 20134 Pages

English 162


Grant, Hero of A Lesson Before Dying

How we act or react in difficult situations defines our persona. Sometimes these situations provide opportunities to be a hero. After reading Grant Wiggins’s own definition of a hero, it is apparent that Grant becomes a hero. Grant states, “A hero is someone who does something for other people. He does something that other men don’t and cant to. He is different from other men. He is above other men. No matter who those other men are, the hero, no matter who he is, is above them.” Grant becomes a hero by earning an education to become a teacher, undergoing psychological changes, and counseling Jefferson to die with dignity.

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Throughout the novel, Grant undergoes psychological changes that allow him to become a hero. Grant’s life is filled with rage for the way he is treated by whites. Eventually this rage becomes self-loathing and cynicism, because he feels he is taking the unjust treatment from whites lying down. This downward spiral causes him to alienate himself from people he loves and feel that the community is helpless. During a conversation with Vivian, Grant says, he cannot face Jefferson because he cannot face himself and his own life. Vivian helps Grant realize that he has left the South in the past, has returned, and still has not left. This helps him realize that he is there for a reason. Another change happens when he accepts the task of helping Jefferson. At first Grant is angry and believes that Miss Emma wants him to perform a difficult and maybe impossible task of convincing Jefferson to die with defiance and character. After accepting this task and dealings with Jefferson, Grant realizes what a hero is and he can have an impact on the community. Finally when Grant breaks down in front of his students he realizes that he is ready to connect with the children that he has been so strict with. Many heroes have to overcome an inner struggle to realize their potential for greatness. Eventually through his interactions with his family, Vivian, Jefferson, and students he realizes to view everyone positively which gives him the strength and courage to make an

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A lesson before dying essay

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Laura Correa “You think you the only one ever felt this way? You think I never felt this way? You think she never felt this way? Every last one of them back there one time in they life wanted to give up. She want to give up now. You know that? ” – Reverend Ambrose, 216. Life tests you all the time and it’s up to you to find the answers and learn from your choices. The most important lesson from the book “A Lesson Before Dying” is to never give up, fight for yourself, your people and against injustices. In the novel, this lesson is shown through the characters of Jefferson, Grant Wiggins and Miss Emma.

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Jefferson is a sincere, and sensitive young black man who is put into jail under false charges. His own lawyer calls him a “hog” because he is coloured. He begins to feel powerless in the white-dominated society. He is a symbol of white oppression of black people in that time. First of all, he allows his lawyer’s words to define him as a person, but after Grant Wiggins explain to him that he is a man not a “hog”, he begins to stand up for himself as a black man with dignity. This change is notable after multiple visits from Grant to Jefferson’s cell. Jefferson starts to look at himself in a new light and o longer refers to himself as a hog. When Jefferson is informed about the day of his execution, his reaction was calm, he does not let the sentence ruin him. Instead, he wants to try a change white population of his community and instead chooses to live a bit by eating a gallon of ice cream. Jefferson learns that this is not just about him, that it is about his ethnicity. Overall, Jefferson is an example of someone trying to fight for themselves and against the injustices of society. Grant Wiggins is the only educated black man in that community; thus the community expected a lot from him making the immense pressure he was under was ery evident. Grant not only learns but also discovers a lot by the end of the book. At the beginning, he thought that going to visit Jefferson in jail was a waste of his time. He hated others for making him keep up with the regular visits that got him nowhere. Even though Jefferson refused to let Grant in for a while, he opened up and showed everyone that he could be a man, not a hog like some of the white people believed him to be. By spending time with Jefferson, Grant discovered a different perspective on religion and a feeling that he did not have before. He helped his community understand that Jefferson as a man and their racism toward him was not warranted. Finally when everything was over, he began to realize that college had not taught him everything. He learns to accept responsibility for his own life, for his relationships with other people, and for his role as an educator in his community. He opens his eyes and learns to love something other than himself and to strive for change. For these reasons, Grant demonstrates in the novel that he is an example of agent of change in his community, he fights against Jefferson’s thoughts and turned him into the man that he saw himself as. Jefferson oes still die, but instead of dying as a “hog” he dies as a man with dignity. Laura Correa Lastly, Miss Emma, or “Nanaan” as Jefferson calls her, is Jefferson’s godmother. An old black woman who loves her family and cares about her community. After Jefferson’s lawyer calls him a hog in her presence, Miss Emma becomes obsessed with proving that she did not raise a “hog”, she raised a gentleman. She works tirelessly to make sure that everyone recognizes that Jefferson is a man when he goes to the chair. For example, she convinces Pichot to speak to his brother-in-law, Sheriff Guidry, to llow Grant to visit Jefferson. She is also the one who persuades Grant to visit Jefferson in order to get back Jefferson’s dignity; she is the real “hero” who enables her grandson to die with dignity. In the novel Miss Emma stands up for her rights and refuses to be intimidated or to accept injustice; she does not give up. In conclusion, this book touch hearts and makes people think about the injustice against dark coloured people. The characters demonstrate frustration, anger and powerlessness in those times when black people were extremely discriminated without ny logical reason. The novel is brutally forthright and is made more depressing by the fact that this is something people experience even today. I learned that even if there are tasks given to you that you might not want to do because you cannot see the reason why or the benefit that it has for you, it can be beneficial to other people like Jefferson and Miss Emma, and the community at large. Change can start by serving your community. Even though something is hard, I’ll do it for my friends and family, like Grant said: “A hero is someone who does something for someone else”.

Author: Brandon Johnson

in A Lesson Before Dying

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