A Lesson before Dying
In A lesson before dying, Gaines explores the struggles for equality due to racism through Grant and Jefferson’s troubles.
In the time period in which the novel is taking place the racism in the country was at a high point in our history. The African Americans were freed from slavery yet they were still a victim of severe suffering through discrimination not only from whites but the mullet people as well. As grant becomes more settled into the community he begins to reflect about his life and he recalls how “There was always news coming back to the quarter about someone who had been killed or sent to prison for killing someone else: Snowball, stabbed to death at a nightclub in Port Allen; Claude, killed by a woman in New Orleans… And there were others who did not go anywhere but simply died slower.”62 In this passage Grant recalls how he used to work in the farms and no matter where they have ended up; they still have not been able to find equality for themselves because of the white discrimination which is against them. The African American race has been crippled by the power in which the whites have over them. They do not have motivation to rise up to win their life because they have never truly lived. This is seen in the novel when Matthew states “What do I know about life? I stayed here. You have to go away to know about life. There’s no life here. There’s nothing but ignorance here. You want to know about life? Well, it’s too late. Forget it. Just go on and be the nigger you were born to be, but forget about life.” 65 Here Antoine is frustrated with his life but also the motivation of all the African Americans because they seem to have given up on themselves. They seem to have no way of finding equality and they begin to fight amongst each other. The mulattos and the full blooded Africans begin to have a tinged of racism against each other. They seem to have the mindset that if they can never...
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