Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive (Dalai Lama.) Grant has a battle between love and hate. Having to go back to something that he isn’t, being treated somewhat like a slave, and making the ones around him happy. He must overcome his ego and fight for something he believes in. This is a difficult task because he isn’t completely sure what he believes, or who he is yet. His mission, to affirm that Jefferson is not a hog, but a man, and this milieu, manhood, is not only subversive but also fought over throughout the book A Lesson Before Dying.
The definition of manhood, according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is the state or time of being an adult male human, and showing the composite of qualities such as courage, determination, vigor, strength, and discipline. Grant must prove to Jefferson that he isn’t a hog but a man. This is hard at first because of how Jefferson acts, “He knelt down on the floor and put his head inside the bag and started eating, without using his hands. He even sounded like a hog.” (Gains p.83) Now not only does this seem like a case of disillusionment, but a cry for help. Grant recognizes Jefferson’s pain and instead of just quitting of which he tries to do at first, he finds compassion and love for his Nannan, Miss Emma, and Vivian, that he begins to look for the meaning of humanity not only in Jefferson, but in himself. The definition of humanity, according to Merriam-Webster Dictionary, is the condition of quality of being human, and the having the quality of being humane, or benevolence. Which means the ability to love and to know the difference between right and wrong, however for Grant this means having the strength to live with the actions of others, and being treated as a less than of a person at times.
This seems like an almost meaningless mission because Jefferson acts like he doesn’t even care, but Grant is determine to get through to him and make him see he... [continues]
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