Lesson Before Dying Essay

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A Lesson before Dying Essay
“No race can prosper till it learns that there is as much dignity in tilling a field as in writing a poem.” – Booker T. Washington. What is the effect of a drastic difference in levels of formal education, social class and race? The aftermath can consist of a war between two nations, or racism to an extent where humanity is no longer taken into consideration. Inevitably there is one superior victor, leaving the remains of the opposing party nothing more than mere followers whom lack self-respect. In Ernest J. Gaines’ novel “A Lesson Before Dying“, the scarcity of human dignity is predominant throughout. It is important to realize the results due to superiority, racism and an absence in self-respect under those circumstances of no human dignity. Generally speaking, racialism occurs when there is any prejudice or discrimination towards someone of a different race. Just as it has occurred in the past, slavery of coloured people had started and lasted for over 300 years because nobody had taken a stand. With this in mind, In “A Lesson Before Dying”, Grant has similar experiences. For instance, Grant is let in through the back door of Henry Pichot’s house because he is considered “lower class” (pg42). He has not done anything about it and simply followed the “normal routine” as if everything was okay. The segregation through skin colour is also an evident sign of racism in “A Lesson Before Dying”. Schools, movie theatres, washrooms and other venues were separated; defined in one’s race-The white’s amenities being classier and superior that those for the blacks. Pages 54-56 of “A Lesson Before Dying”, states the arrival of Dr. Joseph to Grant’s classroom as he checks up on the students. Dr. Joseph voices racist language that suggests he thinks of the students as mere objects, not people. “Higgins, I must compliment you. You have an excellent crop of students, an excellent crop, Higgins. You ought to be proud.” Likewise, Dr. Joseph...
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