Quick Summary of a Lesson Before Dying

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The protagonist in A Lesson Before Dying is Grant Wiggins an elementary school teacher in his mid-twenties. The important characters in A Lesson Before Dying Jefferson, Tante Lou, Miss Emma, and Vivian. Jefferson is the black man convicted of murder and sentenced to death. Grants helps him die with dignity. Tante Lou is Grant's aunt a very religious person. Tante Lou took in Grant when his Parents moved away and become a mother figure to him. Miss Emma is Jefferson's grandmother. Vivian is Grant's girlfriend she is a schoolteacher at a black catholic school. Of all of these characters the one most significant to Grant's life is Jefferson. Jefferson was convicted of killing three men even though he was innocent. Jefferson says he went to a bar with two guys and when he was there they got in a fight with the bartender. The bartender and the two men shot and killed each other and before he could leave someone saw him there and accused him of the murders. During the trial Jefferson defense attorney said, What justice would there be to take this life? Justice, gentlemen? Why, I would just as soon put a hog in the electric chair as this." Jefferson took this comment hard because it made him feel like an animal and he got depressed. Miss Emma and Tante Lou convince Grant to cheer up Jefferson so he can die like a man. Jefferson is significant to Grant because he is a major part in changing his whole outlook on life. A life spent in a segregated, racist community has made Grant bitter. He has no faith in himself, his society, or his church. He does not believe anything will ever change and thinks escape is the only option. He fears committing himself to a fight he cannot win and with the help of Jefferson he changes all this. After the talks with Jefferson he changes as Jefferson changes the image of himself. Grant learns to accept responsibility for his own life. He also learns to accept responsibility for his relationships with other people, and for his role as a...
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