Similarities and Differences Between Jefferson and Jesus Based on the Book a Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines

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  • Topic: Jesus, Pontius Pilate, Crucifixion of Jesus
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  • Published : April 5, 2011
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Similarities and Differences Between Jefferson and Jesus
Based on the book A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines

In the book A Lesson Before Dying, there are multiple hints, clues and symbolism between Jefferson and Jesus. The author, Ernest Gaines, draws a line between Jefferson and Jesus, but yet he creates his character to be similar to Jesus in multiple ways. Some ways that Jefferson and Jesus are alike is that they both die around Easter, but not by their choice. Both Jefferson and Jesus were unjustly convicted and were not killed out of their own will. The deaths of these two men were both symbolic in many ways and in some ways seem to be seen as a defeat to society and humanity.

“It happens second Friday after Easter.” (Gaines, 156) These were the first words spoken in the book to us about the predicted date of Jefferson’s death. As well, at the time of Easter, we remember and celebrate the crucifixion and death of Christ. “Early in the morning, all the chief priests and the elders of the people made their plans how to have Jesus executed.” (Matthew 27:1). “death by electrocution. The governor would set the date.” (Gaines, 9). In both the book and the bible, the choice of how these two men would die was determined by more than one person. In A Lesson Before Dying the gentlemen of the Jury decided what would happen to Jefferson. Likewise, in the Bible, the chief priests and elders of the people made the decision about how Jesus would be executed. I think that the fact that this date was chosen in the book connects to the death of Jesus, since he died around Easter. Even in the book, the Sherriff had wanted this time to be set for the death of Jefferson, yet there was conflict with lent and Easter because of the beliefs of the people. “It had to be before or after Easter. It couldn’t happen during lent.” (Gaines, 156).

Both these men’s convictions were unjust. In Jesus’ case, the bible says, “He was oppressed and afflicted,...
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