Formal Essay: A Lesson before Dying
Exactly what lessons are learnt, and by whom, before Jefferson is executed?
There are, in fact, numerous lessons learnt throughout the novel A Lesson Before Dying and they are learnt by a multitude of different characters. A significant number of characters throughout the book gradually evolve whilst story unfolds with this gradient of change emphasised in Jefferson, Grant Wiggins and the deputy, Paul. The lessons substantiate themselves in the words and actions of all the characters throughout the novel; however, it is Grant who learns perhaps the most. Through his interactions with Jefferson and his direct community, Grant, even unintentionally, develops his understanding of life beyond the grasp of formal education and the necessity to aid those in need. In a parallel sense, Jefferson has certain expectations and obligations thrust upon him which forces him to transcend beyond what he believed was possible, to learn the meaning and value of dignity. These two characters play imperative roles in the novel and their stories are entwined with Paul, the deputy, a character of much less relative importance, yet still a shining example of the many lessons that are learnt. The novel is teeming with lessons of remarkable magnitude with each character being changed from understanding the meaning of these experiences.
Grant Wiggins, one of the main figures in A Lesson Before Dying, is an obvious example of a character that learns puissant lessons which alters the way he thinks and interacts with his society. In the beginning of the novel, Grant is portrayed as one of the very few educated men in the black community. His arrogance and belief that he is superior than others due to his education, this is apparent when he is disrespectful to his aunt and the Reverend, draws parallels between him and the racist Professor Antoine. Though Grant is not racist, he has no respect for people like Reverend Ambrose and is hesitant to help...
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