Themes In A Lesson Before Dying

Good Essays
Life Connections

Recent Deaths in Police Brutality As of late more and more attention has been directed towards some unsavory police actions towards the black community. This is in direct relation to A Lesson before Dying. In A Lesson before Dying Jefferson, an uneducated black male is prosecuted for a crime he did not commit and thrown into jail for it. He receives a death sentence and loses all self-worth. In relation to current police brutality incidents some officers have been unjustly killing black citizens and not being sent to jail but instead on paid leave. Many never get convicted of their crimes, even with video evidence, but that only fuels protestors. This has led to a heavy divide between citizens and their police, similar to
…show more content…
It represents everything from self-worth to racism to freedom. Jefferson’s self-worth immediately improves when he receives the gift of the radio. He actually starts talking to Grant and he becomes much more open in his thoughts and desires. The radio helped reflect some of the racism shown in the book as when Grant was buying the radio he couldn’t get service or even a new radio without patience and persistence. The radio connected Jefferson to the outside world; it gave him his own possession and ability to hear the same things as a free man.
A Lesson before Dying Characters

Reverend Ambrose Reverend Ambrose is the preacher in A Lesson before Dying who Miss Emma asks to help with Jefferson. They ae both strongly religious so teaching Jefferson about God was very important to them. Grant and Ambrose did not get along or agree on many things involving Jefferson or Grants personal beliefs. Ambrose sought to educate both Grant and Jefferson but neither took to his ideals. Reverend Ambrose could also represent Grant’s conscience and moral standing. Grant knows he isn’t a hero and Reverend Ambrose sees that as well. Ambrose and his ideals show the heroicness that rant craves but knows he can’t achieve because he doesn’t truly

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Good Essays

    “You think you the only one ever felt this way? You think I never felt this way? You think she never felt this way? Every last one of them back there one time in they life wanted to give up. She want to give up now. You know that?” – Reverend Ambrose, 216.…

    • 874 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    To begin with, in the novel “A Lesson Before Dying” Jefferson went through a lot of tough times during his life, his godmother always cared and loved him but he never realized that until Grant explained him. Jefferson’s Godmother asked Grant to turn Jefferson into a mature man and make him realize that there are many people out there who care and admire him. Grant made the right choice, before it was too late by listening to Jefferson’s Godmother. Due to that, because of Grant, Jefferson started to develop his…

    • 449 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    After visits to the jail, Grant becomes more interested in Jefferson. A possible connection was made when Jefferson spoke to Grant just by eye contact. “‘When are they going to do it?’... Then he looked at me. You know what I’m talking about, don’t you? his eyes said” (Gaines 73). It seems that Jefferson and Grant have a lot in common. Jefferson has no feeling of fear or care in his death. Grant wants no commitments and to be free in his bitterness. Eventually Grant comes to…

    • 555 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    The hog comment really got to Jefferson and his behavior changed a lot at the jail. Jefferson started to act like an actual hog to prove to grant that he was in fact a hog and what the attorney said was actually true. In the jail during their first visit Jefferson is distant, when asked if he wanted food by Miss Emma he declines and says that nothing matters anymore. Being there in jail under his circumstances he wanted to give up and he even considered eating unimportant. The next few trips were as uneventful as the first but on the fourth trip Miss Emma faked being sick so Grant would go alone from then on. When Grant got there he asked Jefferson if he wanted any of the food Grant brought he answered but not in a way anyone would expect. He asked Grant is he brought any corn, Grant said no and then asked why. Then Jefferson replied it was what hogs eat and got on all fours and ate from the bag of food as a hog would. Jefferson was convinced he meant no more than a hog to anyone. The racism in the book affected Jefferson’s head dramatically.…

    • 535 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    Throughout the years African Americans have struggled with obtaining justice and protecting their rights. However, the conflict seems to be even greater today. In the past decade multiple stories about the unjustified death of an African American has occurred. Police brutality is very popular amongst these cases. In each case the race card was also pulled, causing a lot of controversy between blacks and whites. Violent protests took place and resulted in chaos. Instead of solving the problem these acts created bigger ones.…

    • 566 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Better Essays

    Police Brutality Riots

    • 1536 Words
    • 7 Pages

    While police brutality is only recently taking the media by storm, it has been a large scale issue in the United States for over one hundred years leading to various riots, petitions, and presidential panels. In 1938 at the time of a great riot regarding police brutality the National Negro Congress stated “Our lives, our homes, our liberties each day are made less secure because of unrestrained and unpunished police brutality” in their petition against police brutality (Contemporary Police Brutality and Misconduct 1). African Americans have repeated this same sentiment in recent years regarding the large influx in police brutality. They feel as though the people that are charged to protect them are the ones that they are the least safe around.…

    • 1536 Words
    • 7 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    Cops are supposed to keep us safe, maintain order, and preserve the peace. However, this has not been the case for years. On the news, practically every day we hear of police brutality. We hear the cries of the family lamenting their loss, whether be it a man woman or child. Yet while this loss of life takes place, the murderer’s judgement is not always favorable. Will the brutal officer be punished? Was Darren Wilson charged for killing Michael Brown, an unarmed man? No! Justice was not served! Justice did not take place! A man responsible for pulling the trigger on an unarmed man, shooting his body six times, with bullets piercing his skin all over until it was devoid life. Brown may have been a criminal, his last moments should not have been ugly, so painful, so sad. We observe…

    • 750 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Best Essays

    Rodney King

    • 3023 Words
    • 13 Pages

    There are occasional publicized reports on police brutality, but it is far more common in our society than we are made to believe. Police brutality has been an issue for many years, and it remains a major concern for those of the minority community. These minorities have been subjected, for many decades, to violence by those in law enforcement in the United States. More often than not, racial profiling is a driving factor in police brutality. The issue of police brutality is not a new one; it has become more focused on in recent years due to certain cases that have proved to be of extreme violence and have been linked to racial profiling, such as the beating of Rodney King. The incident that had happened to Rodney King is a tragic one, but one that accurately reflects what the police force is capable of doing: wrongly deciding to commit a heinous crime based upon racial reasons influenced by our society’s media, an especially notable misinterpretation of the situation at hand for something relatively more sexual than intended, and based on the grounds that these authoritative figures are given liberty to do as they please by their domineering allies who, in hopes of preserving their power and social standing, are always only looking out for themselves by any means necessary.…

    • 3023 Words
    • 13 Pages
    Best Essays
  • Better Essays

    Police brutality

    • 1670 Words
    • 5 Pages

    The history of police brutality dates back to slavery, encompasses the civil rights movement, and defines the growing accounts of modern situation in which Blacks/African Americans have been treated wrong by law enforcement. Elijah Anderson (2000) claims, “the idea of the race man goes back to the segregated Black/African American community, in fact all the way back to slaver” (Elijah Anderson, 2). Modern leaders like Jesse Jackson could be viewed as a race man; meaning, his help is deeply imbedded when he feels the Black/African American community has been treated unjust. As a leaders of the Black/African American community, there is always a time to become actively involved in the community, especial pertaining to police brutality. Secondly, Emmett Till is another example of police brutality, but in another form. Note, Emmett Till was not beaten by the police; however, his brutal beaten came from a group of white men in Money, Mississippi. I define this travesty as police…

    • 1670 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Better Essays
  • Good Essays

    Throughout the past couple years, no topic has reached as much publicity as police brutality. In the United States, police officers are using excessive force towards minorities, especially African Americans. In other words, police officers are reacting to a situation with deadly or harmful force towards minorities. In the past couple years, police officers are constantly being put in the lime light. With these scary stories circulating the internet, people are scared to step out of their homes because they think that they could die or go to jail. These news stations just focus on the bad sides of police officers and not the good side because it will bring a ton of attention and money to them. But police officers have a very dangerous job and…

    • 1274 Words
    • 6 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    It has been established over the last few hundred thousand years that the way people communicate with one another differs from relation to relation. For example, a mother whom speaks to her child will interact differently from teenagers that converse with one another in school, or adults who talk at work. In the same way that individuals interact with each other differently, an author, too, makes use of varying writing styles to evoke thoughts and connections with the audience. In the novel A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines, a mixture of symbolism, tone, and point of view are effectively used to captivate readers, and keep the story alive.…

    • 792 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    In reading the book A Lesson Before Dying, I believe that many lives were changed by Jefferson. The days before his persecution impacted many lives in the community. From the children Grant taught, his family and friends to the jailor that worked at the courthouse. Jefferson was a poor African-American young man who was uneducated, had a low self-esteem, and he worked on the plantation since he was a child. One day he was at the wrong place at the wrong time and was found guilty for the actions of his friends that had attempted to rob a store. Both of his friends were killed in this robbery as well as the store owner. During the court hearing, his own lawyer compared him to being no better than a hog. This statement was the eye-opening statement…

    • 420 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    what a man is, and not how to teach someone to have faith when he himself doesn't.…

    • 613 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    After Jefferson died, the world had changed in many different ways. One of the ways was that people started treating people the same as everyone else. Also people’s political careers change and people found many different jobs that would help the world.…

    • 741 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    A Lesson Before Dying

    • 1088 Words
    • 5 Pages

    Grant is the protagonist of A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest Gaines shows how Grant went through a difficult life in a racist society in the South. Grant spent his life in Bayonne, a segregated racist community which made him intense. He does not believe anything would change and escaping is the only thing he could think of. Grant does not have any confidence in himself and the society. Throughout the novel, he learns how to accept the responsibility of his own life, his relationships with his family and friends, and having respect in the society.…

    • 1088 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Good Essays