A Lesson Before Dying: Chapter Analysis

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Reader Response for Chapters 24-31 In the final chapters of A Lesson Before Dying, Grant spends the last of his visits with Jefferson before his execution date. Grant has begun to ignore others’ ridicule and scolding of him and focuses solely on Jefferson. The two of them have finally forged a friendship with one another, and Jefferson has accepted his fate. He walks bravely to his electrocution, until Grant notes to himself that “it is finally over” (Gaines 252). The novel began, followed, and ended with the story of Jefferson’s, Grant’s, and over characters’ change, but as it ends, the reader can now understand the full meaning behind the title of the book. Grant’s relationship with Jefferson impacts them both. At first, Grant saw little to nothing in Jefferson, an …show more content…
Other than the lesson that Grant teaches Jefferson, and other than the lesson that Jefferson teaches Grant, it refers to the lesson that Jefferson’s death teaches the town. The story revolves around the hardships of the black community and the characters inside, with most of the white community being the outside force. Characters like Guidry and Pichot are unsympathetic towards Jefferson’s plight. Jefferson is of no worth or consequence to them, just a black man going to hang without a chip on their shoulders—a hog. Throughout chapter thirty, townspeople, white and black, wait and listen for Jefferson’s execution. Most of the black people respond with disgust or horror, while white characters like the staff of the courthouse or Juanita deJean are fascinated and amused. However, as Jefferson comes to the chair, he denies them the joy of seeing him afraid. He sits down, silently, and only asks Paul, the deputy, to tell his godmother that he walked. It is not stated outright, but it can be assumed that Jefferson’s brave walk to the chair at least gave the white community reason to think about him and the worth of the black