Lesson Before Dying

Submitted By nscia
Words: 610
Pages: 3

One Man’s Life Ends and Another Man’s Life is Renewed In the novel, A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gains, two men’s lives are changed forever . Sentenced to death for crime he did not commit, Jefferson is now no longer known as a man but an animal. However, sent to help him by close family, Grant Wiggin , local plantation teacher, is persuaded into visiting the prison to pass on his knowledge and dignity to Jefferson, showing him that he was born a man and should die like one. Slowly, a bond is formed, a friendship grows and lessons are learned. The moment when Grant and Jefferson are in the dayroom, outside the cell with Reverend Ambrose and Jefferson’s Godmother, and Jefferson still hasn’t eaten, Grant pulls him aside and tells him how much it would mean to his godmother if he ate just one or two bites of her food, telling him how big of a smile she will have on her face when she returns home. Grant tells Jefferson what a true hero is, someone who does things for other people. This conversation sparked something in Jefferson, Grant tells him that he cannot stand up to defy whites, but Jefferson has enough strength so he can do it. In the beginning, Grant was not sure how he was going to help Jefferson, he wasn’t sure of the right things to say in order to convince him that he is a man. Jefferson, now convinced that he was no longer a man but an animal, believed that he deserved his punishment. Inside of Jefferson grew an anger for the people trying to help him, an anger

that caused him to be without emotion or care for others, he saw everyone as his enemy but like Jefferson, Grant sees and understands Jefferson’s anger, the feeling of being trapped. Jefferson’s anger confided him to his sell, he wouldn’t eat, or speak. His godmother, who raised him and protected him, couldn’t see why he was being like this, she didn’t understand that Jefferson believed the words of his lawyer, called him a hog, and animal, she couldn’t see that Jefferson was hurt and all she could see was his anger.

A stronger bond begins to form