A Lesson Before Dying Analysis

Decent Essays

A Lesson Learned A Lesson Before Dying, portrays the aspects of Grant Wiggins and Jefferson who lives on a segregated plantation in Bayonne Louisiana. Throughout history, Jim crow laws were inflicted upon blacks and whites and was still in effect in the 1940s when the novel was written by Gaines. Jefferson is falsely accused and given the death sentence for murdering a store owner because of his skin color. Jefferson is influenced and taught how to become a hero by Grant by keeping his faith and representing the difficulties black men face while building their masculine identity in the segregated south of Louisiana. Rural southern life in the 1940s as a black man was grueling. Working as a sharecropper with little to no education left blacks helpless. What does it mean to be a black man? According to David E. Magill (2016), author of Make Him a Man argues that the tension between the individual and the community is vital to Gaines’s construction of black masculinity, as he offers us a vision in which individuals must socially construct their individual identities through the locus of communal connections. As a way of life, everyone is entitled to plead guilty or not guilty but in this situation Jefferson wasn’t given a choice to defend himself. In the novel it also teaches many different lessons as Grant begins to explain “A hero does for others; he would do anything for people he loves.” (191, Gaines) In the novel Grant was willing to see Jefferson while he was in jail

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