A Lesson Before Dying- Heroism

833 WordsFeb 27, 20074 Pages
"A hero is someone who does something for other people. He does something that other men don 't ' and can 't do." How does heroism play an essential role in the narrative? A man who has the courage and dignity to put themselves second for the greater benefit of others is a hero. In the novel there is a great need for somebody to stand up in the face of racism and show the community that black African Americans are just as strong, and just as human as the white men. In fact they can behave with more integrity and be more of men than the whites. The behavior and actions taken by Jefferson display this fact perfectly. Both Grant and Jefferson play a role of heroism, which is so desperately necessary for the hope of their people. Their…show more content…
He says to Tante Lou ‘everything you sent me to school for, you 're stripping me of it". No matter how confronting and tough the circumstances of the task get Grant 's actions are completely unselfish, the well being of others and their wishes is foremost in his mind. Jefferson is a hero for all the black people who acknowledge him and his triumph of ‘sticking it to the whites '. Although he is subjected to racism in the most unforgiving form he has the dignity to be a man and walk the chair. Jefferson does not behave like the ‘hog ' he was labeled or the ‘nigger ' the whites class him as, instead he has the courage to be the strongest man in the room on the day of his execution. As Grant says you need to "chip away" at the whites ' myth that they are superior, by forcing them to see a "black man stand, and think, and show the common humanity that is in us all". And this is precisely what Jefferson achieves. He shows them that he is "…just as much of a man – more of a man than they can ever be." This is desperately needed for the hope and future of the people of Bayonne and surrounding communities. Through Jefferson they receive the message that no matter what the whites may do to them they can still have dignity and not succumb to the belief of white supremacy. Jefferson resembles Christ in this way, he is sacrificed but for the good
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