Analysis of Vivian from a Lesson Before Dying

922 WordsOct 8, 20084 Pages
Every man needs a strong woman. In the novel, A Lesson Before Dying, Vivian, Grant’s girlfriend, is more than just a “strong woman.” She knows what she wants and isn’t afraid to express her feelings. Although the majority of the novel’s attention is directed to Grant and Jefferson, Vivian as well deserves attention because she is a complex and well—developed character. Yes, Grant and Jefferson have their issues that need attention, but everyone has their problems and needs someone to lean on at least once in their life. For example, Grant says, “Let’s go somewhere and spend the night. Baton Rouge, New Orleans—anywhere,” only thinking of himself. However, it’s not and what he wants; it’s what she needs, what Vivian needs. Grant’s…show more content…
She does this by building their self-esteem and helping them become contributing members of the community, while Grant — as evidenced by his ever-present Westcott ruler — is primarily concerned with control and discipline. A classic example that illustrates their divergent approach to teaching is their method of teaching students to write a simple sentence: While Grant ridicules and humiliates his student who can’t write her simple sentence in a straight line; Vivian encourages her students, who are learning to write simple sentences in French. By teaching her students French, Vivian is embracing her Creole heritage. By helping her students transcend their cultural boundaries by learning a foreign language, she is also teaching them to transcend their geographic boundaries and their perceived personal limits. As she points out to Grant, “We’re teachers and we have a commitment.” All in all, Grant is caught up in his own troubles that he doesn’t realize he’s driving away the woman that loves him. Just as he leans on Vivian for support, she wants the same. As she states, “I hope you love me half as much as I love you,” Vivian wants someone to be there for her, someone to listen to her troubles and support her in her decisions. She needs not a verbal proclamation, but the action and commitment to show it. She needs true

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