Lesson Before Dying Character Analysis Essay

952 WordsJul 15, 20134 Pages
Character Analysis Essay: Grant Wiggins of “A Lesson Before Dying” Grant Wiggins is very conflicted and confused about many aspects of his life when he comes back to his home town. Despite his reluctance, he is eventually forced to overcome his defeatist attitude and accept the sense of responsibility that Tante Lou and Miss Emma are trying to instill in him. Grant is also haunted by his past having grown up in a very racist small town which he could never find a way to deal with. I believe that, much like myself, Grant Wiggins experiences a great deal of internal struggle and confusion when he returns to his home town. I think that he is trying to get over the negative experiences that he had during his childhood in Bayonne by moving…show more content…
(Gaines 141). This quote illustrates how Grant pushes everybody away when he does not immediately see the positive results of his helping Jefferson or the children. By the end of the story, it is clear that Mr. Gaines has employed a very effective allegory to associate Jefferson’s death as a martyr with Jesus Christ’s sacrificial death to save the souls of the earth. One apparent parallel between the two is the close proximity of their execution dates, Jefferson being terminated 2 weeks after Easter. The fact that Grant considers himself to be better than all of the black residents of Bayonne is one of the many things that holds Grant back from being an effective coach to assist Jefferson in his quest to become a man. Another contributing factor to his ineffective teaching is his lack of self confidence. If Jefferson does not see a worthy example of how to be a man, then he will never effectively become one himself. After a few visits to see Jefferson in his cell, persevering through his own belief that he is not making a difference, being told that he was wasting his time, he realized that he was doing much more than performing a favor for Miss Emma and Tante Lou. He realized that he wasn’t only trying to turn Jefferson into a man. This was Miss Emma and Tante Lou’s way of teaching himself a lesson on how to live his life and who he really is. “I need you,” I told him. “I need you much more than you could ever need me” (Gaines, 193). This quote represents the
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