Themes In A Lesson Before Dying

Decent Essays

There were many themes in the novel, “A Lesson Before Dying” by Ernest Gaines, such as racism, alcoholism, dignity, etc. The theme that best fits the novel is, that one man can make a difference in the lives of many. In this novel, the man is Jefferson, who was sent to prison without a fair trial because of racial prejudice. The theme, one man can make a difference in the lives of many, fits the book best because not only did Jefferson’s trial opened the eyes of the community to the racial prejudice that occurred, it also affected individual lives of Paul, the children in Bayonne, and Grant. Paul was a white deputy in the Bayonne prison where Jefferson was sentenced. In some ways, he is shown as the only white person in the novel who sympathizes …show more content…

Grant a school teacher who works as a school teacher in the African American church of the town of Bayonne, Louisiana. Not only was Jefferson learning , so was Grant. “[Grant’s] eyes were closed before [the] moment [with] Jefferson[,] [Grant’s] eyes have been closed all [his] life” during this moment of realization Grant began to open his eyes and realize “[they] all need [Jefferson] [,] [e]very last one of [them]".This realization shows how Grant became open to the fact that transformation is possible for anyone who really tries. Grant used to be bitter; he neglected the fact that he could change his life or himself in any way because of the racial prejudice in his community. But once he saw Jefferson turn into a man who stands up straight and tall right before his eyes, his opinion on the possibility of change is altered. Grant’s thought that “it is finally over” is not only pertaining to Jefferson’s death which is portrayed symbolically by the butterfly, but also how Grant’s cowardly persona is “finally over” as well. Grant has finally taken a stand for what he believes

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