A Lesson Before Dying Essay - Words | Bartleby


a lesson before dying essay

A Lesson Before Dying Essay Questions. However, he is able to do the right thing when Grant is not, bringing news of Jefferson's execution date to Miss Emma, and witnessing the execution while Grant teaches school. As Grant says at the end of the novel, religion can give strength to people in need even if one disagrees with its gttreadz-x.cf: Ernest J. Gaines. May 06,  · A Lesson Before Dying. Unlike those before him, Grant is the school teacher on the plantation and has attended college not only to become educated, but to escape the heavy prejudice and racism against blacks. This negative environment has made him bitter and have little faith in himself, society, or the church/5(1). September, A Lesson Before Dying Year: Title: A Lesson Before Dying The title of this novel “A Lesson Before Dying” is what the book’s plot revolves around. Dying refers to Jefferson’s death, while the lesson refers to the lessons learnt by Jefferson, the white community, and Grant.

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Grant drinks to avoid problems rather than cause them, a lesson before dying essay, but even this bad habit negatively impacts his relationships with Vivian, Jefferson, and Tante Lou. The pervasiveness of alcoholism among the black and the white characters in the novel suggests that racism is only one of many social ills that the characters must overcome.

At a pivotal moment in the text, Grant tells Jefferson that he persists in visiting the prison not because he feels obliged to his aunt or Miss Emmabut because Vivian encouraged him to. For Gaines, love is a more powerful influence than selfishness, duty, or even society at large.

Vivian's love also transforms Grant in smaller ways--for example, she influences him to become more dedicated to his job and hold a Christmas pageant for the children, something he would be unable to do otherwise. And significantly, it is kindness from Grant a lesson before dying essay the townspeople rather than preaching from Reverend Ambrose that finally convinces Jefferson to behave with dignity. At the beginning of the novel, Grant is convinced that any dignity he has comes from his high level of education.

This attitude prevents him from getting through to Jefferson, who is of significantly lower social status than Grant. It also brings him into conflict with Reverend Ambrose, who believes that dignity can only come from faith in God--at the Christmas pageant, a lesson before dying essay, Ambrose even implies that Grant is no better than Jefferson, because neither man has faith.

By the end of the novel, both men learn from Jefferson that dignity is intrinsic and comes from loving and being loved, and does not come from external sources like religion or education, a lesson before dying essay. Grant's job as a schoolteacher puts him in the middle of many debates that raged at the time about what and how African-Americans should be taught. Grant greatly values his status as an educated man, and believes that literature has the power to help people understand the world around them.

Nevertheless, he is doubtful that public education as it works in the quarter is very effective. Grant also frets that he is being required to impart white values, and that even as it helps people, education might also be eroding African-American culture. Racism pervades the ethnically mixed town of Bayonne, a fact that might not surprise those familiar with the history of the South at this time. However, Gaines also portrays racism within the African-American community in the quarter. Mulattos avoid associating with full-blooded African-Americans, and Grant himself harbors some negative stereotypes about mulattos, a lesson before dying essay, speculating that they all work in bricklaying so they don't have to be around full blacks.

The women who are considered beautiful in the quarter all seem to be light-skinned. Gaines takes care to emphasize that anyone can be racist, without minimizing the enormity of segregation by whites. At the beginning of the novel, Grant views a lesson before dying essay with disdain, acknowledging its important place a lesson before dying essay African-American culture while questioning its truth and its usefulness.

Although he never embraces Christianity, the events of the novel make him more aware of how religion can soothe the afflicted. He encourages Jefferson to pray just to please Miss Emma, also suggesting that religion can be a useful means of social cohesion even if the teachings themselves are questionable to some.

Grant spends much of the novel at odds with the people around him, a lesson before dying essay, especially Tante Lou and Reverend Ambrose. It is only when he uses his influence to make Jefferson listen to Reverend Ambrose that Miss Emma is satisfied with his progress. Thus, the influences of education and religion only help Jefferson if they work together rather than against each other.

This can perhaps be extrapolated to social change in general; Gaines seems to suggest that many different subcultures and personalities must cooperate if social problems like racism are to be eradicated.

Why is Vivian against running away? Vivian is against running away because she has two children, and she is not officially divorced their father. Thus, she cannot leave Bayonne until she resolves the matter. Gaines, literature essays, quiz questions, major themes, characters, and a full summary and analysis. A Lesson Before Dying literature essays are academic essays for citation. These papers were written primarily by students and provide critical analysis of A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest Gaines.

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a lesson before dying essay


Throughout A Lesson Before Dying, Grant both rejects and accepts the idea of having a double consciousness. He deals with the situation by working closely with a death row inmate named Jefferson. A Lesson Before Dying Essay Examples. In the novels, A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest Gaines and Fences by August Wilson, the characters struggle to overcome lifes difficulties and to find the true meaning of their existence by freeing themselves from their troubles. This form of self-redemption helps to renew each characters conscience and bring him or her to a. - A Lesson Before Dying In the novel A Lesson Before Dying, Grant and Jefferson are black men in the era of a racist society; but they have struggles with a greater dilemma, obligation and commitment. They have obligations to their families and to the town they are part of.