A Lesson Before Dying By Ernest J. Gaines Essay

1464 Words Oct 9th, 2014 6 Pages
Joseph Campbell’s definition of a hero is “someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself”. Jefferson demonstrates this definition by walking like a man to his death, and showing the white people that he is as strong as any one of them. In A Lesson Before Dying, by Ernest J. Gaines, the white men still rule supreme over the black community. A black man named Jefferson is wrongly convicted of murder and is being put on death row. Grant, an educated black man, is being put to the test in hope to make Jefferson a man before he walks to the electric chair. Although he is being criticized by Reverend Ambrose because Grant is “sending Jefferson’s soul to hell”. The strongest theme in A Lesson Before Dying is that one man can make a difference in the lives of many as shown through Grant’s effect on the children, Jefferson’s effect on the town, and Reverend Ambrose’s effect on the quarter.
Grant is educating the black children which is greatly affecting their lives because they cannot get schooling anywhere else in the town which demonstrates that the strongest theme is one man can make a difference in the lives of many. Teachers have a humble profession due to the fact that their salary is not as high as it should be for their efforts to further educate our future generation. During a school day Grant enlightens the students as to what is going to happen to Jefferson, a student who was in their shoes not too long ago. He starts by saying “they’re going to…

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