Essay on A Lesson Before Dying By Ernest J. Gaines

1031 Words Jul 16th, 2016 5 Pages
Lao Tzu once said, “Because one believes in oneself, one doesn 't try to convince others. Because one is content with oneself, one doesn 't need others ' approval. Because one accepts oneself, the whole world accepts him or her.” Ernest J. Gaines novel, A Lesson Before Dying reveals many significant lessons that any human being can learn from. That being said, the most important lesson one should learn before dying is that life is worth more than anyone 's opinion, so prove them wrong. This lesson is showcased through three of Gaines dynamic characters, throughout the course of the novel.
The protagonist, Grant Wiggins, clearly learns the importance of his teaching although he faced the doubts of his former teacher. To begin, Grant’s old teacher, Matthew Antoine, told Grant all his teaching was in vain and useless. Antoine specifically says, “Forget it. Just go on and be the nigger you were born to be […] It doesn 't matter anymore, just do the best you can. But it won 't matter” (Gaines 65-66). Antoine is trying to put his pessimistic views onto Grant about what he thinks teaching can do. This is all a result of his own experiences, and in dying faith, he is trying to tell Grant he will not make a difference in his line of work. This attitude is bestowed upon Grant for much of the novel. However, Grant proves Antoine wrong when he meets Jefferson. Grant’s thoughts on teaching is redeemed through Jefferson, who shows his teaching was not in vain and it worked. In a notebook,…

Related Documents