A Lesson Before Dying By Ernest J. Gaines

1987 Words 8 Pages
Anna-Marie Neville
Christine Beck Lissitzyn
English 111
13 November 2017
A Lesson Before Dying In the book “A Lesson Before Dying” by Ernest J. Gaines, one of the main characters Jefferson was unfortunately caught at the wrong place at the wrong time and was accused of murder. After his conviction, his friend Grant Wiggins was urged to reach out to Jefferson by his aunt Tante Lou and Jefferson’s godmother Miss Emma. Grant did not believe he would be able to make a difference in Jefferson’s life in the short period of time before his execution. Nonetheless, Grant visits Jefferson for many reasons. In the beginning, it is clear that he visits him on behalf of Tante Lou and Miss Emma. Over time, however, Grant began to change and it became obvious
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One example of this is Grant’s first visit alone with Jefferson when he is refusing to eat the food his godmother sent him. Grant says, “But when I go back, I’m going to tell her that you and I sat on the bunk and ate, and you said how good the food was. I won’t tell her what you did. She already sick, and that would kill her. So I’m going to lie.” (page 83-84). Thus, we are able to infer he would only lie to them to save them from the heartache of knowing how disrespectful Jefferson was acting. In the end, we are able to realize Grant not only continues to visit Jefferson for Jefferson’s benefit but for his own as well. In the beginning, Grant tells Vivian, “I’m still trying to find out how a man should live. Am I supposed to tell someone how to die who has never lived?” (page 31). But as Jefferson’s execution grew closer, Jefferson was told to pray by many people. He asks Grant if he prays and his response is, “... I’m lost, Jefferson... At this moment I don’t believe in anything. Like your nannan does, like Reverend Ambrose does, and like I want you to believe. I want you to believe so that one day maybe I will.” (page 222). He does not say he will become a believer once again, but leaving room for the possibility is still better than nothing at all. Telling Jefferson he wants him to believe so that one day he too might believe is giving not only Jefferson hope, but it gives himself hope as well. Simply because he allows himself room to change. You cannot force God’s word on someone, they have to accept it into their lives at their own will. At this point, he is giving himself the opportunity to accept the Lord into his life on his own terms, which is exactly what he wants Jefferson to

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