A Lesson Before Dying Common Task Essay

1601 Words Feb 29th, 2016 null Page
A Lesson Before Dying Common Task
How do social limitations affect someone’s ability to become a better person? The novel A Lesson Before Dying, by Ernest J. Gaines, takes place from the perspective of Grant Wiggins, a black man who lived in the southern United States during the 1940’s. During this time period, there was a series of laws in place and multiple unspoken rules of etiquette that were designed to make black people inferior to the white population. Even with the harshness of white rule holding them back, the black characters in this novel develop and move past their issues as the story progresses. In A Lesson Before Dying, Gaines uses the character Grant and his struggles as a black man in the 1940’s Deep South to reflect the theme “working through societal constraints causes one to develop into a better person as a result of endurance in the face of adversity.”
The South was an extraordinarily difficult place for black people to exist during the 1940’s, and the social structure in place therein made it hard to be anything other than what was expected of them. There was a series of laws and rules imposed by whites known as “Jim Crow laws” that made life as a black person extraordinarily difficult--in essence, they were legal regulations mixed with etiquette wherein “African Americans were relegated to the status of second class citizens.” (Pilgrim). Black people were not allowed to suggest that they were superior to whites in any way, shape or form, and were…

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