Analysis Of A Lesson Before Dying

Decent Essays
Facing your Fears: A Lesson Before Dying “A hero does for others. He would do anything for people he loves, because he knows it would make their lives better. I am not that kind of person, but I want you to be. You could give something to her, to me, to those children in the quarter. You could give them something that I never could. They expect it from me, but not from you. The white people out there are saying that you don’t have it-that you’re a hog, not a man. But I know they are wrong.” (Gaines 191) A Lesson Before Dying is about Grant Wiggin’s ability to overcome his own personal fears and his effort to make Jefferson a man in the process, as well as how the people around him are affected by his anger and determination. Accordingly, …show more content…
Miss Emma wants Grant to help Jefferson die with human dignity, and not be seen as a hog by the white people and community. However, Grant has a lot of anger and bitterness because he believes that he does not have the character and ability to make valuable changes in Jefferson. Grant has no idea on how to be a good role model, encourager, or haven. “What do I say to him? Do I know what a man is? Do I know how a man is supposed to die? 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?” (Gaines 31) In the novel there is this ongoing idea of Grant feeling angry at everybody, including himself. Grant also feels very useless, and he does not understand why he was put into a position where he would have to interact with Jefferson. Since Grant has an attitude of self-absorption and anger it’s making it a lot harder for him to face his fears and actually overcome them. He just needs to have hope, and stop thinking that making change is impossible to do. Before long, Jefferson starts to grow on Grant. “Do you believe I’m your friend, Jefferson?” I asked him. “Do you believe I care about you?” (Gaines 185) Grant begins to genuinely care about somebody other than himself and he desires to make changes that really matter. “I caught myself grinning like a fool. I wanted to throw my arm around him and …show more content…
At the same time, Jefferson is shaping Grant into a different man. Throughout the novel Grant has consistently tried to make his mark, and make change happen, and he finally has. Grant stepped out of his boundaries and fears of not being good enough to help Jefferson and has grew a bond like no other. Jefferson has felt unworthy as well and he has truly changed Grant’s hard and selfish heart for the better. Grant even spoke his heart to Jefferson, “I need you,” I told him. “I need you much more than you could ever need me. I need to know what to do with my life. I want to run away, but go where and do what? I’m needed here and I know it, but I feel that all I’m doing here is choking myself. I need someone to tell me what to do. I need you to tell me, to show me. I’m no hero; I can just give something small. That’s all I have to offer. It is the only way that we can chip away at that myth. You-you can be bigger than anyone you have ever met.” (Gaines 193) The title of the novel is A Lesson Before Dying, but Jefferson is not the only person that is learning something. Jefferson understands that he is valuable and precious, not one person can define who he is. Grant has been influenced by Jefferson more than he could ever imagine. Grant is not selfish and all about himself, he genuinely cares about the people around him. In addition, Grant was willing to step out and face his

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