Lesson Before Dying

705 Words 3 Pages
The main contention of the book A Lesson Before Dying is the inequality between white and black people. Throughout the book we see a change in the characters’ attitudes to this situation forced upon them by society. The author’s details suggest the ability to change the world through your beliefs and what you know is true. Jefferson and Grant’s realization helped to spark the country’s awareness to how wrong the oppression the majority of people were giving to African Americans everywhere. Jefferson’s realization that he could die a man and a martyr, Grant’s refusal to be a bystander to the constant racism, and the society’s reaction to victories similar to these helped carry out the civil rights movement that changed America forever.
When Jefferson’s attorney at the trial compares him to a hog in order to convince the jury not to convict him and he still loses the trial, he relinquishes his humanity and simply waits to be executed. After a few visits from Grant, the reader begins to see improvement in Jefferson's attitude to the situation he
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When the chair that Jefferson would later be executed in is transported to town, some people cannot look at the chair without being made nauseous and are also afraid of the chair. The truck that delivers the electric chair is black and drives slowly through the community. These details included display that the truck and the chair represent death slowly consuming the society’s emotions and moods. “Then Melvina saw it… and it took all her strength, she said later, to remain on her feet (Gaines 237)”. Events like Grant and Jefferson overcoming their trials are examples of how acts of extraordinary strength and self control change the way that society viewed African American people. The two of them led by example to show the people around them that change is possible and that African American people are people

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