Theme Of Injustice In A Lesson Before Dying

Register to read the introduction… While Bigger Thomas in Native Son actually kills two women, Jefferson, an innocent black man, has to die just because he was "at the wrong place at the wrong time" (158). They do not even have enough evidences to prove Jefferson's guilt. The only evidence is the fact that Jefferson was found on the spot with some money in his pocket and a bottle of whiskey in his hand. (Why couldn't he claim that the money in his pocket was his own, and that his drinking is nothing to do with the murder? It is because he knew that white men would not believe it.) The prosecutor brings out the question of intention.4[4] Jefferson is accused as a murderer "with the full intention of robbing the old man and then killing him" (6). The money and the whiskey become the evidences of Jefferson's guilty intention through the prosecutor's rhetoric. He urges that Jefferson "stuffed the money into his pockets and celebrated the event by drinking over their still-bleeding bodies" (7). His malicious interpretation of Jefferson's intention reflects and, at the same time, reinforces African Americans' cultural image of bestiality …show more content…
The trial does not begin with an assumption that Jefferson is just a suspect, whose guilt should be proved by the appropriate evidences. Rather, it focuses on what reasons the white men have not to execute Jefferson. The defense lawyer, at first, argues properly that there is no proof against Jefferson. However, he changes his logic while he speaks for Jefferson. He gives the juries the reason why they do not need to kill Jefferson. Jefferson is innocent because he is as ignorant as a hog and not useful as much as a hog. Then, he asks for "mercy." The lawyer shows what "justice" actually means in a racist society. He asks, "What justice would there be to take this life? Justice, gentlemen? Why, I would just as soon put a hog in the electric chair as this" (8). Justice is not for a "hog" but only for the (white) men. At the end of the trial, the Judge reveals what the trial actually has been by saying that he "saw no reason that he [Jefferson] should not pay for the part he played in this horrible crime" (9). For him, there is no reason to let Jefferson live at all. The absurdity of legal justice is amplified when Grant, hearing about the decision of the execution day, cynically asks what justice is: "Twelve white men say a black man must die, and another white man sets the date and time without consulting one black person. Justice?" (157). All white male men at jury decide one's life and death, and the governor, as if he were God, decides when one must

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