Racism In J. Gaines's A Lesson Before Dying

1077 Words 5 Pages
Racism has been affecting our lives and our past for as long as we can remember. It is something that is very hurtful to some, and pleasant to others. Where someone is making another person feel unworthy or even inhuman. Where man and woman are treated differently because of how they are seen through society's eyes. Is that really a nice path to follow? Is that something we must keep on doing? Accuse an innocent man of a murder because of his skin tone? Or even call them names that are as hurtful as what they went through in the past? Racism is something that must be stopped, and in the novel, A Lesson Before Dying, Jefferson is being racially criticized and blamed for actions he did not commit.

To begin, Jefferson is being accused of murdering a white male named Mr.
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He is against the idea of doing so but his aunt is forcing him. He states, "Yes I'm the teacher, and I teach what the white folks around here tell me to teach -- reading, writing and 'rithmetic. They never told me how to keep a black boy out of a liquor store."(Gaines, 13). Grant is saying that the white culture rules in Louisiana, because of how they are the ones that tell the teacher what to teach. When he says, "They never told me how to keep a black boy out of a liquor store", he is saying that no one was ever thought how to keep a black man out of trouble. Grant knows that if he doesn't teach Jefferson how to be a man, he is only contributing to the problem; which is racism. Grant is a black man, so he knows the struggle of always being accused and judged by the other races, especially the whites. He agrees to help Jefferson under the pressure of his aunt. He and Jefferson become great friends and relate on many levels at the end of the novel. Grant really helped Jefferson to become a man before he walked up to the electric chair. Furthermore, racism was one of the concrete bases of my novel, therefore, had a tremendous effect on how my novel and the characters involved

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