Injustice and the Importance of Being a Man in A Lesson Before Dying
Justitia, the goddess of justice, is portrayed with a blindfold holding scales and a sword, but she, in applying her scales and sword, has never been colorblind in the U. S. 1
Ernest J. Gaines accuses the legal injustice against the black population through an innocent convict, Jefferson's death in A Lesson Before Dying. However, Gaines penetrates the fact that the legal injustice is rather a result than a cause. Behind the unfair legal system, a huge matrix of the cultural injustice, which always already presumes the colored people as criminals, does exist. Gaines, thus, puts more stress on Jefferson's transformation from a "hog" to a man. …show more content…
Everyone "knew" the end of the trial, because, whatever the law says, the juridical practices have been all the same to the black people: they are "out"-laws as "non"-citizens.
Jefferson's innocent death stresses the absurdity and the cruelty of the legal injustice. 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 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,