From the start Grant is an angry, bitter, and self-absorbed person.
Their individual survivals depend on their mutual support. In order to help Jefferson "stand," Grant must first come to terms with his own inner demons, which threaten to make him an emotional cripple like his predecessor, Matthew Antoine. In short, the two men must support each other, for neither is able to stand alone.
Unlike the conventional hero who thrives on total independence, Grant can be a "hero" only through his interaction with Jefferson, and vice versa.
This approach to the novel focuses on the Afrocentric perspective in which the needs of the individual are sublimated to the needs of the community. Further, although Grant and Jefferson are not blood relatives, they are connected through their common experiences as black males.
Although physically free, Grant lives in a mental prison of his own making created by his hatred of whites, his arrogance, and his detachment from the black community. As an educated man, he sees himself as superior to people like Jefferson and Rev. Instead of preparing him to contribute to his community, his formal education has taught him to despise his own people.
Consequently, he uses his role as a teacher not to inspire and uplift his students but to humiliate and ridicule them, much as his own teacher, Matthew Antoine, humiliated and ridiculed him.
Thus, instead of using his skills and talents to change the cycle of poverty and violence, Grant perpetuates the cycle by failing to challenge the system. Unlike Jefferson, Grant has had numerous opportunities to leave Bayonne and change his life, but he has decided to stay and teach at the plantation school, not because he is a dedicated teacher who cares about his students, but because he feels that as a black man living in a racist white world, he has little or no control over his life.
Unlike Miss Emma, he refuses to challenge the system that keeps him in a state of mental slavery. Instead, he internalizes his rage and vents his pain and frustration on his students.
Because Grant has been exposed to a different lifestyle, he is much more aware of the opportunities denied to him because of his race.
Consequently, he is much more likely than Jefferson to strike out at the oppressive white community determined to keep him in his place. We can surmise that one of the reasons why Grant is reluctant to become involved with Jefferson is that he recognizes the thin barrier that separates him from Jefferson, a fellow black male who has experienced the same type of racism and discrimination.
Note that without the intercession of Joe Claiborne and Vivian, Grant would likely have been arrested for assault or murder. In a interview, Gaines notes that, according to Booker T. Washington, the newly freed slaves did three things: They left the plantation at least temporarilychanged their names assuming new identitiesand learned to read and write.
Grant has gone through all three stages, but despite his new identity as "professor" and "teacher," he remains mentally enslaved. It is only by acknowledging his kinship with Jefferson and re-establishing his relationship with the black community that he finally achieves his freedom.
Grant is a disillusioned product of the black church. He is not prepared for the responsibilities of leadership. He wants freedom without responsibility. Although he sets out to teach Jefferson to "be a man," he has doubts about his own humanity. While Antoine feels superior because of his lighter skin color, Grant feels superior because of his education, which, he thinks, puts him in a higher social class.
Jefferson exemplifies the young black male who has internalized into self-hatred the hatred shown him by white racists.
His lack of self-worth and self-esteem is a major factor in his apathy and defeatist attitude. In order to reach him, Grant must first break through the barrier of his self-hate. In effect, Jefferson feels that he was not condemned to die like a man, but to be destroyed like a beast.
Worse, he believes that he is no better than a dumb animal and that he deserves to die, since he sees his life as worthless. When he thanks Grant for the pecans, apologizes for his obscene comments regarding Vivian, offers Grant a sweet potato, and begins to write in his journal, he becomes transformed.
Also note that he writes in his diary, "Man walks on two feet; pigs on four" after Grant has convinced him that the racial myth stating that his life is worthless is absolutely wrong: Note that Jefferson is not illiterate; he is merely uneducated.were all down on the floor, and only Jefferson was standing.
He wanted to run, but he couldn’t run. He couldn’t even think. He didn’t know where he was. He didn’t know how he had gotten there. He couldn’t remember ever getting into the car. He couldn’t remember a thing he had done all day. He heard a voice calling.
SuperSummary, a modern alternative to SparkNotes and CliffsNotes, offers high-quality study guides that feature detailed chapter summaries and analysis of major themes, characters, quotes, and essay topics. This one-page guide includes a plot summary and brief analysis of A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J.
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· Hillary Clinton with Bill Clinton before her ceremonial swearing in as secretary of state in (Reuters photo: Saussuritic Ben. A summary of Chapter Jefferson’s Diary in Ernest J. Gaines's A Lesson Before Dying.
Learn exactly what happened in this chapter, scene, or section of A Lesson Before Dying and what it means. Perfect for acing essays, tests, and quizzes, as well as for writing lesson plans. The first line of “A Lesson Before Dying” when Grant states offers one of the most important quotes from “A Lesson Before Dying” by Earnest Gaines, “I was there—but I wasn’t really there” (1) can not only be taken literally since he wasn’t actually at Jefferson’s trial, but in the metaphorical sense as well.
May 09, · Dive deep into Ernest J. Gaines' A Lesson before Dying with extended analysis, commentary, and discussion A Lesson before Dying Analysis Ernest J. Gaines.
|An example of the support of the black community is shown||Kelly, in an essay for Novels for Students, Gale,|
|Chapter 29: Jefferson’s Diary||We write essays, research papers, term papers, course works, reviews, theses and more, so our primary mission is to help you succeed academically.|
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|A Lesson Before Dying Character Quotes||Interest in A Lesson Before Dying, when it appeared early inwas therefore bound to be high. The book won the National Book Critics Circle award for fiction.|
To teach Jefferson the lesson he.