Burden of Education
In the story A Lesson Before Dying Grant struggles with being an educated black man living in the south. He left a small southern plantation working town to further his education at a University. He became a teacher, only to return to the same vicious cycle that he tried to escape from. He now was the teacher at the same small church setting school where he was schooled, carrying out and teaching the poor black children the same as he was taught. He was burdened with education.
In school, as a child Grant was taught by a mulatto man named Matthew Antoine, who would wordlessly express his superiority over all one-hundred percent colored people. Matthew states on page 63, “if he could teach any of us only one thing, that one thing would be flight, because there was no freedom”. He told the children that most of them would die violently, and those that did not would be brought down to the level of beasts (Page 62). Mr. Antoine hated himself, and had strong contempt for the children. Grant challenged Mr. Antoine, because he wanted to learn, in result, he was hated even more for it. Mr. Antoine agreed to teach Grant, he states on page 63, “you want to learn, I will help you learn. Maybe in that way I will be free, knowing that someone else has taken the burden”. All the hate and inner confliction that Mr. Antoine dealt with, now years later is the same that Grant would be dealing with.
Grant has been told that he will teach Jefferson, a poor black farm hand that is facing execution. As the educated man, the quarter people look to him with an underlining expectation. Grant’s aunt Tante Lou, never gave him the option but insisted he teach Jefferson. Not only would he be teaching him but he also would be asking the “white man” for permission to teach him, during his last days before his execution. Grant owed nothing to Jefferson, but being the educated black man, that had loose ties to Jefferson through his aunt and Jefferson’s godmother,...