A Lesson Before Dying Essay

1246 WordsApr 15, 20145 Pages
“Symbols in A Lesson Before Dying” The story “A Lesson Before Dying” by Ernest J. Gaines, follows the main character Jefferson as he awaits for execution for a crime he did not commit. The story takes place in the south in the late 1940’s. Jefferson, the main character is a young black man who gets caught in the wrong place at the wrong time and ends up into trouble. Even though Jefferson is actually innocent three men were left killed at the scene of the crime, which causes Jefferson to end up on deaths row. During the trial, Jefferson’s only difference was that he did not know what he was doing and that he was a hog. Extremely upset of the results, Jefferson’s godmother, Miss. Emma asks the town teacher, Grant to visit Jefferson in the jailhouse to teach him something before his time is up. She believes if Jefferson would be able to learn something before going in to the chair he would be able to die as a man and the lawyer would be proven defiantly wrong. Grant and Jefferson who are brought together under uncifient circumstances hit some hard areas but end with good ones on the journey before the day of the execution. There are many important symbols that are repeated throughout the entire story. These symbols all carry a significant part of the journey of days leading up to Jefferson’s death. The symbols throughout the story represent a even bigger picture of power, friendship and growth. The kitchen door at the Henri Pichot’s house of which Grant must enter symbolizes power. Before being actually visiting Jefferson, Grant is asked told that Henri Pichot would like to speak to him before. Henri Pichot is a white male of wealthy background. The kitchen door represents the role blacks had in the South back in that time. In this time blacks would not enter through in front door as a guest, rather the back door as servants would. Although Grant well educated

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