A Lesson Before Dying Theme Essay

975 WordsJul 31, 20124 Pages
Life is like a test at all times and its only up to you to find the answers and learn from your choices. The most important lesson to learn before dying is to never give up and fight for yourself. In the novel "A Lesson Before Dying" this lesson is shown through the characters of Jefferson, Emma and Grant. Jefferson is an example of the lesson of fighting for yourself. Jefferson is a young black man who lives on a plantation and is doubted and thought of differently because of his skin colour and is out into jail under false charges, during court he is referred to as a hog. At first, he lets this define him as a person but after a few talks with Grant Wiggins he starts to stand up for himself as a black man. We begin to see this change when Grant visits him and after a few visits, Jefferson doesn't refer to himself as a hog, but talks with Grant even though it didn't go smoothly (Gaines 128). Another example is when Jefferson learns the day of his execution but he doesn't let this ruin him, instead when Grant visits him shortly after he has a conversation with him and he has now let go of being called a hog and he wants to try and live a bit in his last while by having a radio and discussing his last meal of a gallon of ice cream (Gaines 172). The biggest breakthrough with Jefferson and fighting for himself is when Grant has a talk with him that brings him tears because Grant tells him how all the white men are expecting him to let the word "hog" define him and that if he can walk to his death as a man, it will prove them wrong and he will be standing up for so much. Jefferson takes this to heart and he learns that this isn't just about him, that it’s about his race of black people. Lastly, Jefferson begins to write in a journal and he writes all his thoughts, he wrote "i been shakin an shakin but im gon stay strong" (Gaines 233), this line shows how

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