The Portrayal of Jefferson in a Lesson Before Dying

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The Portray of the Perpetrator Jefferson in A Lesson Before Dying: The Reverse Side of a Perpetrator Does a perpetrator have to be an irredeemably bad person? It’s not always true. Unfortunately due to people’s limited perceptions, many people incorrectly assume that a perpetrator is a bad person with no redeem traits. In definition, a perpetrator is usually someone who carries out a crime or deception (Merriam-Webster). They are around us everywhere, either as the criminals we often see on news or the protagonists in fictional worlds. From those influences, people envisage perpetrators as the bad guy or the antagonist surrounded by darkness with a serious look, and often of extreme intelligence and smarts, but in an evil way. However, there are exceptions, which the perpetrator does not possess these traits. The book A Lesson before Dying written by Ernest J. Gaines brings people a wrenching story of death and identity in a small community in Louisiana in the late 1940s. The character of Jefferson is portrayed as a perpetrator, and reveals the traits that are distinct from what a usual perpetrator might exhibit. During the period before the date of his capital punishment, Jefferson holds an extremely negative perception of himself, and this sense of inferiority makes him feel embarrassed. He is isolated in the prison and chooses to be isolated and withdrawn from other people including his loved ones. Jefferson is seen as being mentally deficient, but he proves that he’s educated and knowledgeable, and has the ability to teach people a lesson about life and humanity. After the jury sentences Jefferson to die, Jefferson is left with a negative perception of himself. This attitude is aroused by an incident in the court. His white lawyer is supposed to defend Jefferson, but instead claims that he would “rather put a hog on that electric chair than this” (8).

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