Instead of improving his life, a university education only robs him of his former blissful pleasures while burdening him with added questions about the meaning of life. At the beginning of the novel he sides with Mathew Antoine and the fatalists. Not only does he think his teaching has no effect on his students, but he also considers himself powerless to changes his own life.
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 Wiggins and Jefferson are the novel's dual protagonists.
Their individual survivals depend on their mutual support. Although it is Jefferson's story, it is narrated by Grant, with the exception of Chapter 29, in which Jefferson is finally able to tell his story in his own voice, through his diary.
Jefferson Character Timeline in A Lesson Before Dying The timeline below shows where the character Jefferson appears in A Lesson Before Dying. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance. Character List Bookmark this page Manage My Reading List Jefferson A twenty-one-year-old uneducated black field worker condemned to die after being innocently involved in an armed robbery and shooting.
Analysis and discussion of characters in Ernest J. Gaines' A Lesson before Dying. Thus, he and Jefferson share a lesson, the lesson, perhaps, all . A Lesson Before Dying: CHARACTER ANALYSIS / DETAILED CHARACTER ANALYSIS by Ernest Gaines. Cliff Notes™, Cliffs Notes™, Cliffnotes™, Cliffsnotes™ are trademarked properties of the John Wiley Publishing Company.
ashio-midori.com does not provide or claim to provide free Cliff Notes™ or free Sparknotes™. Jefferson. Jefferson . Analysis of A Lesson Before Dying Essay Words | 6 Pages.
that Jefferson will die as a man.
Without this faith, Grant, at first, does not believe in Jefferson.