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Theme of Redemption in A Lesson Before Dying

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Theme of Redemption in A Lesson Before Dying essay
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Jefferson, on the verge of getting executed for the murder of a white shop owner awaits in jail since his attorney failed. His white attorney had portrayed the image he wanted Jefferson to stay out of jail, however it all changed when he compared him to a hog. While talking to the all-white jury Jefferson’s attorney had almost turned, as if he was trying to get Jefferson killed in return of the white man’s life.

The African American school teacher, Grant Wiggins learns of the ordeal of Jefferson through his Godmother.

Wiggins who is intelligent as he had access to education, is charged with the responsibility of restoring dignity to Jefferson before he gets prosecuted. This is where the theme of redemption comes to play. Wiggins tries to redeem the dignity of Jefferson by reminding him of his value as a human being, and further educates him on the knowledge that there exist some moral values in the life of a human being and one should subscribe to certain beliefs and practices to gain knowledge and to surpass the racism that haunts the African American community they have.

Wiggins first had a difficult time getting Jefferson to speak and communicate with him, with the same result in multiple visits to the jail Wiggins simply threatens that he would not go back. However, he did because Jefferson’s Godmother was strongly against Jefferson dying a ‘hog’ and not in the thought of a ‘man’.

Redemption is viewed as the act of revamping one’s self-worth and restoration of dignity and relationship with other people. Jefferson is assisted by Miss. Emma, his Godmother is a strong believer of knowledge, education, and dignity. It is in this belief that Jefferson’s Godmother approached Grant Wiggins who is intelligent and is in a position to instill knowledge and virtues on Jefferson before he is executed for the murder of a white man. Wiggins starts by trying to prove to Jefferson that the black community is the minority and they are racially abused and he is not the only one they’ve ever referred to as an animal.

A Lesson Before Dying’ almost demands that Jefferson’s death can indeed become quite liberating and meaningful not only for himself but his community. After he was convicted of his crime Jefferson had only proved himself wrong, by reaching in the cash drawer at the little store he was at after the fact a white man had gotten killed. Only proving the white folks right in the sense, they refer to Jefferson as a hog.

Theme of Redemption in A Lesson Before Dying essay

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FAQ

What does the notebook symbolize in A Lesson Before Dying?
The notebook represents Jefferson's reconnection with his humanity , a reconciliation facilitated by Grant. By writing down his thoughts, Jefferson reflects upon his position in an unjust world and begins to think seriously about his life.
What is the main theme of A Lesson Before Dying?
Ernest J. Gaines drives home the themes of race relations, injustice, and salvation in ''A Lesson Before Dying'' set in Pre-Civil Rights Louisiana where a black man is unjustly executed for murder.
What is the theme of isolation in A Lesson Before Dying?
Isolation. Ernest J. Gaines He was the eldest of 12 children, raised by his aunt, who was crippled and had to crawl to get around the house . Although born generations after the end of slavery, Gaines grew up impoverished, living in old slave quarters on a plantation. Gaines' first years of school took place in the plantation church. Ernest J. Gaines novel, A Lesson Before Dying, transcends the racial barriers presented in the story . Not only does Gaines speak to the long, harsh history of white oppression of blacks, but to the unjust oppression in preset day society.
What lesson does Paul learn in A Lesson Before Dying?
A Lesson Before Dying Along with Miss Emma, Paul symbolizes the hope of the Civil Rights movement , which promised to transform the social, political, and economic relationships between blacks and whites. As noted in the Introduction to the Novel section, the theme of transformation pervades the novel.
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