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A Lesson Before Dying - Book Report/Review Example

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Name of the of the Concerned Professor Subject 28 April 2011 A Lesson before Dying Theme The primary theme in the story tends to address the fact that the power of human intention is always far more potent and liberating that the pressing circumstances in which an individual is placed (Beavers 128)…
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A Lesson Before Dying
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"A Lesson Before Dying"

Download file to see previous pages While Jefferson is incarcerated behind the prison bars, Grant is shown as being limited by his personal self obsession and a deep seated cynicism furnished by the unnervingly ubiquitous racism in the South. Grant is shown as being nudged by a strong urge to escape the stifling and limiting social environment of the South. This aspiration is further bolstered by the realization of being dehumanized to the level of a beast owing to the rampant racial hostility and prejudice. Irrespective of his education and academic achievements, Grant is supposed to act with deference towards people like Dr. Joseph and Sheriff Guidry. In that context, Jefferson is freer that Grant, as being on the death row, he is left with nothing to lose. In the beginning both Grant and Jefferson are shown as being suffering from a fatalistic world view. Both of them believe that they can do nothing to change their world. However, the very act of Jefferson going to the chair like a man proves to be a great changing influence in the life of Grant. Jefferson’s courage makes Grant realize the power of human intention. For the first time in his life Grant stands face to face with the fact that it is he who should be the change he wants to see in the world. It is than that the realization dawns upon him that if he badly wanted, he can choose to defy what the society expects of him (Folks 54). Book Review The theme of the novel A Lesson before Dying is well concentrated in the desire of Miss Emma that is Jefferson’s godmother that those who were to kill her godson should see to it that they are not killing a hog, but a man, whose death will not go waste and useless in the annals of history. In that context, Miss Emma seeks the help and assistance of a black schoolteacher Grant, whom she wants to meet her godson in the prison so as to help him prepare to die like a man. On the one side there is Jefferson, who is expected to learn to die in way so that the perpetrators of his unwarranted death could experience for themselves the fact that he could choose to die in a much better way than they intend to kill him. On the other side there is Grant, who despite his intellect and education is required to live in a world of which he is cynical and hopeless. The theme of the novel celebrates the power of human intention. By the end of the story it becomes evident to the readers that sometimes an act indicative of a mere gesture of pride and dignity is enough to be registered as being heroic and manly (Nelson 168). In that sense the soul searching and agony of the two primary characters that are Jefferson and Grant do not go in vain. Both of them come to this conclusion in their own way that their simple defiance of the way things are is an expression of freedom and free will (Page 192). One chooses to embrace death like a man to register his dissent, while the other chooses to live on and dare to defy what is expected of him. Their very act of dissent, irrespective of the way it is expressed, stands to be an omen portending change. Contrary to the point of view perspective Gains used in his earlier books, in A Lesson before Dying he resorts to the first person narrative (Beavers 129). The narrator of the story is not presented as being simple and dispassionate, but rather as being complex and involved. As a narrator Grant is shown to be self obsessed. The way he prefers to relate to his community, discernibly smacks of a ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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