This essay “Dehumanization in the book "A Lesson before Dying" by Gaines” seeks to explain the dehumanizing acts that occur to and through the various characters. It opens the analytical and sympathetic eyes of the reader to the guise under which evil takes place in our country. …
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Along the corridors of justice, after Jefferson has been convicted of murder, his lawyer puts it that his client is no more than a poor fool and likens him to a hog. It is his way of showing that Jefferson is not capable of committing the act he is charged with. Infuriated with the lawyer’s dehumanizing and insulting reference to her godson, Miss Emma, Jefferson’s godmother decides to coerce Grant Wiggins to help her in ensuring at least Jefferson dies an honorable death (Gaines 7). Grant, who now teaches at a plantation in Louisiana, secretly loathes the acts of injustices extended on his fellow black men but does not want to get involved in the judicial administration. It is therefore no surprise that he does not want to feature in the Grope vs. Grant case.
Tante Lou, Grant’s aunt how manages to convince him into helping Jefferson. The company’s- Grant, Miss Emma and Tante Lou- first trip to see Jefferson in his cell is futile as they discover that he heard too much of the lawyer’s hurting words which had a depressing effect on him. He therefore refuses to talk to them and after an hour of uncomfortable silence, they all leave. Jefferson would later say that dignity is preserved for young man’s and not hogs when Grant tries to get him in touch with his humane side (Gaines 26). Grant continues to see Jefferson and is surprised while he initiates a conversation about ice cream one day (Gaines 27).
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