Grant wigginsthe hero in a lesson before dying

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Grant wigginsthe hero in a lesson before dying

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.

SparkNotes: A Lesson Before Dying: Character List

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.

Grant wigginsthe hero in a lesson before dying

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 is a disillusioned product of the black church.

He is not prepared for the responsibilities of leadership. He wants freedom without responsibility. Although he sets out to teach Jefferson to "be a man," he has doubts about his own humanity. While Antoine feels superior because of his lighter skin color, Grant feels superior because of his education, which, he thinks, puts him in a higher social class.

Material Information

Jefferson exemplifies the young black male who has internalized into self-hatred the hatred shown him by white racists. His lack of self-worth and self-esteem is a major factor in his apathy and defeatist attitude. In order to reach him, Grant must first break through the barrier of his self-hate.

In effect, Jefferson feels that he was not condemned to die like a man, but to be destroyed like a beast. Worse, he believes that he is no better than a dumb animal and that he deserves to die, since he sees his life as worthless. When he thanks Grant for the pecans, apologizes for his obscene comments regarding Vivian, offers Grant a sweet potato, and begins to write in his journal, he becomes transformed.

Also note that he writes in his diary, "Man walks on two feet; pigs on four" after Grant has convinced him that the racial myth stating that his life is worthless is absolutely wrong: Note that Jefferson is not illiterate; he is merely uneducated.

Consequently, he knows wrong from right.Detailed analysis of Characters in Ernest J. Gaines's A Lesson Before Dying. Learn all about how the characters in A Lesson Before Dying such as Grant Wiggins and Jefferson contribute to the story and how they fit into the plot.

Grant Wiggins Character Timeline in A Lesson Before Dying The timeline below shows where the character Grant Wiggins appears in A Lesson Before Dying. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance. Random House for High School Teachers | Catalog | A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J.

Gaines. Random House for High School Teachers | Catalog | A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines. PAGE 1 BRIEFS New columnist starts For Oak Run news Laura Smith is the new columnist for news articles from Oak Run clubs, organizations, etc.

Grant wigginsthe hero in a lesson before dying

Items for . Vivian Baptiste Grant Wiggins' Creole (mixed heritage of black and French or Spanish ancestry) girlfriend.

Peggy A fellow teacher; Vivian's friend. Miss Eloise Bouie A friend of Miss Emma and Tante Lou. 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.

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