In A Lesson Before Dying, each character possesses a past they must overcome. For example, both Grant and Vivian are troubled by previous experiences. White people regarded Grant as second-rate all throughout his childhood. The constant belittling of his intelligence rubbed off on his self-esteem. For this reason, Grant attempts to separate himself from his past because the thought of his youth resurfaces bad memories. Grant desires to answer the calling that attracts him to break away from the racism and small-town range that keeps him at a standstill. When he mentors Jefferson, he finds himself unable to simply run away to escape his problems. His troubles do not seem as terrible when compared to what this young man is encountering. Grant’s whole outlook changes as the novel progresses. He discovers the ability to love someone other than himself and to accomplish necessa...
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... stones” to Berniece’s inability to release the memories of her sorrowful past (Wilson 107). He recognizes that Berniece is allowing the calamities of her life to overpower the optimistic side of life. Conflict occurs when Boy Willie proposes the idea to sell the piano in order to purchase land. This statement appears to be Boy Willie’s attempt to give up the strongest connection to the past in favor of the practical materials of the present. By the same token, Boy Willie wishes to pay homage to the memories of his family by purchasing the land where his family once served as slaves. His sister surprisingly disagrees as she realizes that the best choice is the one who has been around the longest. At the play's pinnacle, Berniece reunites with the piano through music, using her family’s heritage to expel the negative memories and the Sutter’s apparition from her life.
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