Life, Death And Racism Essay

Life, Death And Racism Essay

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Life, Death and Racism

In the book, “A lesson before dying”, by Ernest J. Gaines he tells a story that 's set throughout the late 1940’s. The story is targeted on the interaction between Jefferson, a young and barely literate African American man, who is sentenced to death for an unjust crime, and Grant Wiggins, a university graduate and teacher that desires to assist Jefferson, however doesn’t have the skills to help him. The story is told through the perspective of Grant. The focus during this book was Grant and Jefferson’s relationship to remodel every man throughout the story and teach every a lesson concerning human dignity. The most important character is Jefferson’s defense lawyer as he was the man that allowed Jefferson to lose his dignity and self-respect. Jefferson’s lawyer is the image of society’s racism and because of him, Jefferson is referred to as a “hog” and as a result of this it sees him automatically assumed he’s guilty due to his race. Even though the lawyer is assigned as a lawyer to “protect” him, he does not care concerning the person one way or another.
During the 1940’s times were ruled by segregation and racism. Throughout that time period, African Americans had no say in society. For example, within the book it shows Jefferson within the courtroom getting prosecuted for one thing that he didn’t commit. Because the lawyer said himself that at the beginning of the trial “The Defense argued that Jefferson was innocent from all charges except being at the wrong place at the wrong time” (Gaines pg.7). This meant nothing to the jury because of the time period during this book. From the start of the case, it showed some ways that the lawyer defending Jefferson failed to believe this man was innocent because o...

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...en being black verses being white in that time period. Gaines used this character to indicate that it’s the color of your skin to determine whether or not you get a simple or unjust case, and whether or not you 're a free man or not. Gaines used several examples that were used to emphasize stress on the community as well as the courtroom. For example, by describing the judge’s look within the end of the courtroom scene promptly gave a clear image on how racist society was towards African Americans because it represents what race is dominant over the others. Jefferson’s lawyer is an image of society’s racism because of him defending Jefferson as a “hog” because he sees him as one, he automatically assumes he 's guilty due to his race, and because he is assigned as a lawyer to “protect” him, he doesn 't care about anything concerning the Jefferson one way or another.

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