Reader's View of the Black Male in "A Lesson Before Dying"

Reader's View of the Black Male in "A Lesson Before Dying"

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The reader's view of the black male is one of an oppressed male forced to bear the burdens of their ancestors and discriminated and put down to the level of a hog. When Jefferson's lawyer implies that putting him on the death chair would be the same as putting a hog there, he also attacks the whole race of African American when he tells the jury that is could not be capable of murdering someone, he is uneducated and he is a thing that acts on command, a thing to hold the handle of a plow or load your bales of cotton. Even if Jefferson is innocent the jury and judge's plans would have been already to classify him as guilty, because there is race superiority demonstrated in this society at this time. So the jury nor the judge will see truth or justice. We view the black male as treated as inferior in this book, because of the impact of slavery and racism left in the town of Bayonne.

We view the white male as superior in this story, We know this because when Grant Wiggins visits pichot and Sheriff Guidry he must watch how he says things because he cannot appear smarter than them, so he has to say everything ending with sir. When Grant waits for the sheriff to see him when he is going to ask him if he can visit Jefferson in jail, the sheriff keeps him waiting. When asked if he was waiting long, he replies that he has by accident instead of saying "not too long." Even if the sheriff and deputy do not see Jefferson as guilty, because they are white they must keep their beliefs to themselves. We see some compassion towards Jefferson from the deputy and we know that he knows in his heart that he is innocent when he shaves Jefferson's head in preperation for death.

We get a view of strong women in the story by looking at Vivian,Aunt Tante Lou and Ms.Emma. Vivian teaches Grant about his lack of consideration for other human beings. Aunt Tante Lou and Jefferson's godmother Ms.Emma. The hold a strong faith in God and are persistant on Grant to help Jefferson. Although Grant is stubborn, they are helpers in letting him see that although Jefferson is waiting for execution, he does not have to die like the hog the town thinks he is, he can die with dignity as a strong black male for a crime he did not commit.

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They push grant to help show that Jefferson's death will not just be another death of black male, but it will be a death that will help provoke change in the society of stop stereotypes of that race. We see this at the end of the story when Guidry tries to organize the execution in a "civilized" fashion, showing his deepened respect for the human being to be killed, the young man he once referred to as the "contented hog." A small but suddle change.

The white woman almost also plays the same role as the white male. She is a subject who promotes racism, an oppressor. The white saleswoman becomes upset when Grant asks for a new radio because she wants to give the more-or-less used radio to the black man

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