– racist, arrogant, superior, unsympathetic, unpleasant, suspicious (p.46)
– accepting demands of Miss Emma and Tante Lou (p.118)–> wif’e’s influence
– questions regularly the situation (p.115) –> control
– thinks of his reputation even among the blacks/ Jefferson ( p.204)
–> Sam Guidry had not learnt any lesson yet since he keeps his prejudicial and superior position. He uses every possible means to maintain white supremacy and only cares for his reputation.
– white example for equality
– in the beginning ,no racist thinking but passive, not showing attitude openly
– in the end, going to the black funeral standing up for his way of thinking
–> change from passive player to acrtive one
What I have learnt from the Ernest J. Gaines’ novel ” A Lesson Before dying” is the right to voice for the rights one has. What is more, the accent is put on positive egality and respect each and every human being deserves so that prejudices and superficiality shall be condemned contrary to the questioning of the contemporary system.
Hey my dear,
I’ve been thinking about what will happen to Jefferson soon, about what progress he made, about what Jefferson means to me. You know, it profoundly affects me. You also know my initial attitude since I never wanted to do this. I avoid conflicts but Miss Emma and Tante Loue insisted on me to do them the favour of creating a man out of Jefferson, out of a hog, out of nothing. This task, it is priced at overcoming. I must have faced so many hindrances, humiliation, ignorance. I am not capable of outlining my feelings. It is so hard.
I suppose, the development between Jefferson and me is of tremendous importance. According to the talks held, you acknowledge the positions we kept. While I was kind of forced, Jefferson represented the unresponsive, ignorant and desperate counter part. In the course of my visits, you know we approached each other, he began to show his emotions whose expression he never was capable of. What is more, we became close friends, despite the obstacles we faced. The white people, the pressure from outside which can be considered with Tante Loue, Miss Emma, Reverend Mose. Nevertheless, Jefferson is the victim of the white supremacy and oppression, a model of the injustice ruling here in our present and grievous society. He never got something, he must subordinate others, his whole life. Hence, I noticed that Jefferson and me, we have so much in common… We cannot accept our miserable situation in here. Jefferson is the ideal example of what the black community may achieve, a human being with dignity and with each and every other virtue, if there were no injustice, prejudices, the whites’ maintenance of their authority.
I am deeply hurt with regard to the coming verdict’s realization. He, my closest friend, my soul mate… I cannot even imagine!
Vivian how may life go on like this?
In the following test, jefferson, the protagonist of Ernest J. Gaines’ novel “A Lesson Before Dying”will be characterized according to the first twelve chapters.
Jefferson whose surname is not known yet, is a black man of twenty-one years old. He lives in Louisana in the late 1940s and used to work on plantations “…he knew that the grinding season was coming soon…” (p.8. l.5f.). Miss Emma, Jefferson’s godmother shares the home and she means everything to him and vice versa “- mama, grandmother, godmother” (p.11, l.30). As she raised him, the relationship must be very close ” He knew taking money was wrong. His nannan told him never to steal. He didn’t want to steal. “(p.10, l.1f.). With regard to his behaviour concerning the crime of taking money and killing 3 men, Jefferson obviously is no human of intelligence but of ignorance ” But he was talking to a dead man. Still he did not run. He didn’t know what to do. He didn’t believe that tis happened. Again, he couldn’t remember how he had gotten there. “(p.9, l.22ff.). Apart from that, poverty and inexperience are terms reigning his life since ” He had never dialed a telephone in his life ” (p.9, l.29) and ” he didn’t have a solitary dime ” (p.8, l.2f.). His action of not only stealing money but also the nonaction result from Jefferson’s cowardice. Therefore, ” animal ” (p.10, l.15), ” hunger and plain stupidity ” (p.10 , l.26), ” a boy and a fool ” ( p. 10, l.34) are according to the defence lawyer suitable terms describing Jefferson. In order to get a positive verdict, he is even depicted as a ” hog” (p. 12, l.5). Calling Jefferson a hog alludes also the subordination and humiliation since animals are not capable of thinking and judging and they lack a conscience , so they are less worth than human beings.”… a thing that acts on command” (p.11, l.12) appeals the inferiority and ignorance of that individual. In addition, at Miss Emma’s and Grant Wiggins’ first visit in jail , he does not pay attention to them, they are ignored and that is the reason why Jefferson is unresponsive and rejects other people, separating himself from humanity (p.66 , l.33ff.). This preceding statement is stressed if one considers the fact that the convicted Jefferson pretends to be a hog by behaving impolitely while eating (p.76, l.29ff.) and by having no conscience and no emotions (p.76. l. 19ff.). Due to the verdict and the claim of being a hog, one the one hand, Jefferson isolates himself from the human beings and on the other hand from the society and hence he is alone, coping the grievance notwithstanding that his fellow men consisting of particularly Miss Emma and Grant Wiggins care for Jefferson.