Education of Jefferson: Character Analysis of Jefferson in A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest Gaines

Essay by ICE_ManUniversity, Bachelor'sA+, April 2004

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Society in America has greatly bastardized the words of individualism, pretentious, selfishness, and ego. It is tough for me to recall the amount of times I hear "It's not good to be better than anyone else," and "You have to sacrifice yourself for society, because the happiness of everyone else is more important than your own happiness." Those who iterate those words make far greater transgressions than Jefferson and even Brother, the man who murdered Mr.Grope. Because its those men and women who are the usurpers of freedom, destroyers of dreams, and thieves of humanity. For it is through the greatly tarnished words: selfishness, egoism, and individualism, that it is ever possible for Jefferson to become a man and accomplish what a society couldn't imagine possible: become a hero. The key to manhood is solely individualism. Individualism is "A man's spirit... is his self. That entity which is his consciousness.

To think, to feel, to judge, to act are functions of the ego."- (Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead) Individualism requires of a person the ideals of desire, emotion, and convictions. Desire is simply the ability to want or enjoy something. Emotions are the feelings and thoughts that you have for people, events, or ideas, which include can love or hate. Convictions are your beliefs of "what is worth fighting for," and "what is right and wrong." That is the basic template for being a man. The road to becoming a hero requires much more, though. As former General Norman Schwarzkopf said, "The truth of the matter is that you always know the right thing to do. The hard part is doing it." To become a hero is to stand up for your beliefs and for those you care about; even nobler is to be willing to fight or...