A Lesson Before Dying

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 11th grade February 2008

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A Lesson Before Dying, and Snow Falling On Cedars Essay Cyclops, a one eyed monster, who only sees situations from one point of view, and does not bother to understand another persons views, similar to those who are racist. Within the two novels, "A Lesson Before Dying", written by Ernest Gaines, and "Snow Falling on Cedars", written by, David Guterson, the main characters suffer from their societies narrow-minded views, and prejudice insight. These two distinct societies are both able and willing to send men to face the death penalty based on their skin color. This type of discrimination has caused the main characters extreme amounts of pain and agony for generations; we see this through the unjustified treatment of minorities, the effect of racism on the characters, and the effect of racism within the society.

Within their narrow-minded world, we would hope that professionals, the people who these characters trust with their lives, would be able to put their beliefs behind them, and truly argue a case, which they believe to be true.

"Gentlemen of the Jury, be merciful. For God's sake, be merciful. He is innocent of all charges brought against him. But let us say he was not. Let us for a moment say he was not. What justice would there be to take this life? Justice, Gentlemen? Why, I would just as soon put a hog in the electric chair as this" ("A Lesson Before Dying" Ernest Gaines, page 8.) Hog, the use of such a derogatory word to defend a black boy, charged with murder, does not do anything except take away from his manhood. The reader is able to see the lawyers true feeling towards Jefferson. He does not believe that Jefferson is innocent. Instead, he insults this boy because...