"A Lesson Before Dying" by Ernest Gaines

Essay by Ryan StrassburgerCollege, UndergraduateC+, December 1996

download word file, 4 pages 3.8

In A Lesson Before Dying, Mr. Grant Wiggins' life crises were the center of the story.

Although he was supposed to make Jefferson into a man, he himself became more of one as a

result. Not to say that Jefferson was not in any way transformed from the 'hog' he was into an

actual man, but I believe this story was really written about Mr. Wiggins.

Mr. Wiggins improved as a person greatly in this book, and that helped his relationships

with other people for the most part. At the start of the book, he more or less hated Jefferson, but

after a while he became his friend and probably the only person Jefferson felt he could trust. The

turning point in their relationship was the one visit in which Jefferson told Mr. Wiggins that he

wanted a gallon of ice cream, and that he never had enough ice cream in his whole life.

At that

point Jefferson confided something in Mr. Wiggins, something that I didn't see Jefferson doing

often at all in this book.

'I saw a slight smile come to his face, and it was not a bitter smile. Not bitter at all'; this

is the first instance in which Jefferson breaks his somber barrier and shows emotions. At that

point he became a man, not a hog. As far as the story tells, he never showed any sort of emotion

before the shooting or after up until that point. A hog can't show emotions, but a man can. There

is the epiphany of the story, where Mr. Wiggins realizes that the purpose of life is to help make

the world a better place, and at that time he no longer minds visiting Jefferson and begins

becoming his friend.

Mr. Wiggins' relationship with his Aunt declined...