Lesson Before Dying Theme

Theme Throughout many novels authors use themes to reveal the plot. Relationships, love, and loyalty are a few themes that Ernest J. Gaines used in A Lesson Before Dying. However, the most apparent theme is racism. Jefferson is sentenced to death by a white judge and jury for a crime that he did not commit. The judge did not contemplate his decision on Jefferson’s fate for long. He was quick to make a decision that would affect the lives of many in Jefferson’s community. Grant Wiggens was a very well educated black male who was treated unfairly in many situations because of his skin color. Grant waited on several occasions to talk to Henri Pichot. Though Pichot asked that Grant come to his house, Pichot still made him wait hours just so that he could continue talking to his white friends. When Grant went to the store to buy a radio for Jefferson he was not attended to. When he was finally helped by the sales clerk, he was quickly denied service when a white customer entered the store. “Another white woman came into the store”?The clerk went to see what the white woman wanted. The other woman was not buying anything; she only wanted to talk. So they stood there about ten minutes before the clerk came back to wait on me[Jefferson]” (176). Though whites and blacks lived in the same town, the whites possessed the schools, churches, and movie theaters in the upskirts of town. The blacks were separated by being forced the use the services in the back of town. The whites had bathrooms in easily accessible places; while the blacks used the restroom’s in the basement. Racism still exists today, in society. However, It is not in the extreme as it was in the early 1900’s. By reading this novel and learning about the issues that the colored faced, we can help modify and change the future. …

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