The Negative Construction of the Black Male Character Illustrated in Ernest Gaines’ Book, a Lesson Before Dying

February 11, 2021 by Essay Writer

Everything didn’t go as planned, he just wanted to go home!

Lesson Before Dying has a book to world connection. In Lesson Before Dying the experiences of black male characters relate to racism within the south and the ultimate dehumanization/emasculation, negative stereotypes, and criminalization of the black man. Black men get treated differently than any other male that is on earth.

Trayvon Martin because he was black he just had to be stealing SHOT!

Here are reasons why Lesson Before Dying is a book to world connection and shows racism:

Within a lesson before dying, racism is illustrated in many ways, predominantly through the dehumanizing experiences of black male characters. The defender described Jefferson as a “Hog”. Being called a “Boy” “Fool” and “Hog” isn’t a good feeling for Jefferson at all isn’t a good feeling for anybody at all. “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.” No matter how hard anyone tries to help Jefferson get out of jail because they know he didn’t do the crime it just wont work not only because he is black but because he was last seen at the crime scene. If the story was the other way around would Old Grope’ be sentenced to the electric chair so soon? Or would he just get away? A book to world connection would be the Trayvon Martin case because Zimmerman was a white man he did get sentenced a long time in prison. On the other hand, if it was a black person who has done the shooting they would have locked him up for 10 to 20 years. Dehumanization play a key role in today’s life and in the book Lessons Before Dying.

A lesson before dying illustrates racism using negative stereotypes that the black male characters are forced to be, ultimately oppressing them. “A white man had been killed during a robbery, and though two of the robbers had been killed on the spot, one had been captured, and he, too, would have to die.” Just because Jefferson was black they assumed that he did the crime with no questions being asked. (Noting that he was at the cash register when the white men saw him taking the money). Just how Trayvon Martian walked to the store just to get skittles and an Arizona tea and was shot by a white man Zimmerman because he was black with a hoodie on and Zimmerman was afraid. Life isn’t easy and is way to short, but it isn’t right to just up and take someone’s life away because of they way they look or because of something that took place with them.

Finally, a lesson before dying illustrates racism through the unjust criminalization of black male characters reflecting clear inequality. It’s not good to have people talking about what’s going on with your life around town but who are we to control what they say? In the bar Grant stated he heard two men talking about Jefferson. “Should have burned him months ago,”. “That kind of sonofabitch make it hard on everybody “. Nobody would like to have their mood changed because some people think its okay to talk about something that has nothing at all to do with them. A world connection from the book is nobody really knows what happened with the Trayvon Martin case but as we all (Blacks) look at it, it proves to us that it can be racism not only because Trayvon was black, and a white man killed him but because with no questions asked (a as stated earlier in my essay) Zimmerman shot him because of the fact he had on a hoodie and was black. People walking around saying how Zimmerman got locked up for this amount of years and not giving out the right information makes it harder for the people who going through the case with Trayvon.

Overall, a Lesson Before Dying teaches you a lot about how others look at you and who’s there for you and who really isn’t there for you. Dehumanization, Criminalization, and Stereotypes plays a key role of racism in the book A Lesson Before Dying and in the real world. My beliefs are everyone should do the right things no matter how hurtful or hard it may be.


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