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Hundreds of people are executed every year but what are their last thoughts In the novel A Lesson Before Dying by Richard E Gaines Jefferson a black man is convicted for a murder he didnt commit and sentenced to death His lawyer degrades Jefferson by referring to him as a hog and Grant is forced to teach Jefferson that he is not a hog but a man In the end Grant and Jefferson become friends and Jefferson goes to the electric chair with dignity and strength Grant and Jefferson are able to learn from each other the important lessons of self acceptance friendship and pride for the African American community In the beginning of the story Grant and Jefferson do not fully accept themselves Grant has not fully discovered his inner self nor his self worth He is educated but does not teach for the joy of it but is obsessed with his own problems As the story progresses Grant begins to realize and accept himself and recognizes that he is important not only to himself but to others When Grant and Jefferson finally begin to connect Grant says I feel like a person who just found religion Gaines 123 He is filled with so much happiness because he is finally reaching Jefferson What he is also doing is learning to love himself as a teacher and developing confidence to be pleased with who he is Jefferson too learned the gift of self respect When Jefferson befriends Grant he finds his true self Jefferson says im strong tell them im a good man Gaines 234 Jefferson understands he is not a hog but in fact a human being He sees himself as a good man and accepts who he is This is a crucial lesson that Jefferson and Grant helped each other to learn Friendship is essential in everyones life This is illustrated when Grant is in the dayroom with Jefferson trying to get
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