What definition of manhood or humanity does A Lesson Before Dying provide? 

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In the beginning of the novel A Lesson Before Dying Jefferson's lawyer in an attempt to defend him calls him a pig.  He indicates that Jefferson has no ability to think so he could not have done things with thought.  He is trying to help but had deprived Jefferson of his own self-worth as a man.

Grant’s aunt wants Grant to help Jefferson to feel like a man before he dies.  The idea of what makes a man is central to the idea of the story.  As Grant helps to teach and educate Jefferson he helps to establish a bond with the man.  As Jefferson has the chance to talk with Grant and learn he becomes more aware that he is a man with ideas and thoughts and not an animal.

Grant helps Jefferson to identify himself as a man by giving him a voices to be heard.  Being a man is about recognizing that one is a man first.  Grant in many ways had not fully recognized his own manhood.


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