Discuss the significance of Jefferson’s last words in A Lesson Before Dying.

The significance of Jefferson’s last words is that they show he accepted his death with dignity and courage. When he said “Tell Nannan I walked” he meant that he walked to the electric chair without needing to be dragged there.

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Under the circumstances, Jefferson could’ve been forgiven for fighting tooth and nail right up until the last, for resisting his execution with everything he had. After all, he’s completely innocent of any crime, the victim of systemic racial injustice. In his shoes, many people would need to be dragged to...

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Under the circumstances, Jefferson could’ve been forgiven for fighting tooth and nail right up until the last, for resisting his execution with everything he had. After all, he’s completely innocent of any crime, the victim of systemic racial injustice. In his shoes, many people would need to be dragged to the execution chamber. But Jefferson has accepted his terrible fate with calmness and resignation. Courageous and dignified to the last, he wants Miss Emma, whom he calls his “Nannan,” to know that he didn’t need to be dragged to the electric chair—he walked there with his head held high.

Jefferson’s last words are also a testament to the enormous and positive impact that Grant had upon his life. Thanks to Grant, Jefferson wasn’t just able to stand tall in the face of oppression and injustice, but to walk to his final end. But this wasn't all one-way traffic; Jefferson also had a positive impact on Grant's life. Because of his relationship with Jefferson, Grant has considerably developed his emotional intelligence, transforming himself from a cynical, bitter man to a caring and compassionate teacher. Furthermore, the courageous, dignified manner of Jefferson’s death has transformed that death into a celebration of life among the local community.

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