In A Lesson Before Dying, how does Jefferson's relationship with other people or groups or society help him realize something about himself?

Through life-long experiences of discrimination and racism, including in the criminal justice system, Jefferson has developed a low opinion of his own abilities. At the end of his life, his interactions with Grant while incarcerated help him to see things in a different light, and his self-esteem grows.

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As a poor Black man growing up in the Jim Crow era, Jefferson constantly experienced discrimination and racism from many members of the dominant white society. With a dim view of the opportunities available to him and receiving little encouragement, Jefferson developed very little confidence in his ability to overcome...

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As a poor Black man growing up in the Jim Crow era, Jefferson constantly experienced discrimination and racism from many members of the dominant white society. With a dim view of the opportunities available to him and receiving little encouragement, Jefferson developed very little confidence in his ability to overcome the oppressive status quo. These factors are all clearly on view in his interactions with the criminal justice system. The law views his involvement as equal to that of the robber and tries him accordingly. The actions of his defense attorney, who openly derides and dehumanizes him, do not attempt to get him acquitted. All twelve members of the jury are white. The trial only confirms to him that the system was fatally flawed and that society does not value his life.

The interactions that Jefferson has with Grant, therefore, constitute a novel experience. While he is incarcerated, he is finally encouraged to communicate his thoughts, both within his journal and with an educated Black man who takes his ideas seriously. Their sessions together help Jefferson to believe that his ideas have value, which contributes to raising his self-esteem. Unfortunately, these positive experiences occur within the confines of the prison and only in the last days of his life.

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