In A Lesson Before Dying, why do they compare Jefferson to Jesus?

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Karen P.L. Hardison | College Teacher | eNotes Employee

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There are several circumstances toward the end of A Lesson Before Dying that do the most to explain a comparison between Jefferson and Jesus. One circumstance is that Jefferson is executed on Good Friday. Good Friday is important because it is the day on which Jesus was executed, or crucified. This shared day, a holy day, establishes an analogy between Jefferson and Jesus through the similar details of their deaths. Another circumstance is that Wiggins connects Jefferson's last days, the time during which Jefferson keeps a journal, with both teaching and believing. The concept of belief ties Jefferson to Jesus because Jesus taught belief and embodied belief. A third circumstance is that Wiggins concludes that Jefferson was the real teacher between the two of them and a true teacher. Jesus is conventionally referred to as a great teacher or a true teacher. This third analogy between Jefferson and Jesus deepens the reasons for why Jefferson is compared to Jesus.

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