A Lesson Before Dying Essay

1316 words - 6 pages

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A Lesson before Dying
The church is a significant symbol of hope and contradiction in A Lesson before Dying. The contradiction of the church, situated in Henri Pichot’s plantation, commences with its owner’s reluctance to enhance the lives of the African Americans who reside in his plantation. Henri believes that that the African Americans ought to remain in their status as slaves regardless of the abolishment of the slavery institution (Piacentino 73-85). Henri, through the church, possesses considerable powers over the African Americans who utilize his property, and this illustrates the contradiction that is present in the lives of the African ...view middle of the document...

This is contradictory considering that at the time, most of the African Americans were being oppressed and one of them; Jefferson, was awaiting execution (Piacentino 78-85). The Reverend considers Grant foolish for abandoning his religion and that his influence on Jefferson would be sinful since he did not follow the ways of the church to the latter, owing to the reality that he was an agnostic. This strife reaches a head the moment Grand purchases a radio for Jefferson, which the elders in the black society considered sinful. The Reverend becomes worried that Grant was not teaching Jefferson regarding God, and, therefore, begins to visit him frequently. Jefferson frustrates all the attempts by Ambrose to interact with him prior to his execution. Reverend Ambrose approaches Grant regarding Jefferson, requesting him to assist him to teach Jefferson regarding God since his attempts were futile, and Grant was the only person that Jefferson was free enough with to open up to (Piacentino 78-85). Albeit he initially attempts to frustrate Grant from reaching out to him, Jefferson eventually opens up to him, and they remain friends until Jefferson is executed. Reverend Ambrose is disturbed with such association, and he implores Grant to save his soul by abandoning his agnostic convictions. Nevertheless, the Reverend indicates that lying is essential for the survival of the African Americans. He states that he is aware that Grant looks down on him for lying, and he admits that he does lie so as relieve people’s suffering. Additionally, he states that people lie to themselves and others so as to make life bearable (Piacentino 78-85). This goes against the precepts of the Bible that are intended to guide him in his endeavors as God’s messenger.
Another contradiction with the church is that it segregates the African Americans from the White Americans. All men are even in the sight of God, and the church ought to reflect this quality. Nevertheless, only the African Americans attend the church in Henri’s plantation while the White Americans have their own churches (Gaines 15). The church is illustrated as a place where racial discrimination is rife, and this goes against the purpose of a church within a society. The White Americans are indifferent to Jefferson’s impending execution. The story in the book commences with the murder of Mr. Grope by two black men. Jefferson, who was an innocent bystander, was charged with and convicted of the murder. There was no substantial evidence that linked him to the crime. His mere proximity at the scene of the crime as an African American individual had him accused of committing the crime (Gaines 3-6). Only individuals from the African Americans were the ones who seemed concerned about his situation, and they are also the ones who tried to comfort him in the course of the process. Only Deputy Paul Bonin was the only individual from the White American society, who perhaps...

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