what do these two holidays symbolize, how do these holidays tie into the outcome of the novel?
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At the Christmas pageant, Jefferson arouses pity among the audience rather than respect, as they have for Joe Louis and Jackie Robinson. It is Jefferson’s transformation into this kind of hero that is so challenging to Grant. Certainly Christmas represents a sense of hope that Jefferson is somehow born again with a different identity. Easter is another holiday of significance. Although it is some time before Grant recognizes that Jefferson is making progress, Jefferson’s recognition of a role model is significant. The passage also sets up the novel’s portrayal of Jefferson as a Christ figure. Although Jefferson does not seem to have much in common with Christ at this point in the book, he learns from his ordeal in prison. Like Jesus, Jefferson’s spiritual purification culminates in his execution. Death is part of the young man’s development into a symbol of innocence and moral purity.
“Easter was when they nailed Him to the cross. And He never said a mumbling word.” pg 139