A Lesson Before Dying

What did the author want you to think about the main character ?

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Grant Wiggins, the narrator of A Lesson Before Dying, is a disaffected African-American schoolteacher living in the quarter. Raised by his Tante Lou for unknown reasons (his parents are alive and live in California), Grant is more educated than most of the people, black or white, in the region, and is accorded high social status because of this. However, he feels oppressed in the South because of his race, and longs to move to the North and take up a different profession. A pivitol moment for Grant is when he tells Jefferson that he persists in visiting the prison not because he feels obliged to his aunt or Miss Emma, but because Vivian encouraged him to. For Gaines, love is a more powerful influence than selfishness, duty, or even society at large. Vivian's love also transforms Grant in smaller ways--for example, she influences him to become more dedicated to his job and hold a Christmas pageant for the children, something he would be unable to do otherwise. And significantly, it is kindness from Grant and the townspeople rather than preaching from Reverend Ambrose that finally convinces Jefferson to behave with dignity.