Education Of Jefferson: Character Analysis Of Jefferson In A Lesson Before Dying By Ernest Gaines

2577 words - 10 pages

Society in America has greatly bastardized the words of individualism, pretentious, selfishness, and ego. It is tough for me to recall the amount of times I hear "It's not good to be better than anyone else," and "You have to sacrifice yourself for society, because the happiness of everyone else is more important than your own happiness." Those who iterate those words make far greater transgressions than Jefferson and even Brother, the man who murdered Mr.Grope. Because its those men and women who are the usurpers of freedom, destroyers of dreams, and thieves of humanity. For it is through the greatly tarnished words: selfishness, egoism, and individualism, that it is ever possible for Jefferson to become a man and accomplish what a society couldn't imagine possible: become a hero. The key to manhood is solely individualism. Individualism is "A man's spirit... is his self. That entity which is his consciousness. To think, to feel, to judge, to act are functions of the ego."- (Ayn Rand, The Fountainhead) Individualism requires of a person the ideals of desire, emotion, and convictions. Desire is simply the ability to want or enjoy something. Emotions are the feelings and thoughts that you have for people, events, or ideas, which include can love or hate. Convictions are your beliefs of "what is worth fighting for," and "what is right and wrong." That is the basic template for being a man. The road to becoming a hero requires much more, though. As former General Norman Schwarzkopf said, "The truth of the matter is that you always know the right thing to do. The hard part is doing it." To become a hero is to stand up for your beliefs and for those you care about; even nobler is to be willing to fight or even die for your convictions or those people who you hold dear. Such a trial isn't easy; as Jefferson would put it, "Y'all asking a lot..."(Gaines 222). With Jefferson's and Grant's courage and conviction, it is a mountain that both can climb. Jefferson's advance to heroism is not a revolutionary achievement, but one of evolution. Fools do not become men over night, nor do men become heroes in the progression of a day. Heroism for lack of a better word, is a disease. It is one of those fantastic entities which grows onto a person and then spreads to everyone around that person. Jefferson's evolution begins with his most basic individualistic trait of desire, and then moves onto human emotion, then to the most powerful of all individualist characteristics, convictions. Through individualism and bravery is it ever possible for the characters in A Lesson Before Dying to transcend from their spiritual deprivation and become nearly gods.Desire is the idea of wanting or longing for something you don't have, which is also called greed. The ability to want and to enjoy objects, ideas, and people, is a trait given only to man. "Hogs" do not have the ability to chase dreams and to enjoy things with the same passion as man does. Animals rather act on instinct;...

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