Lesson Before Dying

In "A Lesson Before Dying", Mr. Grant Wiggins' life crises were the
center of the story. Although he was supposed to make Jefferson into a man, he
himself became more of one consequently. Not to say that Jefferson was not in
any way transformed from the "hog" he was into an actual man, but I
believe this story was really written about Mr. Wiggins. Mr. Wiggins improved as
a person greatly in this book, and that helped his relationships with other
people for the most part. At the start of the book, he more or less hated

Jefferson, but after a while he became his friend and probably the only person

Jefferson felt he could trust. The turning point in their relationship was the
one visit in which Jefferson told Mr. Wiggins that he wanted a gallon of ice
cream, and that he never had enough ice cream in his whole life. At that point

Jefferson confided something in Mr. Wiggins, something that I didn't see

Jefferson doing often at all in this book. The first instance in which Jefferson
breaks his somber barrier and shows emotions is when "I saw a slight smile
come to his face, and it was not a bitter smile. Not bitter at all"(157).

At that point, he became a man, not a hog. As far as the story tells, he never
showed any sort of emotion before the shooting or after up until that point. A
hog cannot show emotions, but a man can. There is the epiphany of the story,
where Mr. Wiggins realizes that the purpose of life is to help make the world a
better place, and at that time he no longer minds visiting Jefferson and begins
becoming his friend. Mr. Wiggins' relationship with his Aunt declined in this
story, although it was never very strong. His Aunt treated him as if he should
be a hog and always obey; yet, she wanted him to make a hog into a man. His Aunt
was not a very nice person, she would only show kindness towards a person who
shared many of her views, and therefore was probably a very hard person to get
along with. The way Mr. Wiggins regarded his relationships most likely would
have been different were he white. Mr. Wiggins feels, and rightly so, that
several white men try to mock or make a fool of him throughout the story. This
was a time of racial discrimination with much bigotry, so if the story took
place in the present, it would be much different. In fact, there probably would
have not even been this story because in the modern day, an honest and just jury
would have found him innocent due to the lack of evidence. It wasn't really
clear what sort of situation Mr. Wiggins was in regarding money, but he could
not have been too well off because he needed to borrow money to purchase a radio
for Jefferson, and he commented about the Rainbow Cafe: "When I was broke,

I could always get a meal and pay later, and the same went for the
bar."(168) I suppose he had enough money to get by, but not much extra. As
the book progresses he probably had less money to work with due to the money he
was spending to buy the radio, comic books, and other items for Jefferson. Mr.

Wiggins seemed to be well respected by the community, and he felt superior to
other African Americans because he was far more educated than they were. That
makes Mr. Wiggins guilty of not practicing what he preaches, although Jefferson
probably made it clearer to him that the less intelligent are still humans with
feelings. At the start of the book, Mr. Wiggins did not understand this. He went
to visit Jefferson because Miss Emma and his Aunt more or less forced him to do
it. He really had no motivation except that his Aunt would shun him if he did
not comply. The whole process of Mr. Wiggins' development and the plot of this
story both spawn from the crimes of two characters with no other relevance to
the story. After the police found Jefferson at the liquor store with the dead
bodies all around, he was of course taken to trial and the times being what they
were, he was convicted with very little doubt that he would be found innocent.

Miss Emma, his godmother was afraid that he would die a hog and have lived a
meaningless life. She