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A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines

            According to Henrik Ibsen, "The strongest man in the world is he who stands most alone". In other words, what this quote means is that the strongest man is the most independent; individuals who do not need to rely on others. Individuals who stand alone are the ones who realize the strength within themselves and become powerful characters. This quote is valid because individuals who like to take actions on their own and accomplish their goals without caring about what any one has to say turn out to be the most successful. Two works of literature that support the validity of this statement are, A Lesson before Dying by Ernest Gaines and Of Mice and Men by John Steinbeck proves this quote to be true through conflict and characterization. .
             In A Lesson before Dying the author uses conflict to show that a man who is mostly by himself in a difficult situation is stronger alone then accompanied. In the novel the protagonist Grant, struggles to make a convicted black man named Jefferson to be a man before he is sentenced to death. The town that Grant's resides in is mostly dominated by white people. Most people in the town highly doubt Grant will be able to do this. With barley anyone on his side, Grant still managed to be brave and strong for himself and for Jefferson even with people trying to put him down. Throughout the book the author shows how Grant manages to change Jefferson but at a slow pace. Grant says "We looked at each other, and I could see in those big reddened eyes that he was not going to scream. He was full of anger - and who could blame him? But he was no fool. He needed me, and he wanted me here, if only to insult me" (130). Jefferson at one point is bothered by Grants visits because he is not used to people being kind to him at all. It is not something Jefferson appreciates, even with how rude Jefferson was acting towards Grant; Grant continued to show that he was not going to leave him anytime soon.

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