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A change in characters in A Lesson Before dying

            One of the many human abilities is being able to grow and change with the different situations that may arise. In the novel A Lesson Before Dying, a story set in the 1940s in a racist town of Bayonne, Louisiana; author, Ernest J. Gains illustrates this human ability through his characters' words and actions. Three of his characters, Paul Bonin, Grant Wiggins, and Jefferson, all show signs of significant change, all due to a tragic court sentence and incarceration. Paul Bonin, the white Bayonne deputy undergoes a physiological change when he develops a relationship with two black men, which is highly unlikely in Bayonne at that time. Grant Wiggins, the grade school teacher, learns the value of change, and that even the slightest change is important. And then there is Jefferson, the wrongly accused and wrongly convicted victim, who initially gives up on his life as a human being, but then learns that he does matter, and is, in fact an important person. In the novel A Lesson Before Dying, Gaines uses Jefferson's tragic court sentence and incarceration, to bring about a positive change in many of his characters, specifically Paul Bonin, Grant Wiggins and Jefferson, he uses the time they spent together to help them grow and change together through their words and actions.
             Bayonnes' Deputy, Paul Bonin changes the way he thinks and acts, when he develops a close relationship with two black men. Paul, being Jefferson's prison guard, spends time with him and during that time Paul develops a close relationship with him. This is evident, when only days from the execution Jefferson asks, " You go'n be there, Paul?' Paul nodded. Yes Jefferson. I'll be there' -(Gaines 245). By being at a very important time in Jefferson's, life and death, shows that Paul had in a fact developed a close relation with him. Another point that proves that Paul has a relationship with a black man is when the electrocution is over, Jefferson is dead and he is talking with Grant.

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