Transition From Hog To Man

Essay by PaperNerd ContributorCollege, Undergraduate May 2001

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Essay 1: ?Motivation by Hog? The characters in A Lesson Before Dying are provoked by the word ?hog?. After Jefferson?s attorney compares him to a hog in the opening chapter, Miss Emma begins a personal crusade, with the assistance of Grant, to prove to herself and to the surrounding community that her godson is not a hog. During Grant?s first visit to Jefferson in jail, Jefferson eats the food that she has sent him on his hands and knees because ?that?s how a old hog eat.? The word ?hog?, after a closer examination of the novel, are used to both humiliate and redeem the characters.

Teacher Grant Wiggins has been instructed by his Aunt to satisfy Miss Emma?s request and see to it that Jefferson is a man by the time he reaches his deathbed. Grant does not feel that he can make a difference in life, especially since he is not sure of what it means to be a man himself.

Throughout the course of the novel, Jefferson does change to Grant?s consistent prodding and explanation that he should do it just because he loves his godmother. Grant is redeemed since he discovers that he can make a difference in the lives of people he comes in contact with, especially his students. Jefferson explains to Grant in his journal that no one else has ever loved or cared for him before as he did throughout his lifetime. Through this experience with Jefferson, Grant has determined that his students do not have to end up like his grade school classmates did. They all can have a little maturity instilled in them.

The word ?hog? specifically disgraces Jefferson and his family the most. It symbolic of his incompetence to be able to comprehend what he did. Miss Emma knows that...