Louis Jefferson Character Analysis

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Jefferson begins to change when Grant talks of bringing a notebook for him. While Grant is visiting Jefferson, he brings up the idea of a notebook by saying, “I was just thinking maybe I could bring you a little notebook and a pencil. You could write your thoughts down, and we could talk about it when I came back” (Gaines 185). This notebook proves to be critical in Jefferson’s transformation, as the contents of the notebook serve as one of the final chapters of the book. After Grant talks about bringing a notebook for Jefferson, there is an immediate change. Prior, Jefferson sees everything as hopeless. For example, when his godmother offers him chicken, he replies “Chicken, dirt, it don’t matter.” (Gaines 73). Jefferson questions the point…show more content…
And, whether Jefferson sees this immediately or not, he ultimately takes advantage of it. The promise of this opportunity changes Jefferson’s outlook on his execution, as seen by the progression from introversion to some level of extroversion and expression, especially around Grant. Grant partially elicits this change. For example, he tells Jefferson, “Do you know what a hero is, Jefferson? A hero is someone who does something for other people. He does something that other men do not and cannot do. He is different from other men. He is above other men. No matter who those other men are, the hero, no matter who he is, is above them” (Gaines 191). Grant makes a hero out of Jefferson. He believes that Jefferson, despite his coming death, can make those around him happy. Grant even observes that Jefferson now stands “big and tall, and not stooped as he had been in chains” (Gaines 225). “Chains” is this sense, can be related to the oppressive nature of the society that imprisoned him. Literally, Jefferson is still in chains since he is still imprisoned and still facing his death. However, Grant sees that Jefferson is not stooped and not bound by societal…show more content…
This exemplifies the social barriers being broken down, although subtly, since whites and blacks alike are gathering in a singular crowd, all facing the courthouse where Jefferson will be executed. Jefferson, in this sense, is bringing members of the community together, uniting them. Jefferson’s “pending death serves as a cultural function in the community” (Brown n.p.). This cultural function is not divided along racial lines. Grant’s transformation as a teacher also effectively breaks down racial barriers. While Paul Bonin has always been kind to Grant and Jefferson, the final chapter of the book is where he voices his opposition to the oppression when he tells Grant, “Allow me to be your friend, Grant Wiggins. I don’t ever want to forget this day. I don’t ever want to forget him” (Gaines 255). Grant’s development breaks racial barriers by now including Paul in his cause. The support of Paul, a white man, is significant to the needed community change. By being Grant’s friend, he is making himself an equal to Grant. This is because a friend implies that there is no power being held over another. This friendship between a white and black in this racially defined society hints at the potential for significant

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