A Lesson Before Dying: Mr.
Wiggins EssayIn A Lesson Before Dying, Mr. Grant Wiggins’ life crises were the centerof the story. Although he was supposed to make Jefferson into a man, he himselfbecame more of one as a result. Not to say that Jefferson was not in any waytransformed from the ;hog; he was into an actual man, but I believe this storywas really written about Mr. Wiggins. Mr.
Wiggins improved as a person greatly in this book, and that helpedhis relationships with other people for the most part. At the start of thebook, he more or less hated Jefferson, but after a while he became his friendand probably the only person Jefferson felt he could trust. The turning pointin their relationship was the one visit in which Jefferson told Mr. Wiggins thathe wanted a gallon of ice cream, and that he never had enough ice cream in hiswhole life.
At that point Jefferson confided something in Mr. Wiggins,something that I didn’t see Jefferson doing often at all in this book. “I saw a slight smile come to his face, and it was not a bitter smile. Not bitter at all”; this is the first instance in which Jefferson breaks hissomber barrier and shows emotions.
At that point he became a man, not a hog. Asfar as the story tells, he never showed any sort of emotion before the shootingor after up until that point. A hog can’t show emotions, but a man can. Thereis the epiphany of the story, where Mr. Wiggins realizes that the purpose oflife is to help make the world a better place, and at that time he no longerminds visiting Jefferson and begins becoming his friend.
Mr. Wiggins’ relationship with his Aunt declined in this story, althoughit was never very strong. His Aunt treated him like he should be a hog andalways obey, yet she wanted him to make a hog into a man. His Aunt was not avery nice person, she would only show kindness towards people who shared manyof her views, and therefore was probably a very hard person to get along with. The way Mr. Wiggins regarded his relationships most likely would havebeen different were he white.
Mr. Wiggins feels, and rightly so, that severalwhite men try to mock or make a fool of him throughout the story. This was atime of racial discrimination with much bigotry, so if the story took place inthe present, it would be much different. In fact, there probably would have noteven been a book because in the modern day, and honest and just jury would havefound him innocent due to the lack of evidence. It wasn’t really clear what sort of situation Mr.
Wiggins was inregarding money, but he could not have been too well off because he needed toborrow money to purchase a radio for Jefferson, and he commented about theRainbow Cafe: ;When I was broke, I could always get a meal and pay later, andthe same went for the bar. ; I suppose he had enough money to get by, but notmuch extra. As the book progresses he probably had less money to work with dueto the money he was spending to buy the radio, comic books, and other itemsfor Jefferson. Mr.
Wiggins seemed to be well respected by the community, and he feltsuperior to other African Americans because he was far more educated than theywere. That makes Mr. Wiggins guilty of not practicing what he preaches,although Jefferson probably made it clearer to him that the less intelligentare still humans with feelings. At the start of the book, Mr.
Wiggins did notunderstand this. He went to visit Jefferson because Miss Emma and his Aunt moreor less forced him to do it. He really had no motivation except that he wouldbe shunned by his Aunt if he did not comply. The whole process of Mr. Wiggins’ development and the plot of this storyboth spawn from the crimes of two characters with no other relevance to thestory. After the police found Jefferson at the liquor store with the deadbodies all around, he was of course taken to trial and the times being whatthey were, he was convicted with very little doubt that he would be foundinnocent.
Miss Emma, his godmother .