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by brittdawg22, September 02, 2013

272 out of 282 people found this helpful

The main conflict of A Lesson Before Dying lies within Grant himself. Even though Grant struggles to manage in the racist white society, his primary struggle is with his own mind. As he says to Vivian, he cannot face Jefferson because he cannot face himself and his own life. Vivian exposes Grant’s conflicted nature by bringing up the fact that he left the South in the past but eventually returned. Grant feels repulsed by the environment in which he grew up, but somehow he cannot bring himself to leave. Despite his statement that Vivian’s presence is the reason that he remains in Bayonne, Vivian knows that there are larger issues at play here. The novel shows that Grant’s pride and self-centered qualities prevent him from truly appreciating the people with whom he lives. When he finally learns how to view his family and friends positively, he becomes able to live in the South with strength and courage.


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