Transformation of Strong Black Men Thesis

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¶ … Strength of Women Depicted in Gaines' Lesson Before Dying

In Ernest Gaines' novel, a Lesson Before Dying, Grant undergoes an awakening and a transformation as he comes to terms with what it means to be a man. He could never have achieved this transformation on his own because he was still bitter, living with a painful past. His life would have taken a completely different path would it not have been for the powerful female influences in his life urging him to seek out the good in a dreadful situation. Tante Lou, Emma, and Vivian help Grant realize that he can overcome the pain of his past and not only become a better man but also seek out the best in every man.Download full Download Microsoft Word File
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TOPIC: Thesis on Transformation of Strong Black Men Assignment

Tante Lou uses age and wisdom to nudge Grant in a direction that he would rather not go. Grant does not feel as though he can help Jefferson and he does not to approach the situation because it would mean facing some of his own issues with his past. However, family and duty trump these feelings as we see with Tante Lou and Emma. While Grant is bitter about his experiences, he cannot deny Emma and Tante Lou. William Nash maintains, "Ultimately, however, he cannot deny Miss Emma and his own Tante Lou, who demand his service as their due" (Nash 348). Grant protests, asking what he could possibly do that she has not done in the "past twenty-one years" (Gaines 13) and it actually does not matter what she says because he knows he will submit to her. Tante Lou is a quiet, but essential, force in Grant's life. Trudier Harris observes the influence that strong females characters have on their offspring is prevalent in a Lesson Before Dying. She maintains that Tante Lou is the only mother that Grant has ever known. As a result, Grant is an "exemplary manifestation of the offspring affected by the manipulative strong black woman character" (Harris 123). In addition, she adds that the power that Tante Lou "wields over Grant is based in history, absence, guilt, and expectation' (124). Grant and Tante Lou are connected by their past in that Tante Lou lost a sister when Grant's mother left the deep South. Her asking Grant to return to prison seems like a step backwards to him; however, to her it is an opportunity that is "expedient under the circumstances" (125). Harris also notes that it is important for us to see the unfolding of events from Grant's perspective because by "giving in to the manipulation in spite of his awareness of being manipulated, he indicates emphatically the impact of the strong black women" (125). Harris maintains that Grant has no choice in that matter because he has no defense against Tante Lou. While this might paint a seemingly hard picture of Tante Lou, we must keep in mind from where she comes and the pride it must take for her to believe what she does. She is proud of her heritage and this is why she is so concerned about Jefferson's realization that he is human.

In the same vein, Emma is extremely significant to the plot of the story because she is the character that puts events into motion that eventually move toward Grant visiting Jefferson. However, Emma is simply more than someone that pushes Grant to do the right thing. She also serves as a role model for Grant in that she… [END OF PREVIEW] . . . READ MORE

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How to Cite "Transformation of Strong Black Men" Thesis in a Bibliography:

APA Style

Transformation of Strong Black Men.  (2009, February 19).  Retrieved November 27, 2021, from

MLA Format

"Transformation of Strong Black Men."  19 February 2009.  Web.  27 November 2021. <>.

Chicago Style

"Transformation of Strong Black Men."  February 19, 2009.  Accessed November 27, 2021.