Manhood is the state or time of being a man or adult male person; male maturity (Dictionary.com,2011). When do you really become a man? In the book A Lesson Before Dying they explore the idea of what it takes to become a man. The novel conveys themes relevant in modern day American culture that explore the topic of expectations, manhood and injustice.
The first theme Gaines explores is that it is sometimes a bad thing to give into the expectations of others. Jefferson gave into expectation of him being a hog. “I’m an old hog…Youmans don’t stay in no stall like this. I’m an old hog they fatting up to kill” (pg 83). Jefferson began to call himself a hog. Grant gave into the expectation that he should help. “But you’re willing to try if I can get Mr. Sam to let you go up there?...That’s what she wants, sir”(Pg 21). He is only helping for Miss Emma although he does not know if he can. In modern day American culture many men and women have to live up to the expectation television has set for today cultures. This is not good because bulling has become more of an issue. Television basically makes people believe they need to act or look a certain way to be accepted.
A second theme Gaines explores is the kind of man you become depends on the life you experience. Jefferson has accepted all that has happened. “I been shackin an shakin but im gon stay strong” (pg233) Jefferson had finally had a change in heart and stopped considering himself a hog and acted strong for himself. Grant still has yet to find what makes him a man. “I’m not great, I’m not even a teacher” (pg 254). Grant has not lived his life out yet to call himself a man a man. He doesn’t consider himself anything. In modern day American culture many people think they are a man once they hit a certain age.
Lastly and most importantly, Gaines explores the theme sometimes people don’t see things the same way you do. Jefferson is sentenced to life in prison for doing something he didn’t do. “He wanted to...