A Comparison of Heroes in Beowulf and A Lesson Bef

ore Dying comparison compare contrast essaysEveryday Heroes in Beowulf and A Lesson Before Dying


Ernest Gaines novel, A Lesson Before Dying, is a story about, Jefferson, a black man who is wrongfully charged with a crime he did not commit. He cannot get a fair trial because he is a black man in the south. He is sentenced to be executed, but before he dies Grant, an educated black man, teaches him how to walk like a man, so people do not think of him as a hog. “Beowulf” is an epic poem over one thousand years old, which was told from one generation to another. It is about, Beowulf, a great hero who defeats three different monsters to save the kingdom. In his last battle he is much older than before and is killed by a dragon. A hero does something that other people do not do and he does things for others, and other people look to a hero for guidance.

Grant does something that other blacks can not do he goes to college. Most blacks do not get the opportunity to go to college, but Grant went as soon as he was old enough. When he returned he was a well-educated man, but he was still treated the same way as he was before he went to college. Grant is able to teach Jefferson how to be a man, and Jefferson learns that he is somebody. ” … I cry cause you been so good to me mr wigin an nobody aint never been that good to me an make me think im somebody”(Gaines 232) No one else is qualified to help Jefferson they all depend on Grant to teach him, and Jefferson appreciates it so much it brings him to tears.

Beowulf is able to do something that no one else has ever done even though many people have tried. He is able to kill Grendel because he uses Grendels own size to hurt him. Beowulf grabs Grendels arm and pulls it until Grandel finally escapes. “He twisted in pain, And the bleeding sinews deep in his shoulder Snapped, muscle and bone split And broke”(Beowulf 34). Grendel was so big that when Beowulf pulled his arm there was too much pressure on it and it started to tear.

Common people look to a hero for guidance and inspiration. The blacks look to Grant for guidance because he is educated and he knows things they do not know. Jefferson looks to Grant for guidance. Grant thinks that he can not help Jefferson but Reveren Ambrose tells him “He listen to you”(Gaines 213). Jefferson eventuall becomes a man and walks to his death as a man. Grant is a source of inspiration to the black community because ho got himself out of that life and made a better one for himself, and they think that if he did it then they can do it.

Beowulf is similar to Grant in that people look to him for guidance and inspiration. However the people in “Beowulf” are inspired by his physical strength and they are inspired because he kills Grendel

A hero does for others. Grant does not use his education to start a career, instead he stays home and teaches children. Grant does not think of himself first he thinks of the kids. Grant also gets into a fight defending Jefferson, he decides not to tell anyone about it because he does not think it is neccary to boast about himself, he only faught for Jefferson.

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