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Conflicts In The Film Version Of "A Lesson Before Dying"

1048 words - 5 pages

The movie, "A Lesson Before Dying," based on the book by Ernest J. Gaines, contains several conflicts among characters existing at various points throughout the movie. This paper will touch on some of them.Three of the biggest conflicts existing in the movie are over race, religion, and education. The main character, Grant Wiggins, has conflicts over one or more of these aspects with many characters in the movie. Wiggins has a conflict with "the white man" in general over religion and race, and to some extent, education. He feels he has to be highly educated, more so than his black counterparts, to compare himself favorably to the white man. Even then, however, he still feels inferior. He ...view middle of the document...

Likewise, for the same reasons, Wiggins feels superior to Miss Emma, Jefferson's godmother who asks him to visit Jefferson in jail. He does feel that he owes Tante Lou for raising him, however, and therefore honors hers and Miss Emma's request.Tante Lou holds Wiggins from his dreams by refusing to let him go his own way. Tante Lou wants Wiggins to stay at home with her and take care of her, despite the fact that he has a college degree and can do so much more than that. She infers to Wiggins that he owes it to her to stay and help her out. This is another conflict in the movie.Miss Emma has a conflict with Wiggins as well, also restricting his life choices, although she has no family relation to him. She asks Wiggin, in a way that gives him no real options but to agree, to teach Jefferson to be a man, a prospect which he finds difficult and unpleasant. Leaning on her ability to persuade, and using her power as a friend to Tante Lou, she tells Wiggins what to do and gets away with it.Another woman in Wiggins' life with whom he has conflicts is Vivian, his love. She limits his ability to make decisions. Vivian understands Wiggins' need to leave and see new things, but has restrictions in her own life that will not allow her to help him begin a new life up North. She is in the middle of a drawn-out divorce and needs to see it through so she can maintain custody of her children. She is in conflict with herself as well, over her need to stay for her children and her need to go with her lover.Wiggins seems to be well-respected by the community, and feels superior to other blacks because he is far more educated than them. Wiggins has known nothing but segregation and racism his whole life,...

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