Commentary A Lesson Before Dying, chapter 27, p 214-218
In this chapter, Reverend Ambrose goes to Tante Lou's house to speak to Grant. Reverend Ambrose wants Grant to help him to make Jefferson believe in God and heaven. As Grant doesn't believe in an afterlife, he refuses to lie antother time to Jefferson making in believe in something he doesn't believe himself.As Grant doesn't agree to help Ambrose to save Jefferson soul, the two men begin to debate the merits of religion versus education. With is debate, Ambrose hope that Grant will change is mind and will use is influence to make Jefferson believe in God.
We are going to see firstly Grant's inferiority and that the Reverend Ambrose feels superior to him, secondly the difference of theeducation meaning, and firstly the lie.
In this chapter, we can see that Grant who use to feel superior to his community is a little inferior to Reverend Ambrose.
In fact, we can see that Grant is very respectuous with Ambrose, maybe so much, when Ambrose speaks to him, Grant use brief answers without being disrepectful. When Ambrose asks to him if he's educated, Grant answers only that hewent to college, he doesn't say that he's educated or not.
When Ambrose tells him that he's not educated, even if he went to college and learnt how to teach reading, writing and arithmetic, Grant stays calm telling that the Reverend is doing the talking.
More, provocating Grant, Reverend Ambrose calls him 'boy' but Grant just answer, 'My name is Grant'.
Moreover, we can seein this passage Reverend Ambrose feeling superior to Grant, we can see that for example when he says that Grant is not educated even if he went to college, Ambrose tells ' I'm the one that's educated [...] I'm the one that's educated. '
Ambrose also says that he will call Grant by his name ' when he will act educated ', ' when he will act like a man '.
But there's a contracdiction,even if we can see clearly that Ambrose feels superior to Grant, he know that he needs him to make Jefferson believe in God, even if for Grant it's Ambrose's job, ' I'm doing the best I can, Reverend. The rest is up to you '. But Ambrose needs him, and he tells him the truth, ' You the only one he'll listen to. He won't listen to me '. Ambrose feels superior because he believes in God, he hasfaith, but he's aware that he's not enough to make Jefferson believe in God, that's why he asks Grant to make it with him, because Grant became Jefferson's friend now. Even he says that he's the one who's educated he knows that it hasn't power on Jefferson that's Grant's education could have more power on Jefferson. That show us the difference of the meaning of the education that the two men have.In fact, Grant and Reverend Ambrose have a different meaning of being educated.
For Ambrose, Grant he’s not educated, even he went to college, Ambrose says that he’s not. For Ambrose, being educated is believe in god, have faith, it’s have learnt some things from you own people, be there for them, and help them. Education for Ambrose is act like a man, not being a coward.
ForGrant, education it’s not this, for being educated, Grant thinks that you have to go to college, you have to know reading, writing and arithmetic. That’s what Grant says, but Ambrose make him become aware that even if had learnt those things, he doesn’t know nothing about his own community, things that Ambrose knows.
But we can think that those two meaning are necessary for the community.Ambrose’s one help people to feel better in the community by God, by Ambrose, the black community keep hope that there’s a better world that the one where they live.
By Grant’s one, the community can have the knowledge that Grant learnt and goes to college and have a job.
The two men have a different role for the community, Ambrose’s role is to make people feel better, make’em...