Grayson BrandenburgChapter 1-6 Grant is the character I chose, The protagonist and narrator of the novel, an elementary school teacher in his mid-twenties.
Grant is intelligent and willful, but also somewhat hypocritical and depressed. Grant Wiggins is a teacher who is frustrated with his work. He left Louisiana, went to the university, and came back to teach and give back to the community, Grant feels all is lost, and he is trapped in a life he cannot change.
He wants to leave Louisiana more than anything, but he hasn’t managed to find what it takes to make that happen. He does not feel the same commitment to the students and the school as his girlfriend, Vivian. She tries to tell him that they are teachers, and because of that, they have a commitment, but Grant does not agree.
Chapters 7-13 Miss Emma expects Grant to help Jefferson stand and walk like a man. Miss Emma forces Grant to go to Mr. Henri Pichot’s house, where Miss Emma used to work. Grant goes along. They enter through the servant’s door. Grant says, ‘I had not come through that back door once since leaving for the university, ten years before. I had been teaching on the place going on six years, and I had not been in Pinchot’s yard, let alone gone up the backstairs or through that back door.’ Asking Mr.
Pichot to ask his brother-in-law, the sheriff, to give permission to visit Jefferson.Chapters 14-20 When Grant and Miss Emma visit for the first time, Jefferson will not say a word, and he refuses to eat any of the food Miss Emma has brought. Grant is angry with him. He never wanted to be in this position. Grant watches as Jefferson acts like a hog, feeling as though the battle to help will be long and difficult.
He has known Jefferson for years and he feels responsible. ‘Suppose I reached him and made him realize that he was as much a man as any other man; then what? He’s still going to die. The next day, the next week, the next month. So what will I have accomplished? What will I have done? Why not let the hog die without knowing anything?’Grant keeps going to visit, but each visit leaves him more frustrated. It takes visit after visit before he sees anything but hate in Jefferson’s, ‘Last Friday was the first time, the very first time, that Jefferson looked at me without hate, without accusing me of putting him in that cell’.Chapters 21-26He refuses to assume responsibility for turning Jefferson into a man.
After Miss Emma and Tante Lou ask him to help Jefferson, he says, “Now his godmother wants me to visit him and make him know—prove to these white men—that he’s not a hog, that he’s a man. I’m supposed to make him a man. Who am I? God?” This shows how uncommitted he is to his work, and how he does not believe that he is capable of accomplishing it. His visits to the prison slowly impact Jefferson and begin to help him become a man, however Grant demonstrates an absence of dedication to this task.
This shows a severe lack of reliability, and proves that he is irresponsible. It is clear that Grant is undependable, and not the best teacher. Chapters 27-31Grant’s selfish and irresponsible nature along with his lacking confidence are why he should not be perceived as a hero. Although Jefferson successfully becomes a man by the end of the story and walks to the electric chair with dignity, Grant is not the sole contributor to his transformation.
Despite Grant’s positive intentions, he displays bitterness throughout the story and his lack of self-esteem affects his ability to be a teacher for his students.