In the novel, A Lesson Before Dying, the character Grant Wiggins is perceived as a hero by his community. But, when delving deeper to analyze his character, his flaws tend to outweigh his character traits. He is seen as a cowardly and irresponsible person. His flaws hold him back from what he can really do, to help out the coloured folk of his community, and also holds him back from becoming a true educator for the children.
Grant is stubborn, irresponsible, bitter, and bigoted and is faithless. He is an educated man, but thinks he is better then the rest of the community, he is bigoted towards his own race and resents being a Negro, “…she knew how much I hated all this.” His stubbornness of not being willing to help out Tante Lou and Miss Emma, hold him back and make him a much more rented person mentally. He has no self-esteem and by lacking in self-confidence, he turns out to be exactly what the white men want him to be.
Grant Wiggins is not a hero, this being; he lacks confidence to be able to influence the coloured community. He does not go out and try to make a difference; instead he continues to teach the children with out being the mentor he should really be. He in fact, does what the white men tell him to do, “I teach what the white men tell me to teach- reading, writing and arithmetic…” He feels that he is failing, not only with the children in the coloured community, but also with not being able to reach Jefferson, “I’m not doing any good up there…”
The reason for Grant’s failing is because of unclear vision of not being able to see that change is occurring. He is blinded by his own selfishness, and not being able to see that small changes are happening all around him, i.e. finding the right Christmas tree and everyone showing up for the Christmas pageant. Grant is the only one who cannot see that things are slowly changing in the community, “nothing is changing…” Instead, he is caught up