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A Lesson Before Dying

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Lauren Peterson

on 16 September 2014

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Transcript of A Lesson Before Dying

A Lesson Before Dying
Dialect and Characterization (Part 4)
Dialect and Characterization (Part 3)
Works Cited
Hawaii and Alaska ended the death penalty in 1957
New York, Iowa, West Virginia and Vermont ended the death penalty in 1965
Texas performed the first lethal injection on December 2, 1982
The last execution by hanging occurred on January 25, 1996
The last execution by gas chamber occurred on March 3, 1999
Character Development
Grant: Grant's emotions finally appear as he cries openly in front of his students, showing how much closer and more comfortable he is with his community.
Capital Punishment and
A Lesson Before Dying
(Part 1)
Chapter 30
Capital Punishment in the USA (Part 1)
Capital Punishment In the USA (Part 2)
Dialect and Characterization (Part 2)
by Lauren Peterson and Sam Myers
(Gaines, 9)
Jefferson is convicted of murder and robbery.
Gaines never directly told which version of the story is true.
He is sentenced to face capital punishment on an electric chair.
"The judge told Jefferson that he had been found guilty of the charges brought against him, and that the judge saw no reason that he should not pay the part he played in the horrible crime. Death by electrocution. The governor would set the date."
Capital Punishment and
A Lesson Before Dying
(Part 2)
Capital Punishment and
A Lesson Before Dying
(Part 3)
Later in the novel, Jefferson talks about his fear of death
He is haunted in his thoughts of the door leading to the electric chair
Readers know this from his diary entry
"i just cant sleep no mo cause evertime i shet my eyes i see that door an fore i git ther i wake up an i dont go back to sleep cause i dont want to walk to that door no mo...."
(Gaines, 228)
Chapter 29
Grant narrators the story and speaks to other characters with proper English
Readers can infer that he was formally educated, which was rare for blacks during the novel's time period.
"Tante Lou, Miss Emma, Jefferson is dead. It is only a matter of weeks, maybe a couple of months - but he's already dead."
"History of the Death Penalty."
Death Penalty
. Procon. 2014. Web. September 3, 2014.

Gaines, Ernest J.
A Lesson Before Dying
New York: Vintage Contemporaries, 1993. Print.

Reggio, Michael H. "History of the Death Penalty."
Public Broadcasting System.
Public Broadcasting System. 2014. Web. September 3, 2014

(Reggio, Par 5, 13,) (History, Par 7, 8)
This chapter shows Jefferson writing in the journal that was given to him by Grant.
Jefferson often has trouble sleeping and is plagued by nightmares.
He begins to question religion.
Though he appreciates everything Grant has done for him, Jefferson is unable to find the words to express his gratitude.
Chapter 29 (continued)
(Gaines, 226-234)
(Gaines, 226-234)
The morning before Jefferson's execution, a black truck with a gray tarpaulin cover drives through the quarter, noticed by everyone.
Sheriff Guidry supervises the unloading of the chair the morning of the execution.
Paul is ordered to shave Jefferson's head, ankles, and wrists.
(Gaines, 235-246)
Chapter 31
Grant recalls his past as he tells the students to kneel and pray for Jefferson, as the hour of his execution is drawing closer.
He leaves his students praying as he leaves the school until he knows Jefferson has passed.
Paul arrives moments after with Jefferson's journal in hand.
(Gaines, 246-256)
Jefferson: Jefferson shows his growth and what he's learned mostly in chapter 29. He recalls how much thinking he's done while in jail compared to his entire life until then. His progress and knowledge are shown by his now critical thinking of religion and the people around him.
Paul: Paul takes the final step in his and Grant's friendship by offering his hand, making their friendship official and open in chapter 31. This may also be the final push for Grant to fully accept the community.
After Edison showed how AC electricity could kill animals, electrocution became a method of execution.
In 1888, New York approved the first building of the electric chair.
The first victim of the electric chair was in 1890
The first cyanide gas execution took place in Nevada in 1924
The first woman to be executed was in 1930
The last public execution in America occurred on August 14, 1936. Much attention was called to this execution because the criminal was a woman.
(Reggio, Par 16, 18, 24) (History, Par 19)
Many people visit Jefferson, but the one who has the most impact on him is Vivian.
He is embarrassed of his untidy and dirty appearance; Although, Vivian assures him she thinks he is handsome and strong.
When Grant tells Jefferson he will not be attending his execution, Jefferson bursts into tears, because Grant has treated him so well.
At the end of his journal entry, Jefferson says, "tell them im a man." (Gaines, pg. 234)
He gives his journal to Paul to give to Grant.
The first documented execution in the English American colonies happened in 1608
The first US Congress created the federal death penalty on April 30, 1790
The first person executed under the federal death penalty was on June 25, 1790
States like Pennsylvania, Rhode Island and New York banned public execution. Private hangings were enacted by laws dating back to 1833 to 1835.
Michigan became the first state to abolish capital punishment in 1846
White characters like Guidry, Pichot and Paul speak with proper English as well
Once again, readers can assume they have been formally educated
"I can't change what has been handed down by the court. I spoke up before the trial; I can't say any more." - Pichot
Capital Punishment in the USA (Part 3)
(History, 23, 30, 46, 49)
Preparations for the execution occur during Chapter 30
This chapter also illustrates how Jefferson's death, using the electric chair will affect the people of the quarter
Vivian said she would pray for 3 hours with her students
Grant and Ambrose cannot sleep that night
Guidry prays nothing goes wrong during the execution
Through these actions, readers can infer some aspects about the character's qualities
People in the quarter watch with tension as the chair gets delivered to the jail
(Gaines, 235-246)
(Gaines, 14)
Jefferson requests that Paul gives his journal to Grant and offers Paul the radio.
Paul is obligated to refuse the radio, but offers to give it to the other prisoners.
Since Paul does not keep the radio, Jefferson offers him a marble, and Paul accepts his kind gesture.
Chapter 30 (Continued)
(Gaines, 235-246)
Chapter 31 (Continued)
He assures Grant that Jefferson was strong as he walked to the chair, and that Grant is an excellent teacher; However, Grant disagrees.
Paul offers Grant his hand in friendship, which Grant accepts graciously.
Shortly after Paul returns to his car, Grant re-enters the school and cries, all in front of his students.
(Gaines, 246-256)
(Gaines, 20)
Dialect and Characterization (Part 1)
A dialect is a form of a language that is spoken by people in a specific region
Characterization is when how an author describes a character through a narrative
Gaines displays different dialects within the novel, which characterizes the various people

Miss Emma, Ambrose and Tante Lou display a different dialect from the other characters
They make grammar mistakes in their speech
Readers can infer that they did not have the same educational opportunities as other characters in the novel
"You can spare a few minutes. 'Specially today." - Tante Lou
"You the teacher." - Tante Lou
"You ain't going to no Bayonne till you go up to the quarter." - Tante Lou
(Gaines, 11, 13, 14)
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