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A Lesson Before Dying

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Alex Fogleman

on 19 October 2012

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Transcript of A Lesson Before Dying

By: Ernest J. Gaines A Lesson Before Dying What I liked and disliked Why is this a classic? Don Cheadle portays Grant Wiggins in the 1999 film "A Lesson Before Dying." Character List Works Cited "Oprah Book Club® Selection, September 1997: As Grant struggles to impart a sense of pride to Jefferson before he must face his death, he learns an important lesson as well: heroism is not always expressed through action--sometimes the simple act of resisting the inevitable is enough. Populated by strong, unforgettable characters, Ernest J. Gaines's A Lesson Before Dying offers a lesson for a lifetime." Why is this a Classic? (continued) A Lesson Before Dying is written in first person and narrated by Grant Wiggins who watches the story unfold firsthand. Point of View Plot summary
Plot Summary (continued) Bayonne Louisiana
Significance-Segregation was still present in the south during this time period.
Jefferson, a black citizen of Bayonne, Louisiana, has found himself in the wrong place at the wrong time.
He witnesses the murder of a white man and two black men and is the only other man at the scene making him the only suspect and was quickly found guilty. Grant Wiggins, another citizen of Bayonne, believes that Jefferson is innocent and takes it upon himself to make frequent visits to the jail to talk to Jefferson . They grow closer, word spreads of Jefferson’s death sentence and more and more people come to visit him.
The whole town becomes consumed with Jefferson and his story.
Grant does not attend the execution out of respect for Jefferson, but feels regret for not going and begins to cry.
Liked: It was a very in depth book that shows what was actually going on during that time and gave us a firsthand perspective on segregation and the ending of slavery during the 1940’s in the southern United states. Didn't like: It almost reminds me of The Green Mile just the way they portray Jefferson and the way he dies. It really pulls at you, and also at some points it threw me for a twist and the point of view was also confusing. At the beginning of Grants visits Jefferson seems resistant to talk to him.
Eventually after a few visits Jefferson begins to open up to Grant.
Mekhi Phifer portrays Jefferson
in the 1999 film of
"A Lesson Before Dying." A Lesson Before Dying is a timeless coming of age novel, based in the thick southern states of America. Wendy Dawn writes in her review of the novel,"How can we read it and not vow that we will never return to such a time of oppression, racism, injustice, and elitism." Another critic, Jeffrey J. Folks writes, "Significantly, in a novel set in the 1940s in rural Louisiana, the issue of capital punishment has been displaced by an interest in relating and underscoring the positive resources of the traditional black community." http://lessonbeforedying.files.wordpress.com/2011/03/lbd5.jpg
http://img2.timeinc.net/ew/img/review/990924/lesson.jpg http://rlv.zcache.com/louisiana_map_postcard-p239941559845633832en7lo_400.jpg The chair on the truck draws people out of their homes, of which I can just picture it passing by and all of the people coming outside with a dead silence covering the town. Symbolism Oprah enjoyed the book so much that she added it to her highly followed book club list. Grant feels that it is up to him to reveal the truth of what really happened to Jefferson and prove his innocence. Wiggins is not only trying to make a statement with Jefferson's case but he is also trying to establish how blacks were treated during the roaring 40's. The notebook that Grant gives Jefferson is a big point in their relationship because Jefferson will not speak to Grant initially but starts writing in the notebook about his thoughts and feelings. This gives him a new perspective on life which brings new meaning to their relationship. www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9aFk6-n6X0 Dawn, Wendy. "A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines: A Book Review." Yahoo! Contributor Network. N.p., 29 Apr. 2009. Web. 18 Oct. 2012. <http://voices.yahoo.com/a-lesson-dying-ernest-j-gaines-book-review-3218233.html?cat=17>. Folks, Jeffrey J. "Literary Criticism - Their Is A Lesson Before Dying." Literary Criticism - Their Is A Lesson Before Dying. Mississippi Quarterly, n.d. Web. 18 Oct. 2012. <http://alessonbeforedyingalfonzo.weebly.com/literary-criticism.html>. "A Lesson Before Dying (Oprah's Book Club)." By Gaines, Ernest J.: Vintage 9780375702709 PAPERBACK. N.p., n.d. Web. 18 Oct. 2012. <http://www.abebooks.com/Lesson-Before-Dying-Oprahs-Book-Club/8321131427/bd>. Presentation By: Alex Fogleman
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