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A Lesson Before Dying

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darian torres

on 4 January 2013

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Transcript of A Lesson Before Dying

Ernest Gaines was a African-American author, born on January 15, 1933 in Pointe Coupee Parish, Louisiana. He has one brother named Michael Gaines. He went to three different college, Stanford University, San Francisco State University, and Solano Community College. He has also gotten many awards for different things, MacArthur Fellowship, Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, National Humanities Medal, Dos Passos Prize, National Book Critics Circle Award for Fiction, Anisfield-Wolf Book Awards. Ernest has 9 books, A Lesson Before Dying, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, A Gathering of Old Men, Mozart and Leadbelly : Stories and Essays, Of love and dust, In my father's house, Catherine Carmier, Conversations with Ernest Gaines, and Bloodline. A Lesson Before Dying 1940's Time Period Setting The setting of this novel is Bayonne, Louisiana in the 1940's. In Bayonne there were many places, the Liquor Store, the Rainbow Club, The Church, The Court House, Bayonne County Jail, and Bayonne School House. There were also sugar cane fields and Railroad tracks. Characters Jefferson – A young black man who is falsely charged with murdering a white storeowner and given a death sentence.
Grant Wiggins – A teacher who looks to escape the racism of the South. Throughout the novel he struggles to understand what it means to be a man so that he can teach that lesson to Jefferson.
Tante Lou – Grant’s aunt who raised him from a baby after his parents left Louisiana for California. She makes sure Grant follows through on his visits to Jefferson.
Miss Emma – Jefferson’s Godmother. After Jefferson is convicted of murder her purpose in life is to make sure he walks to the electric chair like a man.
Reverend Ambrose – The Reverend who tries to teach Jefferson about God. Conflict Grant & Jefferson Grant and Jefferson form a bond by Grant being younger, a teacher, and he can relate to him. He is smart and he knows what to tell Jefferson. Grant teaches Jefferson that he needs to have more dignity, courage, and walk to the chair like a man. Jefferson teaches Grant to be a man. World war II was happening
Minimum wage was $0.40 per hour
Antarctica became a continent
55% of U.S. homes have indoor plumbing
The cold war began 1. Vivian, Tante Lou, Reverend Ambrose, believed that man is capable of determining his own destiny, that people can be lifted out of ignorance and poverty through religion and education.
2. Jefferson both believe that they cannot escape their pasts, Jefferson wishes he can go back and not be in the liquor store at that time but he knows he can't go back.
3. Sheriff Guidry, Henri Pichot, and Mathew Antoine, believed that race determines your fate. They attempt to convince Grant that no matter what he did for Jefferson or for his schoolchildren, he could not divert them from their inevitable futures. Themes Obligation - "Obligation?" "Do you know what 'obligation' means?" he didn't answer. But he kept looking at me. "No matter how bad off we are, we still owe something. you owe something, Jefferson. Not to me. Surely not to that sheriff out there. But to your godmother . you must show her some understanding, some kind of love. (page- 139)

Heroes - "And what are you go'n talk about?" "I don't know, Reverend." "I'm going back with Sis' Emma tomorrow. I'm go'n talk about god." " I'm sure he needs to hear that, Reverend." (page- 214) Opinion A lesson before dying is an important book to read for a few reasons. One reason is it teaches the reader a couple lessons. It shows that racism still exists to some degree today. It shows how hard it was for an african american to live back then. They were accused for crimes and didn't get to fight them because they were black so they were wrong. Our opinion on this book is that it was a good book but not appropriate for grade levels under high school because it is a mature book and you have to be mature to read it and understand it. Overall, this was a good book and I recommend it for high school students.
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