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A lesson before dying

English presentation

Kati Bogun

on 20 December 2012

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Transcript of A lesson before dying

table of contents - author
- historical background
- summary, characters
- symbols
- development of Jefferson
- death penalty
- segregation
- scene of the book
- discussion
- sources "a mindless hog" full of anger and pain first glimmer of hope 4 Jefferson cries "I'm going to do my best." his execution:
Jefferson is now the strongest man in the room A lesson before dying author Ernest James Gaines
was born on a Louisiana plantation in 1933
African-American author Gaines published several novels on the topic closest to his own heart: The black communities of Louisiana Most successful novel: A lesson before dying -> set in Louisiana in the late 1940's highlights the tension inherent in the lives of African-Americans during the 1940's and investigates the difficulties facing blacks in the rural South - uses the time period of the early Civil Rights movement to dramatize social, political & judicial injustice

- slavery is abolished, but black-skinned people were still not treated with equality and respect

- segregation in public universities was outlawed

- segregation at school, churches, toilets, bars etc. still existed historical background discussion development of Jefferson summary characters symbols death penalty scene sources segregation decision about the date of death sentence fate of the black men at school at the courthouse in prison

How does Grant change Jefferson‘s life?

Is there a difference between dying like a man or a „hog“ ? Ernest J. Gaines (1993): A Lesson Before Dying (03.12.12)
Hartmut K. Selke (2010): A Lesson Before Dying. Annotations (03.12.12) www.sparknotes.com (10.12.12)
www.goodreads.com (04.12.12)
www.gradesaver.com (04.12.12)
www.youtube.com/watch?v=v9aFk6-n6X0 (04.12.12) chapter 1, p. 10 - 12 Thank you very much for your interest and your attention! the chair:
- symbolizes the violence of the unfair system that convicted Jefferson
- provokes different reactions in the following
some become nauseous
some joke about it language - Jefferson will defy the society that wrongfully incriminated him and convicted him not just of murder, but of being a black-skinned

- makes his community proud

- realizes that he has the strength and faith

- Grant becomes an important person in his life, to support him

- they become friends he cannot be present at Jefferson's electrocution Grant:
- teacher
- well educated
- his english is normal Jefferson:
- cotton english
- spelling and grammar was poor according to his level of education
- many of the spellings he uses make no sense at all when not spoken out loud p. 56 ll. 28-29: "But, Mr. Wiggins, now you was looking out that window too, now. I seen you."

ll. 34-36: " In that case I won't punish you for looking out the window." I said. "But I'm going to punish you for using bad grammar. You were supposed to say 'You WERE looking out the window.'" trailer: "Her old pussy ain't no good." - Jefferson: uneducated, black field worker

sentenced to death

- even his lawyer called Jefferson a “hog”

- He internalizes this

- Godmother Emma wants him to die like a man

- teacher Grant is supposed to influence him accordingly

- Grant and Jefferson build a relationship during theperiod of time -Jefferson does not know when he has to die

makes him crazy

-he is mentally weakened

-Solved, as he gets to know it

-Jefferson bears his fate

“Tell them I’m a man.”

“Tell Nannan I walked.” (= his godmother Emma) - superintendent of schools focuses on the white schools
- the black schools have to use hand-me-downs - toilets for blacks are in the basement, filthy - separate sections - all 12 members of the jury were white
- they set the date for the death of a black man - black men can stay in the south or run away
vicious circle
- every male child is "hope" for the black people to break the circle
- everybody failed because of all the burdens - is crying
- doesn't care about anything
- ice cream inner calmness, has something pleasant to look for "Tell the children thank you for the pecans." - Grant holds a little speech
Jefferson has to be a hero
white people are looking for a scapegoat
- Jefferson is really touched - takes notes of all his thoughts in his diary
- tells his Nannan (godmother Emma): "I love you." The church:
- hope
- Miss Emma, Tante Lou & Reverend Ambrose
believe that God helps them
- Grant rejects the church and God rejects the possibility that there could be a change within society = first he does not want to "teach" Jefferson
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