A Lesson Before Dying Essay

  • A Lesson Before Dying Essay

    The novel, “A Lesson Before Dying,” by Ernest J. Gaines, takes place in the 1940s, in a small plantation community in rural Louisiana. Paul, Grant and Jefferson are members of the society who illustrate, infer and prosper from the essential lesson learnt before dying. Though the three characters are distinct people, facing different scenarios in life, they engage in a struggle to achieve or support self-assurance and provide hope for civil rights movement in a society that restricts them. They learn the importance of one believing in their own integrity and provide an aspiration for justice, despite societal opinions. As the story commences, Grant is initially reluctant to get involved and help the innocent death row inmate, Jefferson, realise his own humanity and gain self-assurance. As his aunt, Tante Lou, and Jefferson’s godmother, Miss Emma, enlist him to teach Jefferson how to be a man, he replies saying, “Yes, I’m the teacher ... And I teach what the white folks around here tell me to teach—reading, writing, and rithmetic. They never told me how to keep a black boy out of a liquor store,” (Gaines 13). Unwilling to help Miss Emma and listen to Tante Lou, he refuses to help. Tante Lou forces Grant to participate in helping Jefferson. Although he is involved in helping Jefferson, he does not “feel” it. Grant tries to use unnecessary excuses to back out by saying he is trying to make him feel guilty, “What for, Tante Lou? He treated me the same way he treated her. He wants…

    Words: 1067 - Pages: 5
  • Essay On A Lesson Before Dying

    Hope for the Future: Creating Change in an Inherently Racist Society Racist acts against African Americans are featured in the news daily. This is nothing new. Racism has been a negative part of our society since slavery. Over time it has evolved, but it continues to impact the lives of African Americans. The feeling of hopelessness was and still is very prominent for many African Americans, as they feel trapped in the cycle of poverty and oppression, from both inherent racism in our society and…

    Words: 1399 - Pages: 6
  • Inequality In A Lesson Before Dying

    A Lesson Before Dying Common Task How do social limitations affect someone’s ability to become a better person? The novel A Lesson Before Dying, by Ernest J. Gaines, takes place from the perspective of Grant Wiggins, a black man who lived in the southern United States during the 1940’s. During this time period, there was a series of laws in place and multiple unspoken rules of etiquette that were designed to make black people inferior to the white population. Even with the harshness of white…

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  • Analysis Of A Lesson Before Dying

    Facing your Fears: A Lesson Before Dying “A hero does for others. He would do anything for people he loves, because he knows it would make their lives better. I am not that kind of person, but I want you to be. You could give something to her, to me, to those children in the quarter. You could give them something that I never could. They expect it from me, but not from you. The white people out there are saying that you don’t have it-that you’re a hog, not a man. But I know they are wrong.”…

    Words: 1126 - Pages: 5
  • Themes In A Lesson Before Dying

    Hope of Changes In A Lesson Before Dying, author Ernest J. Gaines describes how a dehumanized black community of the 1940s struggles to break free of the oppression they have endured in a racist society in order to gain respect, pride, and dignity. However, the novel contains several key factors that make it hopeful. First, the sad and pessimistic story of Jefferson’s impending execution transitions into an optimistic fight against the prejudice and injustice as Jefferson learned to “walk” to…

    Words: 1384 - Pages: 6
  • Racism In A Lesson Before Dying

    In the book, A Lesson before Dying, Gaines portrays the physiological effect of discrimination using the African Americans community. Throughout the book, there are many examples of segregation such as the living quarters of the blacks were much worse than that of the whites. Not only is their housing bad, but also the schooling for the blacks were much worse than that of the whites. There were also verbal abuse of the blacks. For example, Jefferson was called a hog and id made Jefferson feel as…

    Words: 1246 - Pages: 5
  • Discrimination In A Lesson Before Dying

    Nelson Mandela, in his 1994 autobiography, Long Walk to Freedom, said, “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin, or his background, or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love, for love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite.” Jefferson from, A Lesson Before Dying, and John from, The Green Mile, were both judged unfairly due to their skin color and were both sentenced to death. These two…

    Words: 1382 - Pages: 6
  • Diction In A Lesson Before Dying

    Values and Traditions Ernest J. Gaines, the author of A Lesson Before Dying, is able to develop the theme of the book through diction to show tone. Through tone, he is able to reveal how tradition hinders the progress of a society that retains incorrect values, which promotes a system of injustice among the people in the society. To demonstrate the theme of A Lesson Before Dying, diction is used to develop a frustrated and uneasy tone. At the beginning of the book, a black man called…

    Words: 1602 - Pages: 7
  • Analysis: A Lesson Before Dying

    In A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines, the idea that guidance is needed to help people who have falling in despair and they need to regain their sense of purpose. Chipping away at ignorance is needed so that the true potential of the individual is revealed. This ignorance is caused by the submission of the portion of society to a higher power who abuses said power. Grant Wiggins in the book A Lesson Before Dying, has started to lose his purpose of staying in his little town and teaching…

    Words: 1198 - Pages: 5
  • Commitment In A Lesson Before Dying

    Sometimes individuals must face tasks that might be against their will, but agreements made in life are promises that people have to follow up on. When an individual has an emotional attachment to something they must do, it becomes a commitment. Ernest J. Gaines’ novel, A Lesson Before Dying, tells the story of Jefferson, an uneducated, young black man, and Grant Wiggins, a male school teacher, who both struggle in a racist southern community. Living in Louisiana in the 1940s, blacks lead lives…

    Words: 1068 - Pages: 5
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