A Lesson Before Dying - Paper

Topics: Jury, Fiction, Prison Pages: 2 (702 words) Published: October 4, 2012
“A Lesson Before Dying” takes place in a small Louisiana Cajun community in the late 1940’s. In the novel, Jefferson, a young black man, is an unwitting party to a liquor store shoot out in which three men are killed; being the only survivor, he is convicted of a murder and sentenced to death. To portray this novel Gaines displays respectable literary devices like setting, tone, and characterization; therefore helping I as the reader feel the emotions of Jefferson from his point of view. In the initial setting of the novel, Jefferson sits in a courtroom located in rural Louisiana, which is filled with anger, tension, isolation, and quietness from the people in the room. This setting of the book supports Jefferson’s personality in chapter nine when Jefferson’s character is introduced. Jefferson’s cell could be considered the second setting or Jefferson’s setting in the book. Jefferson’s relationship to the courtroom (initial setting) supports Jefferson’s personality in the prison. He is isolated just like in the courtroom. “There was an empty cell between Jefferson and the rest of the prisoners” (Gaines 71). Jefferson’s cell was not only isolated like a courtroom in rural Louisiana, but quiet. “Jefferson’s been quiet . . . He didn’t answer” (Gaines 71). Due to Jefferson’s isolation and quietness, he has built anger inside. An anger which had been building up since the courtroom conviction. “Nothing don’t matter,” he said looking up at the ceiling. The first setting of the novel is similar to Jefferson’s cell setting. The three settings: The courtrooms, location and time era of the town, and prison all have similarities to Jefferson’s character traits. The court trial scene embodies everything that is contained within the novel. All events that occur throughout the entire novel are a repercussion of Jefferson's court case. These circumstances set up the tone that is simply perceived throughout the novel. Gaines tone in the novel shifts as the novel progresses....
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