A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines

Good Essays
In the novel "A Lesson Before Dying" by Ernest J. Gaines the main character Jefferson was wrongfully accused of being an accessory to murder and for robbery. The author started the story off with Jefferson's trial verdict and with no specific names because he wanted to give an run through of the novel and emphasize the importance of the trial. During the trial Jefferson- the young, black, African American man faces racism. Jefferson had got an ride from two of his friends. They had stopped to an Drug Store. Then all of a sudden Jefferson's two friends was robbing the Drug Store . Jefferson's two friends and the store-clerk Mr. Grope started shooting at each other. Mr. Grope and his Jefferson's two friends had gotten shot and killed leaving Jefferson to be the only person alive. Jefferson was not aware that his friends was planning to rob the store but he did not have any money so he stole the money out of the register. When Jefferson was leaving the store he got caught by the police and went to jail for robbery and accessory to murder. Jefferson trial was based on racism. The jury and the judge were all white. This novel showed how racist the white people where to the colored. In the novel a lawyer refers to Jefferson as an animal "What justice would there be to take this life ? Justice gentlemen ? Why I would just out an Hog in the electric chair as this" the lawyer was hoping by saying Jefferson was an hog he would get his sentencing reduced but it didn't do nothing but hurt Jefferson's dignity and made Jefferson's grandmother Miss. Emma upset. So Miss. Emma decided to get Jefferson help. A black, African American teacher name Mr. Grant Wiggins is who Miss. Emma got to help Jefferson to better his dignity and help him die as a man. In the beginning Mr. Wiggins did not like Jefferson. He thought Jefferson did not and never would learn anything from the situation he was involved in. But later in the novel Mr. Wiggins realized he had learned a lot from the

You May Also Find These Documents Helpful

  • Good Essays

    Lessons are told so others can see the significance of a story or event. They are learned through instruction and support from others and by personal experience. Several characters in Ernest Gaines' A Lesson Before Dying experienced this, particularly Jefferson and Grant. Both men were able to learn from each other and in the end made each other better and more mature people.…

    • 726 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    The absence of justice: violation of right or the rights to another. That is what injustice is. The novel, A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines surrounds the innocent young man, Jefferson learning to understand that to gain justice from this event, to die a man, not a “hog”, to prove he got his fairness from this the trial. The theme is injustice, the novel centers how justice and fairness were not essential fundamentals in the trial for Jefferson due to white supremacy, lack of knowledge, and ignorance during that time period.…

    • 890 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    A Lesson Before Dying

    • 1088 Words
    • 5 Pages

    Grant is the protagonist of A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest Gaines shows how Grant went through a difficult life in a racist society in the South. Grant spent his life in Bayonne, a segregated racist community which made him intense. He does not believe anything would change and escaping is the only thing he could think of. Grant does not have any confidence in himself and the society. Throughout the novel, he learns how to accept the responsibility of his own life, his relationships with his family and friends, and having respect in the society.…

    • 1088 Words
    • 5 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    "The motive that these women have on the male characters is a significant one. Gaines eloquently depicts Tante Lou and Miss Emma, both African American women. They were a big part in many of the male characters' lives. Whether it was being house maids at the Henri Pichot's house, or becoming surrogate mothers for our protagonist grant, they were important to those in their immediate community.…

    • 103 Words
    • 1 Page
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    A lesson Before Dying

    • 1734 Words
    • 4 Pages

    In A Lesson Before Dying, by Ernest J. Gaines, we begin by recalling a scene from the trial through Grant Wiggin’s eyes. Grant Wiggins is an elementary school teacher and also the narrator of this novel. He is an intelligent black man living in Louisiana. When recalling the vents of the trial, he states that he wasn’t there but he can visualize it. The events leading up to the trial were that Jefferson hitched a ride with 2 of his friends, Brother and bear. They all stopped at a liquor store, where brother and bear demanded that the store owner sell them alcohol. When the owner refused they all began to shoot leaving Jefferson standing there stunned. Brother, Bear, and the store owner all died in that store, and Jefferson saw the open cash register and started to take the money out of it. In the process 2 white men came into the store, and witnessed Jefferson taking the money. During the trial, his lawyer said he was a boy and wasn’t capable of planning a robbery. Once Jefferson was pronounced guilty, the judge said he was sent to death via the electric chair. Once the trial is over, Jefferson’s grandmother, and Tante Lou insist that the three of them, including Grant, should all go to the jail to teach Jefferson to die with dignity and not like a hog, as the court referred to him. Grant doesn’t want to go because he feels that he can’t help him and he hates the town that he lives in already.…

    • 1734 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    A Lesson Before Dying and Making a Murderer have many similarities. First, it all has to do with murder. Jefferson got accused of murder as well as Steven. They were both sent to jail after all but the only difference is Jefferson wasn’t in jail for long and got killed. Secondly, they were both accused of crime that they never did. Jefferson was a bystander of the whole situation in the book, the only problem was his was trying to take money and Liquor after the whole shooting situation, he didn’t kill anybody. Steven on the other hand was first accused with rape and served eighteen years in prison just for them to figure out it wasn’t him unlike Jefferson's first crime and only crime, Steven has two accusations. The murder acquisition is…

    • 185 Words
    • 1 Page
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    A Lesson before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines is about the ways in which people insist on declaring the value of their lives in a time and place in which those lives count for nothing. It is about the ways in which the imprisoned may find freedom even in the moment of their death.…

    • 509 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    A Lesson Before Dying

    • 441 Words
    • 2 Pages

    | The Christmas program symbolizes how unhappy the main character is with his life because it reminds him he isn’t moving forward. He seems to feel like he isn’t getting any farther in life. Each year it’s the same ole show with the same costumes, characters, and prayers. He questions if he is making a difference as a teacher. Will his life always be the same? Never moving further. While everyone around him enjoys their time eating, and talking. Grant stands alone and unhappy.…

    • 441 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    Grant Wiggins improved as a person greatly in A Lesson Before Dying, and for the most part this lead to improving his relationships with other people. At the beginning of the book, it seemed as Wiggins almost hated Jefferson and he had no sympathy for him or for the situation itself. After a few visits with Jefferson,…

    • 284 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    A Lesson Before Dying

    • 673 Words
    • 3 Pages

    The lady that appears after the first 100 pages of the book turns out to be Vivian, Grant’s secret lover. Grant and Vivian take a walk and after their walk they visit Grant’s aunt, aunt Emma. Aunt Emma and her friends are very fond of Vivian and they give her many compliments. Aunt Emma, and the reverend go to visit Jefferson and they find that Grant’s previous account of Jefferson’s recovery was lie; Jefferson still eats and behaves like a “hog”. Aunt Emma and the reverend confront Grant regarding his faulty account of Jefferson’s recovery. Once again, Grant visits Jefferson and tries to convince him that he is not a hog and he is a man. After a couple more visits from the ladies and Grant, the chapter ends off with the whole town watching a Christmas play on the birth of Jesus. After the play, Grant is tired of watching the same play and seeing the same people dressed in the same kinds of clothing year after year.…

    • 673 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    “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.…

    • 702 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    After trying to convince the jury that Jefferson is not clever enough to commit the crime, the defense attorney supposes he is guilty but by comparing Jefferson to a hog, saying that he is not intelligent enough to be held accountable for his actions. This starts a fire under the black people in the town. This leads the blacks to make Jefferson an example of how much dignity, intelligence, and courage they truly had.…

    • 767 Words
    • 4 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Good Essays

    The entire book was focused on showing was that racism is an oppressive force and how it changed these people's lives. It ruined Jefferson’s chance to live his life it wrecked Jefferson’s trail and poisoned Jefferson’s mind. The attorney used racist comments against the charges and called him stupid, then those comments made Jefferson act…

    • 535 Words
    • 3 Pages
    Good Essays
  • Satisfactory Essays

    Mr. Vtec

    • 288 Words
    • 2 Pages

    The novel “A Lesson before dying.” By, Ernest J. Gaines, takes place in rural Louisiana in the 1940’s during the segregation period between blacks and whites. Jefferson, a young black man is involved in a liquor store shooting with two other accomplices which along with the store owner are shot and killed. Although he is not involved in the shooting, he is falsely convicted of the crime and sentenced to death.…

    • 288 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Satisfactory Essays
  • Good Essays

    In reading the book A Lesson Before Dying, I believe that many lives were changed by Jefferson. The days before his persecution impacted many lives in the community. From the children Grant taught, his family and friends to the jailor that worked at the courthouse. Jefferson was a poor African-American young man who was uneducated, had a low self-esteem, and he worked on the plantation since he was a child. One day he was at the wrong place at the wrong time and was found guilty for the actions of his friends that had attempted to rob a store. Both of his friends were killed in this robbery as well as the store owner. During the court hearing, his own lawyer compared him to being no better than a hog. This statement was the eye-opening statement…

    • 420 Words
    • 2 Pages
    Good Essays