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"I was not there, yet I was there. No, I did not go to the trial, I did not hear the verdict, because I knew all the time what it would be..." So begins Grant Wiggins, the narrator of Ernest J. Gaines's powerful exploration of race, injustice, and resistance, A Lesson Before Dying. If young Jefferson, the accused, is confined by the law to an iron-barred cell, Grant Wiggins is no less a prisoner of social convention. University educated, Grant has returned to the tiny plantation town of his youth, where the only job available to him is teaching in the small plantation church school. More than 75 years after the close of the Civil War, antebellum attitudes still prevail: African Americans go to the kitchen door when visiting whites and the two races are rigidly separated by custom and by law. Grant, trapped in a career he doesn't enjoy, eaten up by resentment at his station in life, and angered by the injustice he sees all around him, dreams of taking his girlfriend Vivian and leaving Louisiana forever. But when Jefferson is convicted and sentenced to die, his grandmother, Miss Emma, begs Grant for one last favor: to teach her grandson to die like a man.
As Grant struggles to impart a sense of pride to Jefferson before he must face his death, he learns an important lesson as well: heroism is not always expressed through action--sometimes the simple act of resisting the inevitable is enough. Populated by strong, unforgettable characters, Ernest J. Gaines's A Lesson Before Dying offers a lesson for a lifetime.
I recommend that all high school students and adults read this book.
Touching upon one of his themes, Gaines utilizes the power of genuine empathy between the readers to his characters, to drive his message of awareness.
Jefferson's Godmother and her good friend convince Grant Wiggins to visit Jefferson in his cell.
Great book in good shape and arrived as scheduled. Hard to believe this story took place here in the states in reality not that long ago.Published 9 days ago by Katrina
Grant Wiggins, the main character, is written in first person. Through his thoughts and feelings you get a sometimes frightening, sometimes not wanting to read about the realities... Read morePublished 17 days ago by glorianna
I had to read this book for my english class, I have to say it is by far one of the best books I have read when it comes to school related reading.Published 18 days ago by Josh Andary
Few books put you in the mind of the characters as this book did. it is an excellent book, and I enjoyed it very much.Published 22 days ago by T. Yerks