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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.
WhenI was in college, in reading 35, and had to read the book and active reading comments, I enjoy the book and have it digital for Ipad. Read morePublished 4 days ago by babtbobot1
This writer never ceases to amaze me. One of the very best talents I have ever encountered. How have I missed him all tyhese years?Published 8 days ago by Daniel Gavron
An insightful, historical classic on becoming an adult during the 1940's Jim Crow era. I have read this with 3 of my literature classes over the years.Published 13 days ago by barbreview
This is an awesome book. I love the characters and the author does a great job with the writing lolPublished 16 days ago by Jordan Schjndler
A very touching and compelling novel that is well written. The book grabs your attention on page one and never lets it go.Published 20 days ago by KMHS
Bought in on Kindle, and enjoyed the book. Gives a good topic to discuss, and is an easy read.Published 24 days ago by M.K.
Excellent read. Delivered as promised. As only to expect from Amazon.Published 1 month ago by WYZGUY