Save Big On Open-Box & Pre-owned: Buy "A Lesson Before Dying (Oprah's Book Club)” from Amazon Warehouse Deals and save 64% off the $14.00 list price. Product is eligible for Amazon's 30-day returns policy and Prime or FREE Shipping. See all Open-Box & Pre-owned offers from Amazon Warehouse Deals.
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your email address or mobile phone number.
A Lesson Before Dying (Oprah's Book Club) Paperback – Enhanced, September 28, 1997
|New from||Used from|
Deliver Her: A Novel
The mother of a grieving teenager makes a decision that may shatter their family forever. Learn More
Frequently Bought Together
Customers Who Bought This Item Also Bought
Special Offers and Product Promotions
"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.
From Publishers Weekly
Copyright 1994 Reed Business Information, Inc. --This text refers to an out of print or unavailable edition of this title.
Top Customer Reviews
This story is told through the eyes of a young teacher named Grant who finds himself struggling to find happiness in the small community he lives in. Early in the novel you learn that the story is going to surround a young black man named Jefferson who is caught in the wrong place at the wrong time. When two men attempt to rob a local liquor store, the owner of the store and the robbers begin shooting. Jefferson is an innocent bystander to the crime, and when the smoke clears Jefferson is the only one left standing. Even though Grant was unable to go to the trial he already knew the outcome. He states, "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." Jefferson was unable to prove his innocence, mostly due to the community's racist feelings, and is sentenced to execution.
Jefferson's godmother soon realizes that there is no escape for Jefferson from this terrible fate, and that Jefferson must find a way to walk to his unfair death with his head held high. So his godmother asks Grant, the local school teacher, the favor of helping her turn her godson into a mature adult. At first Grant is doubtful of being able to help in this situation, but eventually he takes on the role of Jefferson's mentor.Read more ›
This book is very moving and well-written. Highly recommended.
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The setting and time were raw and real. I loved the fact that the main character was flawed and only became a hero because another needed to die well and with dignityPublished 1 day ago by Rose Enyeart
My book club enjoyed this book. We learned more about our local jail. This is a good book fir high school reading, too, in English or History classesPublished 16 days ago by jo davis
Let me begin by saying that the tragic realism of the events depicted in this novel, events similar to which I am aware that the author himself witnessed in his lifetime, is not... Read morePublished 2 months ago by John Reagan
Our local library was having a book sale and this caught my attention.
This is the story of Jefferson, found guilty of murder and sentenced to execution. Read more
Well-written. Tough subject matter. Gets you into the heart of the teacher. I grew up in the south, and I still wrestle with the discrimination issues presented here.Published 2 months ago by gkj