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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.
Slow in spots, but overall a thought provoking read. Sad to think of someone believing that no matter what they do they will not get anywhere.Published 6 days ago by Kathryn
I don't know anything about this book. I did not purchase it for me. My son read it but no longer has it.Published 14 days ago by Jesus Paolini
This could have been a true book. The details were very factual and the circumstances very real if you are African American. Read morePublished 15 days ago by Blenda J. Taylor
A story of how people help other's when they most need help, even when they don't want it. A compelling READ YOU WON'T WANT TO MISS! Read morePublished 16 days ago by Jim Harper
This a highly awarded novel of fiction.
The place is Louisiana, late 1940s, pre Civil Rights. A young, uneducated black man, Jefferson, is sentenced to death for a murder he... Read more
I have wanted to read this since it was an Oprah book club pick. I thought it was a beautifully written story that portrays what life was like for blacks in the South shortly... Read morePublished 17 days ago by Shoppingmom
At first i couldn't find interest in Reading this mainly because i was homework. But after sitting down and getting to it i couldn't put this book down. Read morePublished 19 days ago by Jennifer
I've taught black history for many years and I'm getting tired hearing about victimization.
While this book is some of the tired cries, I'd recommend reading the... Read more