Plot[ edit ] The story begins with the murder of Mr. Grope by two black men. An innocent bystander named Jefferson is charged with and convicted of the murder.
The routine was so continuous that even before the day began he knew which bible verses the kids would read, who would wear what, who would have their homework done, and who would succeed and who would fail regardless of what he did as teacher. As he walked around, Grant felt bad about offending his aunt, who barely spoke to him this morning.
Every little thing irritated him and he took out his frustrations on the students, striking one with a ruler and yelling at another. Eventually, he walks outside in disgust and looks at the weather beaten tin-roofed houses across the row.
He knew each of the families in those houses, he knew all about their sad broken lives. Grant simply told her to stop crying or leave the room. Later that afternoon, a messenger arrived at the school.
Henri Pichot sent his black yardman, Farrel Jarreau, to tell Grant to come by the house at five this evening but did not say why. Grant expresses his fatalist leanings while walking around the schoolroom.
This belief in fate governs his life as well. No matter how hard he struggles, outside forces will always dictate his existence. She informs him that the white men in the other room are taking bets on whether or not Grant can get Jefferson ready for his execution.
Although he had not eaten all day, Grant refused the dinner Inez offered him. He would endure the humiliation of waiting for the Sheriff in the kitchen because of his Aunt and Miss Emma, but he would not eat at his kitchen table. She mentioned how sorry she was for Miss Emma.
When she leaves, Grant continues to stand in the kitchen. Grant tried to decide whether he should act like the nigger they expected or the teacher he was.
He decided to wait and see how things developed. As the Sheriff asked why he wanted to meet, Grant realized that hey had already discussed the matter in the other room and that the Sheriff had already made up his mind regardless of how Grant answered.
Still, Grant had to go through the motions of explaining why Miss Emma wanted him to visit Jefferson.
The Sheriff questioned Grant about his intentions and whether or not he could make Jefferson a man, all in an effort to make him look foolish in front of the other guests. In the end, the Sheriff agreed to let Grant visit Jefferson even though he thought the whole idea was a waste of time.
Notes During his conversation, Grant has to walk a very fine line. However, he refuses to play the smiling servant. This irritates both the sheriff and his posse, who were hoping to see Grant caught in a trap of logic.
We can add the Sheriff to the list of characters who believe one should accept the status quo, since thrashing about trying to improve the situation will only make things worse. In his mind, Jefferson is a hog and he should go to the chair as a contented hog instead of having his mind stirred up by new ideas.
Inside, Grant doubts that he can make a difference to Jefferson, or that a person with his background can hope to rise above his circumstances and act like a man.A Lesson Before Dying Is Ernest J.
Gaines' eighth novel, published in While it is a fictional work, it is loosely based on the true story of Willie Francis, a young Black man sentenced to death by the electric chair twice in Louisiana, in and Jul 08, · The Autumn issue of the Southern Review and the book Mozart and Leadbelly () both contain Ernest Gaines' essay "Writing A Lesson Before Dying." Quotes from the essay come from Mozart and ashio-midori.com the essay, Gaines talks about the process of writing the novel.
Originally, Gaines wanted to set the novel in the early s.
Several characters in Ernest Gaines' A Lesson Before Dying experienced this, particularly Jefferson and Grant. Both men were able to learn from each other . Free summary and analysis of the events in Ernest J. Gaines's A Lesson Before Dying that won't make you snore.
We promise. This lesson identifies and analyzes the various genres into which Ernest J. Gaines' novel, 'A Lesson Before Dying,' can be classified.
The novel was published in This detailed literature summary also contains Bibliography and a Free Quiz on A Lesson before Dying by Ernest Gaines. Published by Knopf in , A Lesson Before Dying is set in Louisiana.
Considered a success by readers and critics alike, the appeal for most readers is derived from the intense emotions the story evokes.