A Lesson Before Dying book review
Gaines gives many inspiring morals and clear images of the obstacles people have to overcome through strong imagery his language. In A Lesson Before Dying, the book is written from Grant Wiggins perspective. Since it’s from his point of view, the reader is able to build a connection with him as the main character. This allows the reader to experience it from his view and showing the thoughts of an African American back then. Gaines chooses to focus on his portrayal of Southern society back then (and now) to express his beliefs.
This book vividly explored into the objects of racism, stereotypes, and segregation in the rural South through the characters of Gainer’s novel. This touching story highlights the lack of justice during that time (even though the justice system today has a long way to go). You experience the injustice occurring to African American men from the main Character, Jefferson (a black man). He happened to be in the store at the time the owner was shot. Jefferson is innocent though but is awaiting his execution for this crime he did not commit.
He had given up on life, friendship and family. The county district attorney has referred to him as a hog”, not even a man. Jefferson believes that he is worthless. Ernest Grants is the man who tries to get Jefferson back on his feet again. Jefferson becomes an idol/ leader for all the black men in the county. He learns to defend himself even though he is going to die. Jefferson would an HONORABLE MAN, and not just a hog, or a black man who is discriminated against.
A Lesson Before Dying makes it so that you’re unable to stop thinking about all the people who died, needlessly, for a crime they didn’t commit, for being forced into ghettos despite having the potential for more, at a time where the Constitution had already been amended to, supposedly, protect them. This book definitely demonstrates Jim Crow laws well in that time period, and it is something that should be widely read, even if it isn’t perfect. There are so many moral lessons bursting through the pages of A Lesson Before Dying. We learn, through Ernest J.
Gaines, about love, religion and family. But most importantly, we learn how important it is to stay true to yourself. To never give someone else the opportunity to take and shatter your personal dignity;. The lesson was not for the dying, for the losing of life, for the soon to be executed. The lesson is for the living for the chasing Of life, for anyone heroic enough to be more than what is expected. Jefferson shows he learned his lesson of the belief that he was more worthy than the others thought he was. Quoted from the novel, “Good by Mr. wigging tell them IM strong tell them IM a man. In Chapter 29, Jefferson writes these words to Grant in his diary. His farewell shows he understands what his life and death mean to his people: he wants Grant to bolster the black community by telling them that Grant died as a strong brave man. The book showed me how one’s belief loud change one so dramatically! Jefferson is also able to teach a lesson to Grant, the educated but also struggling character, is to summon the courage to believe that Grant is a person of value too and worthy of happiness. We all have things to teach one another, no matter our station in the world.
A Lesson Before Dying is truly captivating. The way the story flows and every event that happens you can imagine what is going on through the strong choice of words. Ernest Gaines uses good word choices to create imagery. When Jefferson and his girlfriend were together, the author described the eating with “A swarm of black birds flew across the the road an alighted in a pecan tree in one of the backyards to our left”. Vivid descriptions like that allow the reader to picture the scene of where Jefferson and his girlfriend were.
Earners writings is constantly revealing the traits of the characters. With minor plots throughout the novel, there are many different times when we find something new about a character. The diction also makes it so you can see the purpose the author is trying to show. It gives a great connection interpretation of the unfairness that is going on. This book is just captivating the way that Gaines tells the story. He really moves the reader by saying so little but meaning so much. A simple gesture, a minute detail, a brief reply speak volumes in this work.
Using deceptively simple language, Ernest communicates tremendously deep truths about humanity and the human condition. The diction in the dialogue matches how people talked backed then. For example, Jefferson said “I’m goon show you how a old hog eat” shows that he has a southern accent because the author Uses “goon” Beautifully written for its trustiness, making it a smooth and enjoyable read. This book is a well-written, moving story about the challenges of being an African-American man in America.