A Lesson Before Dying Kindle ¶ A Lesson PDF/EPUB ²

A Lesson Before Dying ❴EPUB❵ ✰ A Lesson Before Dying Author Ernest J. Gaines – Thomashillier.co.uk A Lesson Before Dying is set in a small Cajun community in the late 1940s Jefferson a young black man is an unwitting party to a liuor store shoot out in which three men are killed; the only survivor A Lesson Before Dying is set in a small Cajun community in the late s Jefferson a young black man is an unwitting party to a liuor store shoot out in which three men A Lesson PDF/EPUB ² are killed; the only survivor he is convicted of murder and sentenced to death Grant Wiggins who left his hometown for the university has returned to the plantation school to teach As he struggles with his decision whether to stay or escape to another state his aunt and Jefferson's godmother persuade him to visit Jefferson in his cell and impart his learning and his pride to Jefferson before his death In the end the two men forge a bond as they both come to understand the simple heroism of resisting and defying the expected Ernest J Gaines brings to this novel the same rich sense of place the same deep understanding of the human psyche and the same compassion for a people and their struggle that have informed his previous highly praised works of fiction.

10 thoughts on “A Lesson Before Dying

  1. Sue Sue says:

    How did I feel at the end of this bookuplifted and beaten down both All the love and all the hate and all the even stultifying indifference All the indignity and indignation So many very heavy feelings spread through this sad story but there are moments of redemption if you watch carefully for themMany already know of the storythe teenaged boy who is in the wrong place at the wrong time and ends up sentenced to death His family wants him to die as a manand wants no demands the plantation teacher assist in this job Many people change during the course of this story including any thoughtful readersShortly after starting this book I realized that I was reading something very special powerful important And I realized that I was very glad to be reading it no matter how difficult it might ultimately become Now that I have finished reading I can only add that my first impressions were correct I believe every person in this country should read this book

  2. Diane S ☔ Diane S ☔ says:

    With raw unflinching honesty and a brilliant depiction of time and place this is the story of a young black man sentenced to death for being in the wrong place at the wrong time A white man was shot to death the other two perpetrators dead someone must be held accountableA young school teacher returned to the uarters to teach the black school children and now enlisted by his aunt and the condemned man's nana to help the man go to his death as a man not as an inhuman man not much better than a hog a thing not a person Poignant depiction of strong women women who had to be since so many of the men had left and not returned In school I read this author but the book assigned was The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman which was also very good It is difficult for the reader not to e touched by this book this young man's plight and the sorrow of the people closest to him The last chapter of this book is unforgettable At least it is for me

  3. Julie Julie says:

    Reading Road Trip 2020Current location LouisianaMan walk on two foots; hogs on four hoofsThe entire front of my shirt is soaked right now from tears I am wrecked WreckedI do not understand several things at this moment as I have just finished this book 1 How did I not know who Ernest J Gaines was before I researched a “Louisiana” read for my road trip last year?2 Why isn't this book an American classic as well known as To Kill A Mockingbird?3 Are all of his books this good? Damn it I feel in over my head right now Can I do justice to this story in my response?First off I was completely hesitant to begin this This novel has a boring cover an uninspired title and I had never heard of this author before The story starts off with some awkward dialogue between the two lovers Grant and Vivian and I was rolling my eyes early on preparing myself for disasterIt was the total opposite The total opposite Within just a short chapter or two from the bad dialogue Mr Gaines seemed to hit his stride describing his surroundings in such detail I felt I was there After leaving the uarter I drove down a graveled road for about two miles then along a paved road beside the St Charles River for another ten miles There were houses and big live oak and pecan trees on either side of the road but not as many on the riverbank side There instead of houses and trees there were fishing wharves boat docks nightclubs and restaurants for whites There were one or two nightclubs for colored but there were not very goodThis story doesn't take place in New Orleans but in a small fictional town known as Bayonne Louisiana It's the late 1940s but given the surroundings and the social s it could easily be the 1840s The residents of this community still call their home “the plantation” and the protagonist Grant Wiggins “knows what it means to be a slave”Grant is an educated man known on the plantation as “The Professor” but he missed an opportunity to move with his parents to California and instead fell in love with a local woman in the small town after accepting a teaching position When a “cousin” named Jefferson is sentenced to death for a crime he did not commit Grant's aunt and the young man's godmother become obsessed with Grant's role in “rehabilitating” Jefferson to “walk as a man” to his execution and accept Jesus Christ as his personal savior before dyingThis is a big task to ask of Grant who is not only an agnostic but a jaded man who has long given up on his civic dutiesWhat follows is one of the most touching and upsetting stories I've ever read and Jefferson's godmother Miss Emma broke whatever was left of my heart Oh Lord Jesus stand by stand byI realized reading this story that we can hold up 8 billion signs that read “Black Lives Matter” but if we don't treat people with respect and common decency when we interact with each other it'll all amount to a pile of bullshit in the end There is nothing didactic here; Mr Gaines is not a preacher and his protagonist Grant Wiggins isn't much of a classroom teacher What is conveyed here is subtle a subtle cruel perversity in the disrespect invalidation and sterilization of an entire people What is the solution? Well Mr Gaines doesn't know for sure but his story makes it clear what happens when we treat people as humans and what happens when we treat them as hogs

  4. Bill Kerwin Bill Kerwin says:

    This account of a school teacher's attempt to bring dignity to the last days of a condemned man in 1940's Louisiana is moving but still somehow disappointing Shortened it would have made a fine novella

  5. Diane Barnes Diane Barnes says:

    The third Ernest Gaines novel I've read gets another 5 stars from me Just as in The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman and In My Father's House I was not uite the same person as I turned the last page that I was when I began There was a tiny seismic shift inside me that I recognized as another piece of understanding in this complicated dance of racial relations between black and whiteA simple story on the surface Young Jefferson a black man is in the wrong place at the wrong time and is sentenced to the electric chair His Godmother Miss Emma asks the local schoolteacher Grant Wiggins to visit him in jail and make him understand that he is not a hog with no understanding as the prosecutor decribed him but a young man that she is proud of The outcome is known from page one but the journey is long complicated and heart rending This is Louisiana in 1948 and the white man is in chargeAs in the other two books I mentioned the women in this novel are the strong ones and get things done Miss Emma and Aunt Lou get what they need through a combination of guilt bribery and respect They never hesitate to use them even on the white people They know what works So apparently does Ernest J Gaines His language is simple and direct but he can convey a world of emotion and feelings in just a few words He made me feel humiliation and anger and hurt so many times with just a description of a glance or movement He made me see that the black man's understanding of the white man has to be many times that of white for black just as an act of survival I ended this novel in tears not for Jefferson's death but for his life He was the bravest man in the room

  6. Chrissie Chrissie says:

    I dare you to read this and not be moved Jefferson a poor uneducated twenty one year old Black was standing in the wrong place at the wrong time in a small town liuor store outside of Bayonne Louisiana It is the 1940s Three men are killed He is the only survivor He is “tried” convicted and sentenced to the electric chair His “nannan” has one reuest She asks that Grant Wiggins a teacher at the church school be allowed to speak to him Let him die not as a “hog” but as a man Those are her words not mine Will Grant succeed or won’t he? That Jefferson is to die is not up for uestion This is a book that is about dignity and strength It is about racial prejudice and discrimination in the SouthIt is about real kindness by that I mean giving not what you want to give but what another needsIt is about education and what it has to achieve its purposeIt is about faith and religion I believe it will satisfy both those with and without religious beliefsAnd about what keeps a person alive about last reuests and about the inhumanity of the death sentence That is an awful lot for such a short book In my view the author does succeed with all these topics masterfully The characters’ words and actions are well chosen making the tale succinct and powerfulTh audiobook narration is executed by Lionel Mark Smith and Roger Guenveur Smith I had some trouble understanding specific words in the beginning Was the word I was hearing “hog” what I was supposed to be hearing? Then it cleared for me; yes it was The black Southern dialect is strong and it should be The tempo is perfect The narration is remarkably well done so this I have given five starsIn my view this is Ernest J Gaines best book A Lesson before Dying 4 starsCatherine Carmier 3 starsThe Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman 1 star

  7. Rowena Rowena says:

    “But let us say he was guilty Let us for a moment say he was guilty What justice would there be to take his life? Justice gentlemen? Why I would just as soon put a hog in the electric chair as this” Ernest J Gaines A Lesson Before Dying Jefferson an African American man living in Louisiana in the late 1940s is accused of a murder he didn’t commit His lawyer uses the “hog” defence to get him off; however this is unsuccessful and Jefferson is sentenced to death Jefferson’s godmother feels the importance of Jefferson dying as a “man” not as a “hog” so she enlists the narrator Grant to teach Jefferson how to be a man so he can die with dignityGrant was an interesting character in that he was the only educated black man in that community; the community expected a lot from him and the immense pressure he was under was evident Add to that his uestioning of the Christian faith and a complicated romantic relationship A very moody character I’m not sure how I felt about him I found the following uote immensely powerful as a person who abhors the death penalty regardless of how “bad” the person is “How do people come up with a date and a time to take life from another man? Who made them God?”This was definitely a moving book It stirred up feelings of indignation in me for sure

  8. WILLIAM2 WILLIAM2 says:

    A look back at Jim Crow era Louisiana Rosa Parks has yet take her rightful seat during the Montgomery Bus Boycott and it is still another twenty years until the Selma to Montgomery voting rights march But Jackie Robinson has recently become first baseman of the Brooklyn Dodgers In a Louisiana parish Jefferson a young black man has been convicted by 12 white men on trumped up charges of robbery and murder Jefferson’s attorney in his closing argument refers to Jefferson as a pig; in the sense that he’s just too dumb to plan much less carry out such a heinous crime This defense tactic not only does not work it becomes a bee in the godmother’s bonnet Miss Emma wants the local school teacher Grant Wiggins to instruct the doomed young man—perhaps enlighten him—so that he might go to the electric chair with some dignity She had worked for a prominent white family in the parish for ages The Pichots so she pleads with the head of the house that Grant the teacher be allowed to visit Jefferson in jail The teacher himself wants nothing to do with the idea The teacher thinks Jefferson as good as dead Professor Wiggins is an angry young man; he’s autocratic with his students furious with “the system” in the South—who wouldn’t be?—and eager to leave it behind no doubt for what he perceives as exciting northern climes His old schoolteacher Mr Ambrose has given him a good model for his bitterness and Wiggins who now holds Ambrose’s old post seems to be dutifully replicating it Truly the submission all people of color must show toward whites during Jim Crow strikes me as soul obliterating I’m on Wiggins side in his desire to leave But Vivian his lover wants him to stay She feels going off to a strange city is selfish that it’s an abandonment of their people that the only way to break the cycle of poverty and racism is to stay and help She’s right in this sense Martin Luther King Jr was born in 1929 in Atlanta By 1952 roughly the time of this novel he has graduated from Crozer Theological Seminary and was soon to launch his ministry Gaines’s prose is touched with Faulkner like so much southern writing I doubt the nature of the lesson itself can be anticipated The narrative underpinnings here depend on faith specifically Christianity This doesn’t bother me because I have an intellectual interest in world religions I found the story very moving

  9. Natalie Natalie says:

    A lesson Before Dying is a very MOVING book By reading most of the other reviews I'm sure everyone understands what this novel is about I'm not positive if I would have appreciated this book in High School had I read it 10 years ago I would like to thank Mr Gaines for his lessons I've typed out a few powerful passages that moved meThere were but these are just some I made sure I highlighted A hero is someone who something for other people He does something that other men don't and can't do He is different from other men He is above other men No matter who those other men are the hero no matter who he is is above them Do you know what a myth is Jefferson? I asked him A myth is an old lie that people believe in White people believe that they're better then anyone else on earth and that's a myth The last thing they ever want is to see a black man stand and think and show that common humanity that is in us all It would destroy their myth They would no longer gave justification for having made us slaves and keeping us in the condition we are in As long as none of stand they're safe Please listen to me because I would not lie to you now I speak from my heart You have the chance of being bigger then anyone who has ever lived on that plantation or come from this little town You can do it if you try You have seen how Mr Farrell makes a slingshot handle He starts with just a little piece of rough wood any little piece of scrap wood then he starts cutting Cutting and cutting and cutting then shaving Shaves it down clean and smooth till it's not what it was before but something new and pretty You know what I'm talking about because you have seen him do it You had one that he made from a piece of scrap wood Yes yes I saw you with it And it came from a piece of old wood that he found in the yard somewhere And that's all we are Jefferson all of us on this earth a piece of drifting wood until we each of us individually decide to become something else I am still that piece of drifting wood and those out there are no better But you can be better

  10. Paul Bryant Paul Bryant says:

    Some books if you don’t like them you feel you’re going to be excommunicated from all decent society and be made to go about wearing sackcloth still available from and ashes and ringing a bell shouting “unclean unclean” Eg The Heart is a Lonely Hunter and everything by Marilyn Robinson These books are so well meaning and uplifting it would be like publicly declaring that you find kittens unattractive or Van Gogh was a bit crap A Lesson before Dying is one of these novels It had some great rage against the machine stuff in it but all that business about getting the wrongly accused black kid to walk like a man to the electric chair to make his old aunt happy was a lot of very slow dancing on the head of a pin and the atheist teacher and the faithful old preacher should have gone the full ten rounds and the chapter of the wrongly accused black kid’s prison diary was totally Flowers For Algernon and should have been snipped Etc etc etc Where’s my bell?“Unclean unclean”

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