A Lesson Before Dying

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Vintage Contemporaries, 1993 - Fiction - 256 pages
69 Reviews

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 liquor store shoot out in which three men 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 unformed his previous, highly praised works of fiction.

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User Review  - Emma_Manolis - LibraryThing

Maybe someday I can be a published author too? I was really hoping to walk away from this book feeling changed in some way. I wanted a lesson that would impact my perspective. Maybe there was one and I was just too bored to see it? Read full review

LibraryThing Review

User Review  - Carol420 - LibraryThing

The story is set in the late 1940's in the small Cajun community of Bayonne, Louisiana. Racism continues to haunt this small town and all of its members. This story is told through the eyes of a young ... Read full review

Contents

I
3
II
10
III
16
Copyright

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About the author (1993)

Ernest Gaines was born on a plantation in Pointe Coup e Parish near New Roads, Louisiana, which is the Bayonne of all his fictional works. He is writer-in-residence emeritus at the University of Louisiana at Lafayette. In 1993 Gaines received the John D. and Catherine T. MacArthur Foundation Fellowship for his lifetime achievements. In 1996 he was named a Chevalier de l'Ordre des Arts et des Lettres, one of France's highest decorations. He and his wife, Dianne, live in Oscar, Louisiana.

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