SAT Prep

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SAT Prep

A Lesson Before Dyingby Ernest J. Gaines

A Lesson Before Dying is set in a rural Louisiana town during the 1940s. A slower man named Jefferson is caught at a murder scene in a liqour store, and though he was innocent, he is sentenced to death because he is black. His godmother, deeply offended by his treatment during his trial, then arranges for her best friend's nephew, Grant Wiggins, who is a local schoolteacher, to regularly visit Jefferson and educate him so that he "dies a man." Despite a rough start, Jefferson and Grant become close friends, and Jefferson is visited by other characters in the book while Grant separately struggles with moral dilemmas such as the value of his life and his relationship with a nearby teacher. Despite attack from the black community for supposedly straying Jefferson from God (as Grant is a known agnostic), the novels ends with Jefferson's death by electrocution and the revealation that Jefferson definitely died a man.

A Chat: Grant has a dark talk with his old teacher about the meaning of his life.



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