Plot”A Lesson Before Dying” tells a story about a teacher on a Louisiana plantation named Grant Wiggins who was asked to help a man named Jefferson gain his dignity back.
Jefferson was accused of murdering a store clerk named Mr. Groupe and was sentenced to death. During the trial, Jefferson’s defendant dehumanize him by calling him a hog thinking that the jury would give him mercy but just made things worse for Jefferson. After the trial, Jefferson’s godmother Miss Emma didn’t want her godson to be known as a hog, so she asked Grant to help make Jefferson look like a man as he walked to his death. As Grant helped Jefferson, Grant comes to learn that he needed to fix some problems about himself. The story ends with Jefferson dying with dignity and Grant learning a lesson about himself.
Structure/Form At the beginning of “A Lesson Before Dying”, Grant is talking about what happened at Jefferson’s trial. It goes in the past to give a description of why Jefferson was given the death sentence and why people think that he is useless to humanity. These details help the story continue because it helps the reader know why Grant is having such a hard time making Jefferson feel cared about. The arrangement of the book helps the reader because at the beginning of the story it gives a brief outline of what Grant will be doing throughout the story.Point of View “A Lesson Before Dying” is told in first person in the perspective of Grant Wiggins who helps rise Jefferson’s dignity. ” I don’t want them to kill no hog, she said.
I want a man to go to that chair, on his own two feet.”(E. Gains 13). First person suits “A Lesson Before Dying” the best because it tells a story about Grant life experience and how he helps Jefferson. The book is highly subjective to Grant’s life and makes sure you feel his emotion by the way the book is written. The story has an agenda to teach you a lesson that isn’t directly stated but is hinted at as the story is told.
For example, Grant must let Jefferson know that there are people that love him because Jefferson thinks he is useless to the world. ” ” I’m a old hog,” he said, more to himself than me. “Just a old hog they fattening up to kill for Christmas.” “That would hurt your nannan if she heard you say that. You want me to tell her that?” ” Old hogs don’t care what people say.” “She cares,” I said” (E.
Gain 83). Throughout “A Lesson Before Dying”, Grant gives most of the detail in the story but the detail that are not given are given by other characters in the story. That would make the narrator not omniscient because other characters give details.Main Character In “A Lesson Before Dying” the narrator, Grant Wiggins was first introduced when he got home from teaching at a school on a Louisiana plantation. As Grant came into the house, he was asked to sit down from his aunt Tante Lou.
” “Sit down, Grant,” my aunt said”( E. Gain 12) Grant is an African American who is in his mid-twenties and wants to explore somewhere more grand than a small plantation in Louisiana. ” “You want to leave from here tonight?” I ask her.”(E. Gain 28). He wants to get away from his struggles in life but his girlfriend Vivian keep him there. The quote ” “You’re just lost,” he said. “That’s all.
You’re just lost” “Yes, sir, I’m lost. Like most men, I’m lost.” “(E. Gains 217) shows that Grant does not know where he is at in life because the quote expresses that Grant is “lost”.Setting”A Lesson Before Dying” is set in 1948 on a Louisiana plantation outside of the city of Bayonne. The plantation is calm and made of mostly fields where the people work, live, and also go to church “Beyond the flag I could see smoke rising from the chimneys in the quarter, and beyond the houses and chimneys I could hear the tractors harvesting sugarcane in the fields.”(E. Gains 33).
The setting in this story shows what it was like to be an African American in 1948. African Americans would have to work for whites to get their respect but also make a living. Since African Americans work so hard for the whites, they would bring up all the hard work they did for the whites to get their help. ” “I done done a lot for this family and this place, Mr. Henri,” she said. “All I’m asking you talk to the sheriff for me.
I done done a lot for this family over the years.”(E. Gains 21). There were also many buildings like The Rainbow Club that played a vital role in the story.
Grant would go there to get a drink or meet up with someone “Where are you?” “The Rainbow Club.” This setting helps express the story because they help set the mood and describes what it was like to be a colored man in 1948.Theme In “A Lesson Before Dying”, many themes are given to the reader that is important to the story. One of the themes is about how a man named Jefferson who has trouble accepting death without having dignity. ” Hogs don’t eat no candy,” he said”(E.
Gains 83). As “A Lesson Before Dying” progresses it shows how Grant helps Jefferson get his dignity before he is put in the electric chair. ” You’re not a hog,” I said.
“Your a man.”(E. Gains 83). The big question is addressed by the way Jefferson feel after his trial when his defendant called him a “hog”. “Why, I would just soon put a hog in the electric chair as this.”(E. Gains 8).
As it comes closer to Jefferson death, Grant finally get through Jefferson’s head to make him think he is not worthless.The big question was answered when Jefferson figure out he was not worthless but was a man.Title The title of a story is important because it gives you an idea of what the book is telling.
“A Lesson Before Dying” is a great title because the book tells a story about a man named Jefferson who gained dignity and Grant who figure out stuff about himself. “He was the strongest in that crowded room, Grant Wiggins”(E. Gains253). The book “A Lesson Before Dying” does not state that Jefferson or Grant learned something but before Jefferson died, he accepted death after gaining his back dignity because of Grant. “You’re more a man then I am, Jefferson”(E.
Gains 225) By the end of “A Lesson Before Dying”, Grants figures out his life problem tries to change them. So the title of “A Lesson Before Dying” is literal because both Grant and Jefferson figure things out about themselves. The title of “A Lesson Before Dying” does not appear in the novel but is understood as the book is read. The title does not mean anything else, so it is not an allusion. The title of “A Lesson Before Dying” expresses what the book is about, so it is connected to the themeStyle “A Lesson Before Dying is written in a style that is old because Gains tells a story of African American in 1948. Since African American were not well educated at this time in history, their grammar and pronunciation were not very good. “Ain’t you go’n speak to Miss Emma”(E.
Gains 11). Throughout “A Lesson Before Dying”, the sentence structure is good and Gains uses words that are not used often. “He looked at me a few times and batted his eyes a few times”(E. Gains 153). The diction of the text is good and uses many words like in the last quote that are complex.
Throughout “A Lesson Before Dying”, Gains does not use any particular literary device because he uses all of them to make it a good book.