A Lesson After Dying Literary Analysis

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A Lesson After Dying “I turned from him and went into the church. Irene Cole told the class to rise with their shoulders back. I went up to the desk and turned to face them. I was crying.” (Gains, 256) The book A Lesson Before Dying set in a small community of Bayonne, Louisiana, in the 1940’s. It tells the story of Jefferson an uneducated black man, that was wrongly convicted of the robbery and murder of a white man. After being sentenced to death, his godmother and Miss Emma convince local plantation school teacher Grant Wiggins to go to the jail to teach Jefferson to be an educated man. At the end the person who ends up learning the real lesson before dying is Grant, after him and Jefferson forge a close bond. In the story A Lesson Before Dying the author Gains never truly reveals which character, Grant or Jefferson, actually learns the lesson of being a man, but through characterization and setting Gains shows that Grant learns the true lesson of becoming a man. The characterization of Grant Wiggins helps portray his true character and how he changes throughout the story.Throughout the story Grant is portrayed as selfish and doesn’t seem to care for anyone but…show more content…
The story A Lesson Before Dying was set in the 1940’s when there was a heavy amount of discrimination against blacks. Such as when the story states “ No.gentlemen this skull here holds no plans. What you see here is a thing that acts on command and, A thing to hold the handle of a plow, a thing to load your bales of cotton, a thing to dig your ditches, to chop wood, to pull your corn.” (Gains, 8) As a result of this story being set when racism was in full effect it also shows the struggles both Grant and Jefferson were forced to live with. Lastly, setting is a major literary term that helps show the true lesson being learned by
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