A Lesson Before Dying Personification Analysis

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Ernest J. Gaines as a Storyteller In order to be successful as an author and engage readers effectively, one must incorporate certain elements. Ernest J. Gaines included multiple stylistic elements in his novel, “A Lesson Before Dying”, therefore, he is quite effective as a storyteller. One rhetorical device included in the novel was metaphor. Another device Gaines used in “A Lesson Before Dying” was personification. Furthermore, Ernest used allusions throughout the novel. Firstly, Gaines used metaphors numerous times in the novel. One instance a metaphor occurred was when Matthew Antoine was talking to Grant about teaching: “I told you what you should have done, but no, you want to stay. Well, you will believe me one day. When you see…show more content…
One example of personification is when comes to visit Grant after work: “A little farther over, where another patch of cane was standing, tall and blue-green, you could see the leaves swaying softly from a breeze.” (Gaines 86) The use of personification is effective because it allows the reader to visualise. In this instance, it creates an image of the leaves swaying in the wind. Additionally, the electric chair nicknamed “Gruesome Gerty” was personified. The chair was the personification of evil. As it was brought through the town, it struck fear in the hearts and sent shivers down the spines of all who saw it: “Melvina and Juanita continued to watch the truck parked beside the courthouse. Then suddenly Melvina’s heart started pumping extra fast, and Juanita heard her say, “No, no.” “Yes, yes,” she heard Juanita say” (Gaines 193) We can assume that these reactions were stemmed from guilt because the chair reminded them that by not rebutting the unfair criminal justice system, they too were responsible for the death of Jefferson. Because he used personification multiple times throughout his novel, Gaines is an adequate…show more content…
Gaines used allusions on multiple occasions. In chapter 8, Matthew Antoine references Hitler as well as the Klu Klux Klan when speaking to Grant: “Nothing pleases me more than when I hear of something wrong. Hitler had his reasons, and even the Ku Klux Klans of the South for what they do. You don’t believe me, do you?” (Gaines 52) By using this reference, it illustrated the severity of the alienation of blacks in the Southern United States. In 1619, a Dutch ship “introduced the first captured Africans to America, planting the seeds of a slavery system that evolved into a nightmare of abuse and cruelty that would ultimately divide the nation”. The Africans were not treated humanely, but were treated as workers with no rights. Originally, they were to work for poor white families for seven years and receive land and freedom in return. As the colonies prospered, the colonists did not want to give up their workers and in 1641, slavery was legalized. The northern states prohibited slavery between 1770 and 1804, but it was still prominent in the southern states. In 1808, congress made the import of new slaves illegal but by 1860, the slave population was almost 4 million. In 1850, Abraham Lincoln was elected president. Lincoln wanted to abolish slavery, but the war aim of the central Union was to save the United States first. In September 1862, five days after the Union victory in Antietam, Lincoln declared an emancipation proclamation to free the slaves. The Emancipation
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