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It also brings him into conflict with Reverend Ambrose, who believes that dignity can only come from faith in God--at the Christmas pageant, Ambrose even implies that Grant is no better than Jefferson, because neither man has faith. By the end of the novel, both men learn from Jefferson that dignity is intrinsic and comes from loving and being loved, and does not come from external sources like religion or education.

A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines

Grant's job as a schoolteacher puts him in the middle of many debates that raged at the time about what and how African-Americans should be taught. Grant greatly values his status as an educated man, and believes that literature has the power to help people understand the world around them. Nevertheless, he is doubtful that public education as it works in the quarter is very effective. Grant also frets that he is being required to impart white values, and that even as it helps people, education might also be eroding African-American culture.

Racism pervades the ethnically mixed town of Bayonne, a fact that might not surprise those familiar with the history of the South at this time. However, Gaines also portrays racism within the African-American community in the quarter. Mulattos avoid associating with full-blooded African-Americans, and Grant himself harbors some negative stereotypes about mulattos, speculating that they all work in bricklaying so they don't have to be around full blacks.

The women who are considered beautiful in the quarter all seem to be light-skinned. Gaines takes care to emphasize that anyone can be racist, without minimizing the enormity of segregation by whites. At the beginning of the novel, Grant views religion with disdain, acknowledging its important place in African-American culture while questioning its truth and its usefulness.

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He fears committing himself to a fight he cannot win. This defeatist attitude makes him shun responsibility, and he Gaines, and African-American writer. This author was born on a plantation in Louisiana at the beginning of the thirties. Louisiana has been a source of inspiration for his novel since he only writes about the life of black people in the A Lesson Before Dying is a deceptively simple novel that explores numerous complex themes.

Gaines uses harsh or austere language to reflect the spiritual and personal alienation of humans in the twentieth century. Through Grant The townspeople are all struck by this strange truck which parks by the courthouse.


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The night before, Grant and Vivian drink at the Rainbow Club but find they cannot talk. Grant goes Home slightly drunk He spent his childhood digging potatoes, and for a days labor was rewarded with 50 cents. He was raised during this time by his aunt, Augusteen Jefferson, who showed Gaines a determination most of us could only dream of, as she cared for her family with no legs to support her. At age 15, after moving to Vallejo, California with his parents, Gaines discovered the joy of the public library Free Essays words 2.

Gaines, is perhaps the strongest character in African-American literature. Jefferson is a courageous young black man that a jury of all white men convicts of a murder he has not committed ; yet he still does not let this defeat destroy his personal character. Free Essays words 1. Gaines Vancil initiates the criticism of A lesson Before Dying in an old-fashioned, excessive religious genre of attitudes. Wiggins has just evolved into the Diaspora of African-American people whose adapted a new way of thought and forever changing lifestyle alterations ranging from the southern to western regions in America Gaines Essays.

Gaines Essays Length: words 2. Essay Preview.

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Read Full Essay Click the button above to view the complete essay, speech, term paper, or research paper. Need Writing Help? A Lesson before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines Essays] Better Essays words 5. Gaines - Ernest J.