Book Review: A Lesson Before Dying

Essay by EssaySwap ContributorHigh School, 11th grade February 2008

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The novel A Lesson before Dying, by Ernest Gaines is an exquisite book that shows how education can be viewed differently. This story is about a non-educated black young male named Jefferson, and how he gets caught with the wrong group of people. Education can occur in many different forms, depending on the way in which you live.

The novel begins when Jefferson is getting a ride with two friends who then tried to rob a liquor store. The liquor store that they tried to rob was owned by a white man whom they shot and killed. Jefferson was blamed for the killing of the white man, a crime which he didn?t commit. During his trial Jefferson is called a ?hog? numerous times, and then he is sentenced to death. Jefferson is in jail waiting the time at which he will die, and during that time all he can think about is how the people called him a ?hog?.

Jefferson is visited by several people while in jail, one of whom is a Reverend; the Reverend tells Jefferson that he needs to be educated on the Word of God before he dies. While Jefferson is in jail, his godmother sends a young teacher named Grant to teach Jefferson the education of becoming a man. Grant is chosen because he is the only person in his community to go to college, and the people in his community look up to him. Grant at first doesn?t want to teach Jefferson the fundamentals of being a man because he figures Jefferson?s already dead. As the story continues, Grant learns that he can educate Jefferson in a significant way.

The way that Grant tries to educate Jefferson is by talking to him and trying to get him to open up. Jefferson learns from...