Title: A lesson before dying Essay, New York, Vintage Contemporaries, 1993. Scene: A small Cajun community outside of Bayonne Louisiana onehundred years after Emancipation. It is the story of a teacherand a prisoner who have to work together and find what it is to be a man. Theme: Recognizing Injustice and Facing ResponsibilityKey Persons: Jefferson, a poor man who was convicted of a crime, andsentenced to death. He rediscovers his self-worth and prepares to face his execution with dignity and purposeGrant Wiggins, a teacher who was forced to go and help Jefferson before hisexecution. Vivian, Grant’s girlfriend and also a teacher, she is tryingto divorce her husband.
Miss Emma, Jefferson’s grandmother, whoraised him and wants Grant to teach him to walk like a man before he is putto death. Tante Lou, Grant’s aunt who raised him and who he lives with, Miss Emma’s best friend. Reverend Ambrose, the communitys self-proclaimed preacher, wants to helpJefferson find God before he is put to death. 1. Jefferson is convicted of murder and sentenced to death byelectrocution.
Miss Emma is distraught, and has Grant drive her and2. Grant finds out that he has to go and visit Jefferson and try to make3. Grant goes to visit Jefferson but he will not even recognize his4. Grant tells Vivian that he does not want to go back. That he justwants them to run away from here and go anywhere that she wants.
She5. Jefferson is impolite to Miss Emma, Tante Lou and Reverend Ambrose. 6. Grant finally reaches Jefferson by offering to buy him a radio sothat he can listen to music whenever he wants.
Reverend Ambrose isenvious about Grant reaching Jefferson because Grant doesn’t believe inHeaven and the Reverend knows that Jefferson needs to find God as well as7. Grant convinces Jefferson to write down his feelings and questions sothat Grant can answer or just talk to him. 8. Jefferson writes in his journal that he loves his grandmother that heknows the type of people who work in the jail, saying that he knows theyare good people.
He apologizes to Grant for talking about Vivian badly. Jefferson talks about his dream of walking, but he doesn’t know to where. He says that he does not sleep because he is to frightened to. 9. It is the day of execution and another inmate is shaving Jefferson.
He then gives the notebook of his thoughts to Paul so that he can pass it off to grant10. Grant is waiting for the news that it is over. He does not want to watch Jefferson die. Paul tells Grant that Jefferson was the strongest man in theroom. Grant, crying, goes back into the classroom to tell his students that it is finally over. Key Symbols: The Radio: It is a symbol of the outside world and makes him feel human.
Opinion: Although recommended by a friend, I did not enjoy this book as much as I wanted to. It was long and almost a chore to read.Bibliography: .