Ernest Gaines Biography | Author of A Lesson before Dying

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Ernest J. Gaines, EJ for short, was born in the slave area of a Louisiana plantation on January 15, 1933. His father, Manuel, and mother, Adrienne J. (Colar) Gaines, worked as plantation laborers. Gaines's Aunt Augusteen cared for Gaines and his siblings as they grew up in "the Quarters." Gaines's earliest memories reflect times spent on his aunt's front porch listening to her friends' stories. After Gaines learned to read and write, he enjoyed writing letters for his aunt and her elderly friends. Through listening and writing, Gaines grew to understand himself and his people.

Gaines moved to San Francisco, California, with his mother and stepfather when he was fifteen years old. San Francisco offered Gaines a world of new experiences far removed from his aunt's front porch. Most importantly, he discovered libraries in San Francisco and quickly became an avid reader. Homesick for family, friends, and the Southern plantation...

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This section contains 464 words
(approx. 2 pages at 400 words per page)
Buy the A Lesson before Dying Study Guide
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A Lesson before Dying from Novels for Students. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.