A Lesson before Dying Essay

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In the following review, Larson focuses on Gaines's treatment of human dignity and the "morality of connectedness" in A Lesson Before Dying.

The incident that propels the narrative of Ernest J. Gaines's rich new novel is deceptively simple. Shortly after World War II, in a Cajun Louisiana town, a twenty-one-year-old black man who is barely literate finds himself in the wrong place at the wrong time, an innocent bystander during the robbery of a liquor store. The white store owner is killed, as are the two black men who attempt to rob the store; Jefferson—who is just standing there—panics. He grabs a bottle of liquor and starts drinking it. Then he looks at the phone, knowing he should call someone, but he's never used a dial phone in his life. Flight seems the only option, but as he leaves the store, two white customers...

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This section contains 975 words
(approx. 3 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.