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Jordyn Brounstein
Ms. Gardner
Honors English 10, 4th Period
17 November 2014
Annotated Bibliographies for A Lesson Before Dying
Anup, Shah. "Racism." Global Issues: Racism. N.p., 08 Aug. 2010. Web. 16 Nov. 2014.
Shah Anup wrote about all the the segregation in our world today in his article, Racism. He
discusses the different types of racism in our world as well as the effects of these racist actions. He
neither puts his opinion into these matters nor comments on the change we can make to end these issues,
but states specifically what is and what has been happening in our world.
As with many books written in the 1960s, Ernest J. Gaines book, A Lesson Before Dying dealt
with a lot of matters revolving around racism. The entire book dealt with racial issues whether it was
being accused for murder, wanting to leave and live a better life, or being treated the same as any other
highly educated person; the racism within this novel set the tone and added meaning to the characters
emotions throughout the entire story.

Chabon, Michael. "Manhood for Amateurs." Los Angeles Times. Los Angeles Times, 04 Oct. 009. Web.
16 Nov. 2014.
In Michael Chabons article, Manhood for Amateurs, he stated the modern day routine of
someone who is manly. His description noted the modern day family man as being one of the factors
of knowing if you are truly masculine. Some people may disagree with his thesis, however his article
talked about the real life struggles on being a man from his point of view.
Manhood played a major role in the development of both Grant and Jefferson in the novel A
Lesson Before Dying, by Ernest J. Gaines. The basic premise of the book entitled the main character,
Grant, helping a boy sentenced to death, Jefferson, understand that he is a true man, even though Grant

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doesnt understand what exactly it means to be a man himself. This search for manhood is one of the
reasons this novel was not only relatable to many people, but it caused an emotional journey for both
characters as well as the readers.

Ernest J. Gaines Essay - Gaines, Ernest J. (Vol. 181) -", n.d.
Web. 16 Nov. 2014.
This article from analyzed the work from Ernest J. Gaines and criticised him for his
use of similar themes of racial inequality and attributes of manhood throughout his career. The author
never negatively documented Gaines use of these common themes, however he did comment on how
these themes could be a direct interpretation of how Gaines felt throughout his life.
Its hard to dispute with this authors criticism; thats simply because its true. Gaines explained
in other articles how these books were representations of his life with fictional characters. This criticism
of Gaines work seems to be plainly stating the obvious more than actually criticizing Gains work.

Gaines, Ernest J. "Writing A Lesson Before Dying." SOUTHERN REVIEW-BATON ROUGE- 41.4
(2005): 770.
Showing the comparisons Ernest J. Gaines had between his real life and his books, the article
Writing A Lesson Before Dying documented a real interview with the author discussing both his books and
his life. Gaines discussed the connections he had with his characters; they closely resembled himself and
the actions he went through to get to where he was in his life today.
The interview showed how Gaines writing reflected solely around his hometown in Louisiana,
often created a workplace that resembled his past environments, and enjoyed making making characters
resemble himself. One major example of this was shown in Grant Wiggins, the main character of A
Lesson Before Dying. Because of his inner need to run away, because he was stuck in an isolating town,
because he felt obligated to take care of his great aunt, because of his dreams and aspirations to do bigger

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things in bigger places, Gaines admitted to his resemblance to the main character of his award winning

"Reconceptualizing Blackness." Encyclopedia - Britannica Online Encyclopedia. N.p., n.d. Web. 16

Nov. 2014.
The article Reconceptualizing Blackness discusses the major struggles African Americans had
during the 1960s and 1970s. Because of the segregation throughout the country, not many books about
African Americans were published. This article pointed out specific authors, such as Ernest J. Gaines,
and explained how their books were influential and uplifting to the African American people.
In addition to talking about the Civil Rights movement and all the speakers that made a
contributions to that cause, the article focused on how the authors of books were able to rally people
together and make a difference in their lives. Gains was applauded for his book, The Autobiography of
Miss Jane Pittman, whose first-person narrative testifies to the dauntless progress of the black folk
whom she [Miss Jane Pittman] represents from bondage to the civil rights era (Reconceptualizing
Blackness). Gains books and meaning of words moved people to strive for equality and the integration
of people.

Smith, Nicole. "Analysis of A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest Gaines: Themes of Women and
Community." Article Myriad. N.p., 11 Dec. 2011. Web. 16 Nov. 2014.
Nicole Smith comments on the usage of the themes of womanly influence as well as the influence
of community in Gaines novel, A Lesson Before Dying. She criticizes the actions made by the main
character, Grant, and discusses his reasoning for doing what he did.
Grants actions through the novel seemed to be greatly influenced by the women in his life. No
matter how much he wished to leave and just run away from his life in Louisiana, the women he cared for
seemed to be holding him back by a thin piece of string. Even at first, when Tante Lou wanted him to go

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help Jefferson, Grant refused, but after the push from his great aunt, Miss Emma, and the woman of his
dreams, Grant managed to not only help Jefferson, but essentially complete his journey.