Analysis Of A Lesson Before Dying

Decent Essays
‘Death by electrocution.’ was the sentence Jefferson, a young black man who was at the scene of a triple-homicide at the wrong time, received. Jefferson’s nannan wanted a former teacher of Jefferson’s to prove to him that he was a man, and not a hog as the prosecutor had said. This is the lesson in A Lesson Before Dying, written by Ernest J. Gaines. One of Gaines’ purposes for writing this novel was raise awareness of the social injustices people must endure, and use to help others find purpose in life. Gaines raised this awareness through African-American roles in society, women’s roles in society, and racial tensions between blacks and whites. African-Americans had long before the 1940’s been taken advantage of in the United States. Beginning with colonization in the early 1600s when Natives were deemed prone to illness and too weak to endure the work of slavery, Africans were brought to the colonies from Africa to be sold in slave auctions. Many times there was hope for the Africans and later African-Americans that there would one day equality between their races and their superior white owners. Beginning with the American Revolution, slaves were promised freedom with British success and supporting the British troops. As the British lost, the grasping hope of freedom diminished. In 1808, the slave trade to the United States ended, but with millions of slaves in North America, slavery continued to thrive. The Civil War brought about another hope for slaves that
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