Dr. Gaines 's A Lesson Before Dying

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Although death is a constant presence in Earnest J. Gaines’s A Lesson Before Dying, in the deep South, death by electrocution was most common. Even though death is a standard occurrence in the novel, these events are still notorious for being disturbing to any witness of them, white or black. When is it justified to sentence a man to death for committing homicide? Could the word justice suffice? Did equality seem fitting? Is it in fact a lesson learned? It seems impossible to be taught a lesson when one is dead. In A Lesson Before Dying, Jefferson, a young colored man, is sentenced to death after witnessing the murder of three men and being found at the scene of the crime. To any rational person who wasn 't present at the actual events leading up to the deaths, it would appear that Jefferson had murdered them rather than the case of being in the wrong place at the wrong time that his defense argued.
Being the audience of this novel, we know for a fact that Jefferson must be innocent of committing the murders; however the characters have no real justification except for Jefferson’s reputation. This seems to be nothing more than a racial factor from the viewpoint of the jury as they pronounce him guilty of manslaughter in the first degree, since a “hog” such as he could never be innocent. In the novel, people of color are degraded and treated unfairly. In the time period in which the novel takes place, it was not unusual for white citizens to act and be treated as

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