Female Characters In A Lesson Before Dying

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The fictional town of Bayonne in A Lesson Before Dying is based on a plantation where the author Ernest J. Gaines was born. This novel took place in the late 1940s a time when radical discrimination was a major problem, and the Jim Crow laws validated segregation and discrimination. Although the major personalities are males, there are three female characters that influence the males to solve the difficulties in their life they would usually ignore. Each female character persuades and motivates Jefferson and Grant from running away from their responsibilities. Tante Lou and Miss Emma convince Grant to make Jefferson die like a man and not a hog, and Vivian makes Grant stay in the quarter and not run away from his purpose in his life. One of the first female characters introduced is Miss Emma, Jefferson’s godmother. The first description of Miss Emma is in the courtroom where she is described as a heavy-set woman weighing approximately two-hundred pounds. We know she is a caring woman because while in the courtroom she never got up to use the bathroom or get a glass of water. Even though she may not be strong enough to sway the juries mind or protect Jefferson of the unfair sentencing of death by electrocution. She is strong enough to stay in the courtroom and give the support that Jefferson needs. Everyone by now knew what the outcome would be for Jefferson. Gaines illustrates the reason why Miss Emma and the other blacks were upset was because his defense attorney called
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