Carmean, Karen. Ernest J. Gaines: A Critical Companion. Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press, 1998.
Estes, David C., ed. Critical Reflections on the Fiction of Ernest J. Gaines. Athens: University of Georgia Press, 1994.
Gaines, Ernest J. A Gathering of Old Men. New York: Vintage Press, 1983.
———. The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman. New York: Dial Press, 1971.
Genovese, Eugene. Roll, Jordan, Roll: The World the Slaves Made. New York: Random House, 1993.
Prejean, C. S. J. Dead Man Walking. New York: Harper and Row, 1991.
Rosengarten, Theodore. All God’s Dangers: The Life of Nate Shaw. New York: Broadway Books, 1989.
The main conflict of A Lesson Before Dying lies within Grant himself. Even though Grant struggles to manage in the racist white society, his primary struggle is with his own mind. As he says to Vivian, he cannot face Jefferson because he cannot face himself and his own life. Vivian exposes Grant’s conflicted nature by bringing up the fact that he left the South in the past but eventually returned. Grant feels repulsed by the environment in which he grew up, but somehow he cannot bring himself to leave. Despite his statement that Vivian’s... Read more→
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rant’s inner conflict stems from his experiences in education, including his exposure to the cynical Antoine. Inspired by years of study, Grant wants to make great changes in his hometown. Grant’s behavior defies stereotype, but in order to live, he must follow certain rules that make his small moments of defiance futile. The losing battle between small rebellions and survival becomes clear in Grant’s conversation with Guidry. Grant takes pride in flouting Guidry’s racist expectations by using grammatical English and maintaining his ... Read more→
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Her comment here at the end of Chapter 12 shows that she enjoys the thought of living with Grant in the South. Gaines shows Vivian’s emotional state here in order to heighten the ensuing clash between her and Grant that occurs later in the novel.