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A Lesson Before Dying

Ernest J. Gaines

Quiz

Study Questions & Essay Topics

Suggestions for Further Reading

1. Where does this novel take place?

2. Why did Grant refuse to go to the trial?

3. Why does Jefferson say he took the money from the cash register?

4. What reason does Jefferson’s lawyer give for sparing Jefferson’s life?

5. What is Miss Emma’s relation to Jefferson?

6. What does Grant Wiggins teach?

7. Where is Grant’s school located?

8. What does Louis Rougon want to bet Henri Pichot when Grant visits the Pichot house for the second time?

9. Why is Vivian reluctant to spend the night with Grant?

10. Why does Miss Emma hit Jefferson during her visit to his cell?

11. Why does Miss Emma want to meet with Jefferson in the dayroom?

12. Why didn’t Vivian’s family like her husband?

13. What event directly follows the superintendent’s visit?

14. How does Grant gather enough money to buy Jefferson a radio?

15. How do Tante Lou and Miss Emma get Grant to visit Jefferson alone?

16. Sheriff Guidry warns Grant that he will lose his visiting privileges if which of the following happens?

17. What do Grant’s students send Jefferson?

18. At the Christmas program, Reverend Ambrose makes a subtle reference to which of the following?

19. Why does Grant get in a fight with two mulatto men in a bar?

20. Jefferson admits to Grant that he would like his last meal to be which of the following?

21. How does Grant get Jefferson’s notebook?

22. How does the chair arrive at the courthouse?

23. What does the sheriff do the morning of Jefferson’s execution?

24. Who shaves Jefferson before the execution?

25. Who informs Grant that the execution is over?

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Conflicts

by brittdawg22, September 02, 2013

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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75 out of 77 people found this helpful

conflicts

by brittdawg22, September 02, 2013

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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6 out of 7 people found this helpful

future conflict?

by brittdawg22, September 02, 2013

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.

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