Ernest Gaines's A Lesson Before Dying

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When one writes a book, it is up to the author to make their work as descriptive and vivid as possible, especially if it is set in a fictional world. To do so is to allow the reader to mentally connect with the novel, permitting them to imagine this world that the characters live in. In his eye-opening book “A Lesson Before Dying”, Ernest Gaines does just this: through his use of setting he shows the true horror behind racism, and how it can destroy a man’s life. Without describing the setting, one would not be able to imagine and connect their knowledge to the harsh situations people were in back then, especially the situation black people were in. First off, the location where this book takes place plays an extremely important role in the overall plot. At that time in the southern USA, black people did not have the rights that everyone else had. However, in other areas such as northern USA and Canada, black people did have more rights; many were…show more content…
In the 1940s, every time there was something that needed to be done a group of white people would do it. Even if it directly influenced the lives of one or many black people, it would still be only whites. This is shown in Jackson’s trial, where everyone deciding his sentence is of one skin colour: the jury and the judge, all white. The lack of diversity in situations like this was a sad truth of this time; black people did not have a say in anything, as they were discriminated against and thought to be lower than the rest. These surrounding gave rise to not a fair and just trial, but a single group of people merely finding physical differences, pointing them out, and punishing the accused. Gaines used this scene to further his point: racism was alive and well during the 1940s, and it allowed readers to truly understand the hardships that black people faced every single
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