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Ernest J. Gaines, "Tell them I am a man ", Chapter III - A review

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  1. The meaning of the title "A lesson before dying"
  2. The different attitudes between Miss Emma, Grant and Mr. Henri
  3. The presence of the segregation and the racism in the text

Published in 1993 by Alfred A. Knopf, A lesson before dying is Ernest J. Gaines' sixth novel. The story is set in the 1940s, in the fictional community of Bayonne, which is clearly based on Gaines' own childhood home, which is called Pointe Coupee Parish, in Louisiana. To understand the novel better, it is essential to have knowledge of the historical situation in the southern states during that time. Black people were still treated as slaves and discriminated. The racism against black people is shown in the book and the principal theme appears to be political, while it denounces the issue of injustice in the form of white racism and death penalty. It also raises the question on the state of mind of a person who lives in the anticipation of death. This is a moralistic novel with a distinct sense of the right and the wrong. The author wants the reader to feel compassion for a young black man, Jefferson who has been accused for a murder he did not commit. We review the novel in this document.

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