A Lesson Before Dying Essay

579 WordsOct 21, 20133 Pages
Cady V 10/2/12 Ms. Nordstrom 9 A Lesson Before Dying Many times, an author’s personal life experiences influence their writing. Ernest Gaines’ upbringing was reflected in his book, A Lesson Before Dying. His life when he was younger relates to Jefferson and Grant as well as many of the other characters. The setting of his childhood helped create the setting of A Lesson Before Dying. From his interview, we know that Ernest Gaines grew up on a plantation, like Grant. Gaines’ description of his childhood fits with Grant’s past, which shows how the author took bits of his own life and applied them to his book. Having background information that came from his own life gave his story accuracy that would not have existed had he been raised in a different place or time. Gaines also grew up working in the fields, which he applied to the lives of most of the characters in his story as well. He also went to a church school as a child, which is where Grant teaches and where Jefferson used to attend. One of the most impacting pieces of his life on the novel was the San Francisco executions. When Gaines lived in California, there would be weekly executions which horrified him and which he tried his best to avoid. These events, he says, drove him to write A Lesson Before Dying. He claims that the nightmares he had made him wonder what it must be like for a person to know that there were only a couple days left to live, and so he created Jefferson’s story. Gaines read his first novel when he moved to California to pursue his education. He went to the library and read as much as he could. He was mostly interested in books about the South. The only issue was, all of the authors were white, and none of the stories were about Gaines’ people. Aspiring so fix this, Gaines decided that he wanted to become a writer. All of the books he read taught him how to construct literature,

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