LaGuardia’s “Lesson” Forum

Back to the Novel _A_Lesson_Before_Dying_

I’ve been teaching A Lesson Before Dying in two sections of English099 here at LaGuardia this semester.  We are beginning the ACT Exam preparation so I thought that I’d offer some of the “working questions” I’ve been using to sharpen our EXIT Exam skills.  I’ve framed these questions so that there are, more or less, two clear answers to the prompts.  I would love it if someone would post an entire answer on the comments page!

1. A Lesson Before Dying centers on Grant Wiggins’s relationship with the community he lives in, both Black and white. If Grant is in the courtroom it suggests that he is “there” for his aunt, Jefferson’s Godmother and the Community at large. If he is “not there” he might be creating distance between himself and the community. Please argue in an essay of 300 words or more whether he is there to support his community or not there as a way to distance himself from the proceedings. Please use quotes from the novel to defend your answer.

2. The title A Lesson Before Dying suggests the execution of Jefferson, but might mean much more. Please write an essay of 300 words that describes why the title is either focused on the single lesson to be taught to Jefferson before his execution, or the larger meaning of “lessons” that we must all learn before our time on earth is done. Make sure you have a clear thesis that is supported with specific examples.


October 29, 2008 Posted by | Uncategorized | Leave a comment