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Portfolio 2 A Lesson Before Dying Combine two of these four questions into an a

by | Mar 6, 2022 | English

 

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Portfolio 2
A Lesson Before Dying
Combine two of these four questions into an analytic essay 1800-2000 words long, standard formatting.
Please include a bibliography of works cited.
1) Narrative Strategy
In chapter 30, material is seemingly presented from points of view other than Grant’s (Sidney deRogers,
Tante Lou, Reverend Ambrose, Sheriff Guidry, Melvina Jack, Fee Jinkins). In several instances, as at the
beginning of Chapter 13, the narrative jumps ahead in time and Grant relates events or episodes in
flashback. Jefferson’s diary appears in chapter 29, although Paul Bonin gives it to Grant at the end of
chapter 31. Why does Gaines sometimes move away from Grant’s point of view? Why are some events
and episodes not presented directly, and in chronological order, as part of the ongoing narrative?
2) Questioning
In Chapter 4, Grant poses several questions to Vivian regarding his assignment from Miss Emma and
Tante Lou. In Chapter 26, Vivian confronts Grant with a series of questions. In Chapter 28, Jefferson asks
Grant a series of questions. What’s the importance of these questions in the novel? Are they ever
answered? Do they even have answers?
3) The Lesson
To what does the title refer? Why “a” lesson rather than “the” lesson or “lessons”? What’s the lesson, and
who learns it? To approach this question, take into consideration all the possible teacher/student
relationships in the book (Grant and his students, Grant and Jefferson, Grant and Matthew Antoine, Grant
and Reverend Ambrose, Grant and Paul Bonin). Who teaches whom?
4) Heroes
In Chapter 24, Grant explains to Jefferson a “myth” that continues to determine life in their community
and goes on to talk about what it means to be a hero. What is that “myth”? Are there references to it or
instances of its operation elsewhere in the novel? Is Grant a hero, according to the definition he gives
Jefferson (191-92)? Is Jefferson a hero? Do any of the other characters qualify as heroes according to
Grant’s definition?
Secondary Sources
It’s essential to address the questions above in an historical framework. The Breakout Group PowerPoint
presentations from earlier in the semester should provide enough secondary sources to effectively enrich
your analysis. Please use these sources to contextualize your own developing arguments about A Lesson
Before Dying. (You may also find other secondary sources on your own.) To be clear: you’ll need at least
three secondary sources for your essay.
Audience
Your audience for this essay is the known group of unknown individuals called high school students.
Don’t assume that these students have read the book, but assume that they’d be interested.
Outline
 A general intro that sets the stage for the essay to follow. It’s not sufficient to simply repeat
the questions you’ve chosen. Instead, you should explain the issues posed by the
combination of questions you’ve selected, suggest an approach to addressing them, and
outline a thesis or hypothesis.
 An introduction to the main part or parts of your argument. This section should include both
paraphrases and direct quotes. Use as much from both ALBD and your other sources as
necessary to make your summary clear. The key in this section is to establish a way of
reading and understanding the text itself.
 Presenting evidence through analysis. This is longest part of your essay. Use direct quotes,
paraphrases and summaries to develop your ideas. Since you’ll be working with two
different sets of questions, you’ll also need to synthesize your argument at this stage. How
do the issues raised by these two lines of inquiry intersect with and complicate each other?
 Draw conclusions from your analysis and generalize from the specific example of your
investigation outward toward a discussion of implications of the topic for understanding the
current situation in the US. For example, what might the example of ALDB teach us about
current issues of history, race, class, incarceration, education, religion, and personal
responsibility in the face of societal conflict?

 

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