This A Lesson Before Dying: Culture and History lesson plan also includes:
Readers learn about sharecropping in the South in a unit about Ernest J. Gaines's A Lesson Before Dying. Focusing on the period after Civil War Reconstruction but before the Civil Rights Movement, a set of handouts help to establish the setting of the book by describing the system of sharecropping as it relates to Southern society and race. Have your class gauge the accuracy of Gaines's setting descriptions based on what they have learned from this activity and the previous activity in the unit. Then, assign a one-page essay that describes character relationships in the first four chapters, especially the way Henri Pichot treats Inez and Miss Emma. To prepare for the following activity, kids read the next few chapters in the book.
- Discussion activity is a great way for kids to analyze what they have read; consider having them illustrate or present a scene based on what they have learned about 1940s Louisiana
- Essays that accompany the lesson are engaging and reinforce the historical context
- Lesson focuses on many aspects of the novel, from setting to characterization