Black Coffee discussion

77 views
2020 Group Reads > February Group Read: A Lesson Before Dying

Comments Showing 1-41 of 41 (41 new)    post a comment »
dateDown arrow    newest »

message 1: by Lulu, The Book Reader who could. (new)

Lulu (lulureads365) | 2511 comments Mod
This is where we will be discussing February’s group read A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest Gaines. How many of you will be joining the discussion? A reading schedule will be posted within a few days.


message 2: by Shaquila (new)

Shaquila (shaquilaw) | 2 comments I will join the discussion and I will do my best to stay on schedule


Dosha (Bluestocking7) Beard (bluestocking7) | 3269 comments I’m in.


message 4: by Valeria (new)

Valeria Toles | 3 comments Can’t wait!


message 5: by Teresa (new)

Teresa | 6 comments I'm in.


message 6: by ANDREA (new)

ANDREA | 3 comments I will...


message 7: by Leia (new)

Leia G (leiag) | 1 comments Count me in!!! ☺️


message 8: by Lulu, The Book Reader who could. (last edited Feb 17, 2020 05:30PM) (new)

Lulu (lulureads365) | 2511 comments Mod
Reading Schedule (tentative):

**Chapters 1-11: Discussion starts February 9th — msg 10
**Chapters 12-21: Discussion starts February 16th — msg 21
**Chapters 22-31: Discussion starts February 23rd


***If you are discussing part of the story that is not within the time frame please put spoiler alerts. If you don't know how to do the spoiler alerts message me and I can walk you through it. If it is a section that is open for discussion for the week or previous weeks please assume that there will be spoilers without alerts.***



message 9: by BernieMck (last edited Feb 09, 2020 10:44AM) (new)

BernieMck | 1796 comments As I was reading the scene where the defense attorney was arguing for Jefferson’s life and tearing him down as a man while doing so, the words he used disgusted me. What annoyed me so, is knowing that many white people thought that way about black people, then, and even now. For me, that was the toughest scene to read thus far. I am enjoying this book, I am glad I decided to take part in this read-a-long. I am already up to chap 22


message 10: by Lulu, The Book Reader who could. (last edited Feb 09, 2020 04:20PM) (new)

Lulu (lulureads365) | 2511 comments Mod
***Discussion for Chapters 1- 11 start here, SPOILERS AHEAD***
*
*
*
*

Alright! Let’s get to it....


1. How do you feel about the defense that Jefferson’s lawyer used?

**Do you believe Jefferson is innocent or guilty?

2. Why do you think Grant is so reluctant to help Jefferson? Why are Miss Emma and Tante Lou so persistent?

3. Grant appears to hate everything about his environment, why do you think he returned after college and even going to California to be with his parents?

4. Thoughts? Comments? Questions?



message 11: by Lulu, The Book Reader who could. (new)

Lulu (lulureads365) | 2511 comments Mod
I was kinda surprised at the defense that Jefferson’s lawyer used for you, but as I was reading I thought about a few other books I’ve read dealing with a similar subject. The black defense lawyers back then didn’t really defend their client’s innocence more so the inability of blacks to be considered “human”. It was actually heartbreaking to hear Jefferson’s lawyer talk about him the way he did.

I think Grant believes these people, this situation, this environment is beneath him. He doesn’t want to help because he doesn’t care one way or another.


message 12: by BernieMck (last edited Feb 10, 2020 03:26PM) (new)

BernieMck | 1796 comments I don’t think Luther feels up to mentoring someone, which will draw them closer to one another, just before execution. That is a hard thing to ask of anyone.

I think Grant returned to his aunt’s home after college because he felt obligated. She raised him, she lived alone, and he felt that she needed him.

As to Jefferson’s guilt or innocence, I have no clue. Guilty men don’t usually admit it. According to his story, it sounds like he is innocent of murder.


Dosha (Bluestocking7) Beard (bluestocking7) | 3269 comments Well, first of all, I think Jefferson is innocent but I could be wrong. I don't believe he is too bright and I also believe that he just froze and didn't know what to do. That can happen to the smartest of us.

I was very disturbed by how mean Grant was to his students. I couldn't justify why he would take his anger out on them as he did.

I feel like Emma is in a terrible place and Grant's lack of compassion for her and his aunt is too far over the top. I believe he is using his anger as a defense mechanism against feeling the pain and brutality his race is constantly forced to endure. He is using anger to take the place of caring for his entire race and trying to be their savior one criminal at at time . He is also being forced to humble down to a level he has risen above and he doesn't appreciate it once single bit. I think he's also mad at himself for trying not to care.


message 14: by Dosha (Bluestocking7) (last edited Feb 12, 2020 04:58PM) (new)

Dosha (Bluestocking7) Beard (bluestocking7) | 3269 comments Bernie wrote: "As I was reading the scene where the defense attorney was arguing for Jefferson’s life and tearing him down as a man while doing so, the words he used disgusted me. What annoyed me so, is knowing t..."

Interestingly, the toughest scene for me is the way Grant treats them poor lil kids. He ain't gotta go there. Hitting them in the head and embarrassing them on purpose is just cruel and does not set a tone for learning.


message 15: by BernieMck (last edited Feb 14, 2020 06:27PM) (new)

BernieMck | 1796 comments Dosha (Bluestocking7) wrote: "Bernie wrote: "As I was reading the scene where the defense attorney was arguing for Jefferson’s life and tearing him down as a man while doing so, the words he used disgusted me. What annoyed me s..."

The teacher was tough, but I think he was having an off day. He was kinder to the children in later scenes. He even gave them the praise they were looking for.


Dosha (Bluestocking7) Beard (bluestocking7) | 3269 comments Bernie wrote: "Dosha (Bluestocking7) wrote: "Bernie wrote: "As I was reading the scene where the defense attorney was arguing for Jefferson’s life and tearing him down as a man while doing so, the words he used d..."

Well I sure hope so, he was getting on my last good nerve. i'm only on Chapter 13, I really need to get back to it. I am enjoying the book though.


message 17: by BernieMck (new)

BernieMck | 1796 comments Dosha (Bluestocking7) wrote: "Bernie wrote: "Dosha (Bluestocking7) wrote: "Bernie wrote: "As I was reading the scene where the defense attorney was arguing for Jefferson’s life and tearing him down as a man while doing so, the ..."

I am enjoying it as well. This is my first time reading anything from this author. At some point, I think I will check out his other work.


message 18: by Dosha (Bluestocking7) (last edited Feb 16, 2020 06:41PM) (new)

Dosha (Bluestocking7) Beard (bluestocking7) | 3269 comments Bernie wrote: "Dosha (Bluestocking7) wrote: "Bernie wrote: "Dosha (Bluestocking7) wrote: "Bernie wrote: "As I was reading the scene where the defense attorney was arguing for Jefferson’s life and tearing him down..."
He has written quite a few books. I have A Gathering of Old Men, but have not read it yet. I did read, and very much enjoy, The Autobiography of Ms. Jane Pittman. I also saw the movie, but I read the book first. This is one of those times the movie is almost as good as the book, thanks to Ms. Cicely Tyson playing the role of Ms. Jane Pittman. I will look into more books by this author also.

I read this current group book read, ALBD, before also, but cannot remember any of the details, I just remember it being very sad. Nothing I have read so far is familiar. I'm up to chapter 16 now.


message 19: by BernieMck (new)

BernieMck | 1796 comments Dosha (Bluestocking7) wrote: "Bernie wrote: "Dosha (Bluestocking7) wrote: "Bernie wrote: "Dosha (Bluestocking7) wrote: "Bernie wrote: "As I was reading the scene where the defense attorney was arguing for Jefferson’s life and t..."

I saw and enjoyed THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF JANE PITTMAN.


message 20: by BernieMck (last edited Feb 17, 2020 10:52AM) (new)

BernieMck | 1796 comments I finished the book and I really liked it. I must admit that reading Jefferson’s final letter with understanding was very frustrating. I will try again at some point.


message 21: by Lulu, The Book Reader who could. (new)

Lulu (lulureads365) | 2511 comments Mod


***Discussion for Chapters 12 - 21 start here, SPOILERS AHEAD***
*
*
*
*



Alright! Let’s get to it....


1. Does Paul Bonin's behavior toward Jefferson and Grant—in contrast to that of Clarke—signify an improvement in white attitudes toward blacks from one generation to another? What is the significance of Paul's introducing himself to Grant by his full name?

2. Why do Miss Emma and Tante Lou, in Chapter 17, go to the sheriff's wife with their request rather than directly to the sheriff himself? Is there a protocol that requires the black characters to address certain requests to white women and others to white men?

3. What was the point of the describing the Christmas play and the residents of the quarters in such detail in chapter 20?

4. Was Vivian really jealous of Irene?

5. Up to this point, how do you feel about Jefferson’s pity party?

6. Thoughts? Comments? Questions?



message 22: by Dosha (Bluestocking7) (last edited Feb 19, 2020 08:25AM) (new)

Dosha (Bluestocking7) Beard (bluestocking7) | 3269 comments #1. I think that Paul's behavior can be both generational and the way he was brought up. If his parents were KKK, his generation
might make a small difference. That being said, the younger folks are usually more able to accept the changing times.

#2. Miss Emma and Tante Lou worked in the houses with these white women and had a closer relationship to them than the men. The white women, in my opinion, feel more obligated to help these black women and at times like these, women can be more nurturing and tenderhearted, specially the ones with sons.

#3. I don't know what the major point was of describing the play in such detail; but it was a nice relief from the tragic drama playing out regarding Jefferson and I enjoyed it very much. It was also a nice lead it to Grant's detailed description to Vivian explaining all of the past, present and future failures that have been endured and will be endured by the men of his race. It was very insightful into how much pain Grant is in living in a system that is set up to force him to exist as a second class citizen that cannot even protect his women. His life is as tragic as the life that Jefferson won't be able to continue living. Seems like Jefferson is lucky to escape by death.

#4. Yes Vivian is jealous of Irene.

#5. I don't know how to feel about Jefferson's pity party. But I'm happy to know he is looking forward to a gallona vanilla ice cream. Finally some progress!!!


message 23: by Dedria (new)

Dedria A. | 249 comments I love this book but came late to the discussion because I was working on getting my own book out. It's published now, Mother of Orphans: The True and Curious Story of Irish Alice, a Colored Man's Widow, (can you put it on your To-Read List?). I will be back in March or as soon as things settle down.


message 24: by Diane (new)

Diane McPhail (dianecmcphail) | 34 comments I am also coming late to the discussion, Dedria, for similar reasons. I have been on the road for months with the release of my novel, The Abolitionist's Daughter, about a little know aspect of southern culture after manumission became a crime. I have loved reading this discussion. This is such a powerful book, as is Miss Jane Pittman, which I love. And loved the movie. The court scenes and attitudes, and mention of KKK, bring full force to so many cases, in the reverse, where white men , in numbers, were consistently aquitted of horrendous crimes against their black neighbors. It happened over and over, even when the evidence was unquestionable. My husband was a close friend of Vernon Dahmer, if you know his story. Those men who fire bombed his house, even caught with their tires shot out there, had charges dropped. I remember my husband breaking into tears when one of them was finally convicted years later.

I'm wondering if in that derogatory defense for Jefferson's life, if it might be that the attorney understood full well that his only hope against the power of this white court would be this kind of approach. The reality of it is sickening.


message 25: by Lulu, The Book Reader who could. (last edited Mar 01, 2020 11:22AM) (new)

Lulu (lulureads365) | 2511 comments Mod
My apologies, I thought I posted these questions last weekend!

***Discussion for Chapters 22-31 start here, SPOILERS AHEAD***
*
*
*
*



Alright! Let’s get to it....

1. To which character or characters does the "lesson" of the novel's title apply? Does more than one lesson emerge in the course of the novel?

2. How would you characterize Grant Wiggins's relationships with, attitude toward, and behavior with each of the other main characters, black and white? What does each of these relationships reveal about Grant and about the racially structured society in which he lives?

3. How would you characterize Grant's approach to and treatment of his students in the early chapters? Does his treatment of them change in the course of the novel?

4. What issues of justice and civil rights are raised by Jefferson's trial, imprisonment, and execution? How do these issues relate to the wider issue of capital punishment?

5. What small, specific actions and expressions of the white characters reveal their deep-seated racism (e.g., the sheriff's not asking Miss Emma and Tante Lou to sit in the two empty chairs in his office, in Chapter 23).

6. Thoughts? Comments? Questions?



message 26: by Lulu, The Book Reader who could. (new)

Lulu (lulureads365) | 2511 comments Mod
I’m upset that I didn’t know HBO made a movie back in 1995!!!!

https://youtu.be/V4QlbmOcFig


message 27: by Diane (new)

Diane McPhail (dianecmcphail) | 34 comments I didn't know that either. Have you seen it?


Dosha (Bluestocking7) Beard (bluestocking7) | 3269 comments Lulu wrote: "I’m upset that I didn’t know HBO made a movie back in 1995!!!!

https://youtu.be/V4QlbmOcFig"


Really? I also had no idea! smh


message 29: by Lulu, The Book Reader who could. (new)

Lulu (lulureads365) | 2511 comments Mod
I haven't seen it, but I did order a DVD copy from eBay. Lol

https://www.ebay.com/sch/i.html?_from...


message 30: by BernieMck (last edited Mar 03, 2020 10:06AM) (new)

BernieMck | 1796 comments In case anyone is interested in watching this movie on YouTube, there are six parts there. Just watch 1 right after the other.


message 31: by Lulu, The Book Reader who could. (new)

Lulu (lulureads365) | 2511 comments Mod
Now how come I didn’t see this before?! Lol!!


message 32: by BernieMck (new)

BernieMck | 1796 comments Lulu wrote: "Now how come I didn’t see this before?! Lol!!"

If only I had posted sooner. Oh well, better luck next time. 😉


message 33: by BernieMck (new)

BernieMck | 1796 comments What is the March 2020 group read ?


message 34: by Lulu, The Book Reader who could. (new)

Lulu (lulureads365) | 2511 comments Mod
I honestly came up empty! Lol. Do you have a suggestion? I can get the thread posted.


message 35: by BernieMck (new)

BernieMck | 1796 comments Lulu wrote: "I honestly came up empty! Lol. Do you have a suggestion? I can get the thread posted."

The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Daré


message 36: by Lulu, The Book Reader who could. (new)

Lulu (lulureads365) | 2511 comments Mod
Oh that is a good one. Do you wanna lead the discussion?


message 37: by BernieMck (last edited Mar 05, 2020 04:08PM) (new)

BernieMck | 1796 comments Bernie wrote: "Lulu wrote: "I honestly came up empty! Lol. Do you have a suggestion? I can get the thread posted."

The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Daré"


I don’t think I should take that on right now. I have to come up with questions for a book club meeting Scheduled for 3/11 for the books SULA and THE WARMTH OF OTHER SUNS for my group. Both of my parents are in a nursing home and I am between home and visiting them. I am afraid to commit and then do a lousy job. I don’t see any existing questions online. 😕


Dosha (Bluestocking7) Beard (bluestocking7) | 3269 comments Bernie wrote: "Lulu wrote: "I honestly came up empty! Lol. Do you have a suggestion? I can get the thread posted."

The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Daré"


Is this what we are reading for March?


message 39: by BernieMck (new)

BernieMck | 1796 comments I just found the readers guide to THE GIRL WITH THE LOUDING VOICE.


message 40: by BernieMck (new)

BernieMck | 1796 comments Dosha (Bluestocking7) wrote: "Bernie wrote: "Lulu wrote: "I honestly came up empty! Lol. Do you have a suggestion? I can get the thread posted."

The Girl with the Louding Voice by Abi Daré"

Is this what we are reading for March?"


It’s not official yet


message 41: by Lulu, The Book Reader who could. (new)

Lulu (lulureads365) | 2511 comments Mod
Here is the thread for March

https://www.goodreads.com/topic/show/...


back to top