A Lesson Before Dying Quotes.

1. "I want you to show them the difference between what they think you are and what you can be."
- Ernest J. Gaines, A Lesson Before Dying

2. "I have no more to say except this: We must live with our own conscience."
- Ernest J. Gaines, A Lesson Before Dying

3. "How do people come up with a date and a time to take life from another man? Who made them God?"
- Ernest J. Gaines, A Lesson Before Dying

4. "And that's all we are Jefferson, all of us on this earth, a piece of drifting wood. until we - each of us, individually- decide to become something else. I am still that piece of drifting wood, and those out there are no better. But you can be better."
- Ernest J. Gaines, A Lesson Before Dying

5. "He told us that most of us would die violently, and those who did not would be brought down to the level of beasts."
- Ernest J. Gaines, A Lesson Before Dying

6. "Only when the mind is free has the body a chance to be free. Yes, they must believe, they must believe. Because I know what it means to be a slave. I am a slave."
- Ernest J. Gaines, A Lesson Before Dying

7. "Do I know what a man is ? Do I know how a man is supposed to die ? I’m still trying to find out how a man should live. Am I supposed to tell someone how to die who has never lived ?"
- Ernest J. Gaines, A Lesson Before Dying

8. "I tried to decide just how I should respond to them. Whether I should act like the teacher that I was, or like the nigger that I was supposed to be."
- Ernest J. Gaines, A Lesson Before Dying

9. "I think it's God that makes people care for people, Jefferson. I think it's God makes children play and people sing. I believe it's God that brings loved ones together. I believe it's God that makes trees bud and food grow out of the earth."
- Ernest J. Gaines, A Lesson Before Dying

10. "Irene and my aunt want from me what Miss Emma wants from Jefferson,' I said. 'I don't know if Miss Emma ever had anybody in her past that she could be proud of. Possibly - maybe not. But she wants that now, and she wants it from him. Irene and my aunt want it from me. Miss Emma knows that the state of Louisiana is about to take his life, but before that happens she wants something to remember him by. Irene and my aunt know that one day I will leave them, but they are not about to let me go without a fight. It's the same thing, the very same thing. Miss Emma needs a memory. Do you want she told me when I sat on the bed? That Reverend Ambrose and I should get along, and together - together - we should try and reach Jefferson. Why not the soul? No, she wants memories, memories of him standing like a man."
- Ernest J. Gaines, A Lesson Before Dying

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