Study Guide

A Lesson Before Dying Chapter 5

By Ernest J. Gaines

Chapter 5

  • At the combination school/church, Grant listens to the kids recite Bible verses. Well, actually he kind of zones out.
  • Grant teaches grades kindergarten through sixth grade (all at once, yikes!) so he usually has older kids take care of teaching the younger kids.
  • He is in an awful mood because of his fight with his aunt over going to see Jefferson, and hits a couple of his students with his ruler for little mistakes. He's taking it out on them.
  • After beating another kid on the head (leaving a bump the size of a goose egg) for playing with a bug, Grant asks the students if they know what is going on in Bayonne.
  • He tells them, in graphic detail, what will happen when Jefferson goes to the electric chair. He also tells them about the hog comment, and then lectures the kids for messing around instead of trying to be better so they don't end up like Jefferson.
  • One girl starts crying because Jefferson is her cousin, and Grant has no mercy—he tells her to quit crying or leave. And you thought your teachers were harsh.
  • Mr. Farrell Jarreau comes knocking on the school/church door and tells Grant that he has been summoned to the Pichot house at five o'clock that afternoon.