Study Guide

A Lesson Before Dying Religion

By Ernest J. Gaines

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Even though the protagonist of A Lesson Before Dying spends five days a week in a church, he has a big problem with religion. The school where he teaches is housed in a plantation church in rural Louisiana, and he steers way clear of the building when it transforms back into a church on Sunday morning. However, the church is the center of the community and binds the people together and gives them hope.

Questions About Religion

  1. How would you describe Grant's religious beliefs?
  2. Who in the novel is the best representative for religion? Who is the worst?
  3. What role does religion play on the plantation?
  4. What is the effect of school being held in the church?

Chew on This

Religion is presented as a lie that comforts people and keeps them from ever moving up in the world.

Religion is presented as a comfort and an important social institution that keeps communities together.

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