Topic: Entertainment & MediaEvents

Last updated: April 10, 2019

Ernest J. Gaines is mostly known because of the popular novel that he wrote which is “A Lesson Before Dying”. Most people like this book because of the proper and effective use of the literary elements which are pathos, logos and ethos. He demonstrated to be an essential storyteller by taking examples of personal experiences, his use of literary elements and ultimately attracted the human emotions and nature. He utilized his personal experiences to motivate himself which helps him to do his job in more realistic and makes the reader more involved in the story. When you notice that he utilizes his personal experiences when you look at Ernest and his fictional character “Gaines”. The events that he combines his writing to his personal experience displays that he is really an outstanding storyteller.

When he is narrating upon his personal experience which are described very thoroughly ; helps the reader to imagine themselves in the scenario. His use Literary elements , example- Pathos, Logos, Ethos are the 3 main ways in which people were mostly attracted. Gaines utilized these important ways ,very efficiently to influence the audience to read his book and inspire them to change for the better. One of the best trait to tell that Gains is an amazing storyteller is because of his usage of symbols. The first symbol to represent itself is the hog. As it is mentioned in the story that during the trial for robbery and first degree murder, Jefferson’s attorney tries to get him off by brutalizing him and denouncing his intelligence, by saying that he is not capable of murder as he doesn’t have a ” modicum of intelligence”( Gaines 7).

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He also compares Jefferson to a hog : “Why, I would just as soon put a hog in the electric chair as this” (Gaines 8). This statement takes over the central conflict. The second quality is the efficient use of literary devises,what are Ethos? Ethos is tied to the speaker’s credibility in the eyes of his or her audience. In the story Ethos meant the appeal to ethics, he does this by displaying how unfair was Jefferson’s Judgment. “Jefferson is nothing but a poor fool, hardly more worthwhile than a hog, and therefore incapable of plotting such a scheme”. Pathos – Pathos uses emotion to influence the audience. In the story he the ways he shows the similarities between his life and the Grant’s are the same which verifies his credibility to the readers.

Logos- Logos uses reason to create a persuasive argument. In the story, Grant always uses the logic of showing how Jefferson is like another human being to help us sympathize with him. Gaines really proved his undoubted talent is using Pathos, Logos, Ethos describing his personal experiences which persuaded the audience to change to do things better and provided a moral to the readers. The third technique that he uses to effectively narrate the story of a Lesson Before Dying, is the stylistic devices.

The first device that has been used is repetition. One example from the story is the first time when Grant visits Jefferson he remarks” you know what I’m talking about, don’t you? his eyes said. They were big brown eyes, the whites too reddish( Gaines 73) then, he says it again” His eyes mocked me. They were big brown eyes, the whites too reddish” (Gaines 74). The second device from the stylistic device is charactonym. The best example of this device in this book is character Paul which Gaines used.

Paul was the first white man to accept black people so it can be said that he is named after or compared to Apostle. The final device he used from the stylistic device is paradox. The example from the story is the event where Gaines elaborates on Jefferson’s tryout, he said “I was not there, yet I was there”(Gaines 1).

This is a big list of Sylistic devices he used in his book which makes his story more interesting for the people. The last point to prove that Gaines is an effective storyteller is his style of writing the books. He writes about the genuine problems of the society which attracts all the people.

The name of the novel ” A Lesson Before Dying” itself says it all. This is a general theme which shows us the discrimination against a particular race. This problem very much interests the readers because they might face some of the problems in their lives and might have experienced the same situations. It includes African- Americans, Asians etc. At last but not the least Gaines have proved he is an effective storyteller because of the reasons mentioned above. The best storyteller is the person who knows what the audience wants in which Gaines succeeded.

This story is a heart touching story which touched a lot of people’s heart.


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