As of 2015, SparkNotes has a complete study guide on the novel "A Lesson Before Dying." The study guide includes an overview of the book, chapter summaries and analyses, and study tools.
The SparkNotes study guide analyzes the main characters, important quotations, and themes and motifs of the novel. It also includes practice essay and quiz questions. The novel "A Lesson Before Dying" is the eighth novel by Ernest J. Gaines, and it was published in 1993. It is set in Louisiana in the 1940s before the civil rights movement and explores the issues of race, murder and injustice. The protagonist, an elementary school teacher named Grant, develops a friendship with a young African-American man named Jefferson, who is falsely convicted of murder and sentenced to death in a segregated, racist community. The protagonist develops a close relationship with the young man and visits his cell daily to remind the man of his dignity and worth. The novel was featured in Oprah's Book Club in 1997 and it was nominated for a Pulitzer Prize. In 1993, it won the National Book Critics Circle Award for fiction. The novel was also adapted into a film for TV, which was released in 1999.