In chapter 11-20 how does the setting affect the plot and characters? 

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

Let's take a closer look at this question by identifying the setting where each chapter, eleven to twenty, occurs. After that, we can take a broader look at how some of these settings directly affect the plot of A Lesson Before Dying.

Chapter 11 — Jefferson's jail cell

Chapter...

Get
This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial

Let's take a closer look at this question by identifying the setting where each chapter, eleven to twenty, occurs. After that, we can take a broader look at how some of these settings directly affect the plot of A Lesson Before Dying.

Chapter 11 — Jefferson's jail cell

Chapter 12 — The Rainbow Club and Vivian's school

Chapter 13 — The kitchen before church

Chapter 14 — Grant's bedroom and a pecan tree

Chapter 15 — The town, Grant, and Vivian walking back from the pecan tree

Chapter 16 — The schoolyard and Miss Emma's house

Chapter 17 — Jefferson's jail cell

Chapter 18 — Jefferson's dayroom

Chapter 19 — The church for the school's nativity performance

Chapter 20 — Grant's house and Pichot's house

Two locations directly affect the plot in these chapters. The first is Jefferson's dayroom. This significant location change progresses the plot by marking the gradual change Jefferson makes toward identifying as a human being. Before, he refused to come out of his jail cell, refused even to acknowledge the people in the room. Now, in chapter 18, he makes a little conceit towards his aunt, who he realizes is in just as much pain as he is.

The second significant location is Pichot's house. This setting affects the plot because it is the location where they set a date for Jefferson's execution.


What do the settings in this section tell us about life in this small Cajun community? What does the location of the Rainbow Club, the public religious gatherings, and the intense strife in Grant's home life reveal to the reader?

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team
An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

The setting has a large impact on the plot of A Lesson Before Dying.  The novel is set in Bayonne, a small town in Louisiana.  A specific date is not given, but the descriptions of the residents' lifestyles indicate that the time is past the Civil Rights Era, but not past the mentality of segregation.  Jefferson has been accused of murder because he was seen around the scene of the murder, and the townspeople are happy to use him as a scapegoat for the crime--presumably because he is black.  Grant, the narrator, is the only educated black man in the town and is asked by his family to visit Jefferson in jail.  Jefferson's visitors are given a hard time by the police officers in charge.  These incidences suggest that the atmosphere in the setting of the story affects the ways that the characters are treated and the ways that they behave.

Approved by eNotes Editorial Team