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A Lesson before Dying

by Ernest J. Gaines

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What is Jefferson's last name in A Lesson Before Dying?

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I don't think Gaines gives the character Jefferson a last name in A Lesson Before Dying. His godmother is named Emma Glenn, but she is not a blood relative. I've read the book and several critical essays, but I cannot find a last name. Perhaps that was intentional. One of the things Grant uses as an argument against teaching Jefferson to read is that he has no relationship to Jefferson; he has no obligation to him. By not having a last name, perhaps Jefferson could be said to "belong" to everyone and is everyone's responsibility. Just a thought.

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