A Lesson Before Dying

how jefferson's court appointed attorney described him to the jury and the impact it had on miss emma

jefferson was in jail for killing which he didnt do and stole money

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“What justice would there be to take this life? Justice, gentleman? Why, I would just as soon put a hog in the electric chair as this” (Gaines 8).

His attorney uses the word 'hog' with a purpose in mind. It denotes imagery, and it is meant to make the reader (and the jury) perceive Jefferson as intellectually inferior; uneducated; even incapable of learning. Thus Jefferson is portrayed as lower than a 'filthy swine."

Miss Emma is grief stricken by the attorney's statement. She doesn't want Jefferson to die like the lowest swine; she wants him to die with dignity, and the attorney had taken away any dignity he made have had with such a statement.


A Lesson Before Dying/ Chapter 2