A Lesson Before Dying

A Lesson Before Dying

What emotion or feeling most influences Grant's continued work with Jefferson? Is it duty or something else?

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Grant tells Jefferson that he persists in visiting the prison not because he feels obliged to his aunt or Miss Emma, but because Vivian encouraged him to. For Gaines, love is a more powerful influence than selfishness, duty, or even society at large. Vivian's love also transforms Grant in smaller ways--for example, she influences him to become more dedicated to his job and hold a Christmas pageant for the children, something he would be unable to do otherwise. And significantly, it is kindness from Grant and the townspeople rather than preaching from Reverend Ambrose that finally convinces Jefferson to behave with dignity.