A Lesson Before Dying

A Lesson Before Dying

How does Grant feels when Jefferson refers to himself a hog? Does Grant questions his ability in teaching Jefferson how to become a man?

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In his cell, Jefferson refuses the food Miss Emma has sent him, because such food is for humans, and “I’m a old hog they fattening up to kill for Christmas” (83). Grant replies that he is a man, but Jefferson continues to insist that he is a hog, crawling on the floor and eating out of the bag without using his hands.

Grant is irritated by Jefferson’s behavior, but says that he won’t tell Miss Emma because it would break her heart. He berates Jefferson, saying that by refusing to speak to Grant like an adult, he is letting Sam Guidry and “the white man” (84) win. Jefferson refuses to speak to him. Grant has only been at the prison for thirty minutes, but not wanting the guards to infer that Jefferson is misbehaving, he stays for the rest of the hour and then leaves. At this point, Grant clearly questions his ability to get through to Jefferson.