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A Lesson Before Dying Chapter 18

Instructor: Bryan Cowing

Bryan is a freelance writer who specializes in literature. He has worked as an English instructor, editor and writer for the past 10 years.

In Chapter 18, of 'A Lesson Before Dying,' Jefferson opens up just a little. He also gets to enjoy a new privilege. In this lesson, we will take a look at some of the important events from chapter 18.

At a Glance

Chapter 18 of A Lesson Before Dying finds us back in the prison with Jefferson. This time, things are bit different as Jefferson is allowed to use the dayroom in the prison. Despite this, the visits do not go very well. Read on to find out if anything changes.

Miss Emma Visits Jefferson

In Chapter 18, Miss Emma visits her godson in prison. Jefferson has been given the privilege of using the dayroom for his visits of he is in shackles. Miss Emma sets out plates for Jefferson and everyone who came with her. In the past chapters, Jefferson didn't want to eat. He called himself a hog and said that food was for humans. Miss Emma wants to prove him wrong.

After Miss Emma sets the table, Jefferson is brought in wearing chains. He sits at the table and puts his head down, ignoring everyone. His godmother asks him if he is going to eat anything, and he doesn't respond. His godmother tries to feed him like a baby, but he won't open his mouth.

Grant Tries to Talk with Jefferson

After a few days pass, it is Grant's turn to go visit Jefferson. They also meet in the dayroom, and when Grant asks Jefferson how he is doing, he actually responds this time, telling Grant that he's doing all right. Grant offers Jefferson something to eat, but he says he isn't hungry. Grant takes out some of the food and eats it by himself.

After watching Grant eat for a few minutes, Jefferson asks ''What you want.'' At first he says that he just wants Jefferson to eat, then he tells Jefferson that he wants to talk. Grant asks Jefferson what he wants to talk about and Jefferson replies ''That chair.'' Grant is thrown off guard by this and starts talking about the Christmas program his students are working on.

Grant explains to Jefferson that no matter how bad things are, he still owes his godmother something. He says ''You must show her some understanding, some kind of love.'' Jefferson tells Grant that those things are for humans, and he ''ain't no youman.'' Grant asks Jefferson why he speaks and why he wears clothes, if he isn't a human.

Grant continues to reason with Jefferson and convince him to treat his godmother with kindness, but it's an uphill battle with Jefferson resisting all the way. Finally, the deputy comes to return Jefferson to his cell.

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