Study Guide

A Lesson Before Dying Chapter 17

By Ernest J. Gaines

Chapter 17

  • When Grant goes back to the courthouse to visit Jefferson four days later he and the deputy chat a little bit. They shake hands and decide to call each other by their names.
  • As usual Jefferson refuses to eat and tells Grant that if he doesn't stop "vexing" him he will talk some trash about his girlfriend.
  • He proceeds to say some pretty mean stuff, like Vivian's vagina is too old (in so many words).
  • Jefferson says that manners and food are for the living, and throws the food his godmother sent him all over the ground.
  • Grant picks it up, because he doesn't want the sheriff to know that things are going badly.
  • Afterward, Paul tells Grant that the sheriff wants to see him. He stands waiting in his office while he finishes talking on the phone. He also sees the fat man from Henri Pichot's house there, too.
  • It turns out that Miss Emma talked to the sheriff's wife, Henri's sister, told her that Jefferson's cell is too small for them to sit down in, and asked if she could help.
  • Mrs. Guidry started bugging her husband and now he asks Grant if he's the one that came up with the crazy idea.
  • The sheriff says that he'll let them have their meetings in the dayroom as long as Jefferson's in shackles, and if he wants to.