Study Guide

A Lesson Before Dying Chapter 9

By Ernest J. Gaines

Chapter 9

  • At one thirty in the afternoon Grant takes off early from school to take Miss Emma to go see Jefferson.
  • Grant is still pretty mad that his aunt roped him into all of this and doesn't talk to Miss Emma the whole way there.
  • At the courthouse a deputy named Paul searches the basket of food Miss Emma brings and makes Grant empty his pockets, and pats him down.
  • Paul leads the two into the cellblock. Other prisoners ask them for money, and Grant gives them some coins. Miss Emma promises them the food that Jefferson doesn't eat.
  • They find the guy lying on his bunk staring at the wall.
  • He won't speak to his aunt at first. Finally he says that nothing matters, and asks her when they're going to do "it."
  • She acts like she doesn't know what he's talking about. Grant avoids Jefferson's eyes.
  • Jefferson asks Grant if he's the one who's going to jerk the switch, and Miss Emma asks what switch.
  • Finally, the deputy comes back and takes them out. Jefferson won't say goodbye to them, and Miss Emma has a conniption fit.