Jefferson was a young Luisiana black man in the 40s. He stood trial and was convicted of murder. He's in jail, about to get the death penalty, but his godmother takes the local schoolteacher to come talk with him. That's where the story begins.
It turns out that Emma, the godmother, wants the teacher to teach Jefferson how to die.
The Victorians were obsessesed with dying. They would think about how to do it right, author manuals about it. Some of them would create huge mausoleums. I guess we still do that today. Some of us do, anyway.
But in this case, this young man had to find a way to face the terrible injustice of prejudice with dignity. The whole community looked to him to be their representative.
Emma wanted the schoolteacher to teach Jefferson how to face death with courage. But Grant, the schoolteacher wanted nothing to do with it. Who would teach him how to face life with courage?
This is a very serious drama, about how a community interacts and relies on one another.
The power the women held in the story, the power of the preacher, and the lack of power of the sherrif were a very interesting juxtaposition.
Please god, let me never have to face such a terrible dilemma! But I would hope that i can remember to face my lesser trials with honor.