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Significant quotations from stories are often related to the theme and/or the author's purpose for the story. In A Lesson Before Dying, the last two chapters of the novel contain many statements that are related to theme, one of which is in Chapter 31: "I took his hand. He held mine with both of his." Here, Paul has come to give Grant the notebook that Jefferson kept, and Paul tells Grant that Jefferson was the bravest man in the room during the execution. Paul wants to be friends with Grant so that they will never forget the importance of that day. All along, Paul has been the only white man in the story who has acted fairly towards blacks; Miss Emma and Grant even say that Paul comes from good stock, implying that his family is respectable and humane. Jefferson's death has brought together two men of different races, and racial division is a major conflict in the novel. The clasping of hands is significant of the change that may potentially occur when racial divisions are eradicated.
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