The moral of the novel is that even a brutal system of racism cannot remove people's humanity. The novel, set in the Jim Crow days before the Civil Rights movement, is about the inhumane treatment of African Americans in Louisiana. Jefferson, a black man who is falsely accused of murder, is compared by his defense attorney to a hog who is not even worth executing, and Jefferson begins to act like a hog rather than a man. Grant Wiggins, an educated black man who is a teacher in the town, is also treated as subhuman because of his race. In the end, Jefferson begins to regain his humanity when he receives a notebook in which he can record his thoughts and a radio which he uses in order to have a connection with the outside world. Even though Jefferson is executed in the end, he is executed as a man with dignity and not as an animal. Grant, for his part, cries after the execution, showing that he is also still tender enough, despite his dispiriting experiences of racism, to cry over the slaughter of a fellow human.