Illustration of a man visiting another man in jail

A Lesson before Dying

by Ernest J. Gaines

Start Free Trial

Chapter 26 Summary

Download PDF PDF Page Citation Cite Share Link Share

Grant asks Vivian what happened to him, and she tells him that Joe Claiborne knocked him out because he would not stop fighting in the bar. Claiborne threatened to shoot the other man so he stopped fighting, but Grant just would not quit. Mr. Gusta went running up and down the street calling for Vivian to come stop Grant from fighting. Grant apologizes and says he could not help himself, but Vivian does not believe him and says he could have just walked away. They are sitting on Vivian’s bed; in the mirror above the dresser, Grant sees that he does not look good. Vivian says he is no condition to drive home, so he will have to stay at her place while Dora watches her children. Grant says he does not want to make trouble, but Vivian retorts that he should have thought about that at the Rainbow Club. Grant says the men were talking negatively about Jefferson. Vivian says he should have just talked instead of fought. Grant tries to stand up to leave, but his head is pounding, so he sits back down on the bed. Vivian tells him to stay put and offers him dinner. Grant does not want her to be angry, but Vivian is not mad—she is disgusted.

Vivian goes into the kitchen to prepare food, and Grant follows her and puts his arm around her waist. Grant tells her about how well the visit with Jefferson went. They sit to eat, and Grant asks the blessing. When he looks up from the prayer and starts eating, Vivian does not join him. She tells him that she has heard from her husband; he will not grant her a divorce unless he can see the children every weekend. Grant wants to leave so he will not cause any more trouble, but Vivian says they will get hurt no matter what they do. Grant tells her that Jefferson only has a few more weeks left to live and that he needs her more than ever. Grant tells Vivian that he loves her, but Vivian says that love is not enough and questions whether Grant knows what love is. He says he will leave, and she tells him that leaving is the easy way out of trouble. He asks her what she wants from him. She says she wants some consideration. Grant walks out of the room and opens the front door. He does not want to go out into the darkness. Grant turns around and goes back into the kitchen to bury his face in Vivian’s lap.

See eNotes Ad-Free

Start your 48-hour free trial to get access to more than 30,000 additional guides and more than 350,000 Homework Help questions answered by our experts.

Get 48 Hours Free Access

Chapter 25 Summary


Chapter 27 Summary