A Lesson Before Dying

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A Lesson Before Dying Chapter 14 Summary & Analysis

Summary
Analysis
Vivian explains that she finished her work and wanted to see him. He asks where her children are, and Vivian says that Dora is taking care of them. Grant shows Vivian around his room, where his parents lived before they moved to California during the war. Vivian likes his home, and calls it rustic and pastoral. Grant tells Vivian that Sunday is the saddest day of the week for him; Vivian replies that it’s not sad for the people who work in the fields during the rest of the week. She says that she knows he still believes in God, but Grant doesn’t admit to this.
Vivian’s observation that Sunday is a day of rest for the people who have to work in the fields shows that she’s more in touch with the black people in her community than Grant, even though Grant is surrounded by people who work in the fields, while Vivian lives in a larger town. Her sense of compassion for others seems closely tied to her belief in God. While Grant doesn’t admit he believes in God, he doesn’t deny it either—again, we see him in an in-between state, unsure what to believe.
Themes
Women and Femininity Theme Icon
Roots, Connections, and Morality Theme Icon
After having coffee and cake, Grant and Vivian go for a walk in the area around his home. This is the first time Vivian has seen his community. He tells her that his family worked on the plantation as slaves, and later their descendants worked on the land as sharecroppers. They laugh and eat sugarcane, and when they’ve wandered into the forest of the plantation, they say that they love each other, and then make love.
Grant’s description of his family’s history is depressing: his ancestors were slaves, and now he lives in the same area where they used to work. One again, we see an absence of any progress. Yet Grant and Vivian’s lovemaking session is an act of defiance, in a sense, a diversion from the nightmare of history that Grant remembers as he walks through the plantation. There is love, too.
Themes
Roots, Connections, and Morality Theme Icon
After making love, Grant and Vivian talk, half-seriously, about raising children in the plantation area. They’ll name their children Paul and Paulette, they decide.
Grant and Vivian think of the future, showing that there is some change in Grant’s life, and some reason for him to look ahead to the future. It’s also curious that Grant wants to name his child Paul, the name of the security guard who treated Grant with decency. Grant and Paul will establish a closer connection later on, but for now, this is a clear indication that a friendship is growing, albeit slowly.
Themes
Religion, Cynicism, and Hope Theme Icon
Women and Femininity Theme Icon