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Summary In Chapter 9, the focus shifts from the plantation school to the county jail as Grant and Miss Emma, for the first time, are able to talk to the captive Jefferson.In Chapter 10, we find Grant and Miss Emma going through the by-now familiar ritual at the courthouse: The deputy searches Miss Emma's basket of food and examines the contents of Grant's pockets, then leads them past the other inmates to Jefferson's cell.
This attitude is further exemplified by Miss Emma's initial encounter with the chief deputy.
Note that Paul saves Miss Emma from further embarrassment and humiliation when she misinterprets the deputy's curt, one-word response — "Quiet" — as an order instead of as a description of Jefferson's behavior.
As he listens to their conversation and watches the old men dramatize Jackie's stealing bases and sliding into home plate, Grant recalls a time when their hero was Joe Louis.
He also thinks about "the little Irishman" who introduced him to James Joyce's short story "Ivy Day in the Committee Room." After leaving the club, Grant stops by Vivian's school to tell her about his visit with Jefferson.
Traditionally a symbol of justice and democracy, here it is a bastion of institutional racism.
As indicated by the statue of the Confederate soldier and the Confederate flag in front of the courthouse, the justice dispensed here does not apply to black Americans.
Frustrated by Jefferson's behavior, Miss Emma is oblivious to the unspoken communication that transpires between Grant and Jefferson.
As Grant and Miss Emma leave the courthouse, another silent communication occurs between Grant and Paul, who signals Grant to comfort Miss Emma.
Thus, we see how Jefferson's imprisonment begins to impact the entire black community.
Food as a source of physical and spiritual nourishment is also a key motif reinforced here.