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The emphasis on the legal ritual at the courthouse suggests that this ritual is just as significant as the rituals at the plantation school described in Chapters 7 and 8.Note that while both Grant and Miss Emma quickly adjust to the routine, it disrupts their normal, everyday rituals.(Note that the youthfulness of the inmates, most of whom are between the ages of fifteen and nineteen, seems especially troublesome to Miss Emma, who refers to them as "children.") Instead of hurrying past the cells and ignoring the inmates, Grant gives them the coins he has, and Miss Emma stops to talk to them and offers them food.When Grant and Miss Emma finally see Jefferson, he is sullen and unresponsive, ignoring Miss Emma's desperate attempts to engage him in conversation.Analysis These four chapters focus on Grant's first four visits with Jefferson at the county jail.In Chapters 9 and 10, Grant and Miss Emma make three trips to Bayonne to visit Jefferson.We can surmise that Miss Emma has decided that since she can't save the "children," at least she can feed them.
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.
Chapters 11 and 12 focus on the events surrounding Grant's first solo visit with Jefferson.
One of the overriding images in Chapter 9 is the courthouse.
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.