Skip over navigation

Dead Man Walking

Sister Helen Prejean

Chapter 4

Chapter 3

Chapter 4, page 2

page 1 of 3


There are four days left until Patrick’s execution. Prejean visits Eddie, who hands her a note confessing to the killing. He asks her to get it to the governor. Prejean describes her conversations with the guards, many of whom are the second or third generation workers at the prison. Prejean also describes the death house to which Patrick has been moved.

Prejean tells Patrick about the Pardon Board hearing. He is angry about not being there. He has Prejean write a letter to the governor asking permission to plead before the board.

Prejean drives to New Orleans for a strategy meeting with Millard and the other attorneys. Her friend Kathleen reminds Prejean to help Patrick prepare for death. At the prison, Patrick and a guard watch a basketball game together as if they are friends. Patrick says he hopes he has the strength to make that last walk, and that he’s ready “to go if it comes down.”

Prejean has a brief conversation about the death penalty with Captain John Rabelais, the man responsible for Camp F and the death house. One of the guards on duty says he does not want to be there, but he has a wife and kids to support. Prejean organizes a prayer service with the prison chaplain for the following afternoon. Prejean hardly sleeps that evening. She is on antibiotics for a bronchial infection.

At the prison, Warden Maggio says he is just doing his job, and that nobody is excited about this execution. After speaking on the phone with C. Paul Phelps, head of the Department of Corrections, Prejean drives to the death house. She meets with Captain Rabelais to discuss Patrick’s prayer service. Exhausted, she passes out during the conversation.

She goes back to see Patrick, who is worried about her. The prison chaplain, an old Catholic priest, arrives, and they have a prayer service in Latin. Prejean says she feels sorry for the old man, who believes rituals are enough. Prejean encourages Patrick to share his emotions. He says he can’t let go or he will lose control. The only love he has known, he says, has been here in prison with Prejean. Prejean says she feels humbled “in the face of this man’s utter poverty.”

More Help

Previous Next

Readers' Notes allow users to add their own analysis and insights to our SparkNotes—and to discuss those ideas with one another. Have a novel take or think we left something out? Add a Readers' Note!

Follow Us