Grandpa’s endless battle with the War Department raises ethical questions about the American government. Although we do not actually see the letters that Grandpa receives after submitting his pension claim, we assume that they use official- and objective-sounding language to assert that Grandpa’s claims are unsubstantiated and must be rejected. Wright’s reference to the rumor that a white Southern officer deliberately misspelled Grandpa’s name, however, adds a sinister aspect to the government action, casting doubt on the supposedly objective nature of its official business. Wright strengthens that doubt by dwelling on Grandpa’s illiteracy, as we realize that bureaucracy and paperwork make it especially easy for the government to take advantage of illiterate people. Wright implies that Grandpa’s bureaucratic troubles might be explained, at least in part, by the fact that he is black, illiterate, and therefore vulnerable to attack in America.