Jefferson’s diary indicates that he places his faith in his tangible friendship with Grant, not necessarily in God. Jefferson does not know whether he should put his faith in religion, since different people say different things about it. Some say heaven does not exist for blacks, but Reverend Ambrose says heaven is for all people. Jefferson’s touching apology to Grant for crying shows that he worries about Grant’s feelings and about what Grant thinks of him. He credits Grant for convincing him that he is somebody. His diary attests to the fact that some combination of Grant’s influence and Jefferson’s own strength has allowed Jefferson to face his death with almost superhuman calm and understanding.

Gaines shows that the uneducated can possess intelligence and nobility. Misspellings and grammatical errors fill Jefferson’s diary, but they do nothing to detract from the sophistication of his thoughts and the bravery and sadness that comes through in his writing. In some ways, Jefferson’s writing seems superior to Grant’s. We know Grant’s writing intimately; he narrates the novel except for this chapter. Although Grant writes intelligent, affecting prose, he does not match the unembarrassed expression of emotion that comes through in Jefferson’s writing. Neither does he match Jefferson’s lyricism, especially in the last few lines of the diary, in which Jefferson notes the bluebird singing and the blue sky in the last few hours before his death.