Just now I came across the inspiration for the novel I blogged about yesterday. The plot of A Lesson Before Dying involved teaching a condemned man who was called no better than a "hog", to walk to his death like a man. The poem, If We Must Die by Claude McKay has as its first line: If we must die, let it not be like hogs.
What do you think? That first line could be the theme of the book, A Lesson Before Dying. Here's the poem.