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Thursday, June 30, 2022

The Inspiration

 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.

If We Must Die

If we must die, let it not be like hogs
Hunted and penned in an inglorious spot,
While round us bark the mad and hungry dogs,
Making their mock at our accursèd lot.
If we must die, O let us nobly die,
So that our precious blood may not be shed
In vain; then even the monsters we defy
Shall be constrained to honor us though dead!
O kinsmen! we must meet the common foe!
Though far outnumbered let us show us brave,
And for their thousand blows deal one death-blow!
What though before us lies the open grave?
Like men we’ll face the murderous, cowardly pack,
Pressed to the wall, dying, but fighting back!

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