The Autobiography Of Miss Jane Pittman Analysis

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GAIN’S THE AUTOBIOGRAPHY OF MISS JANE PITTMAN –
ODYSSEY OF A RACE
Dr. T. Sasikanth Reddy
(Lecturer in English, S.C.N.R Govt. Degree College,Proddatur Town, YSR Dist, A.P. India, 516360.)
Email: drtskreddy@gmail.com

ABSTRACT The novel as a genre offers great freedom both in terms of narration and space for the creative writer, not only to perfect his art but also to capture a particular movement in history and to recreate it imaginatively. Ernest J. Gaines’ novel The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman spans an era from the times of slavery in America to the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement. It thus not only captures a significant period of American history but also narrates the life history of Miss Jane Pittman, a fictitious
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In the books available to him the voices he knew so intimately were silent, and the stories they told absent. He recalls his forays into the library’s holdings and indicates the invisibility of his culture in the mainstream literature. Miss Jane Pittman thus satisfies a long felt need for an ideal representation and Gaines not only allows a Black woman to recall history but also presents a character who ‘provides the nurture that enables individual, familial and communal survival.’ (Melissa 77). The choice of a female narrator is also remarkable as American history has rarely been chronicled through the perspective of a Black woman.
The dearth of believable portraits of Black Americans and the desire to rediscover the lost voices and tales left in Louisiana have a vital shaping influence on the form and subject matter of Gaines’s fiction. Thus Gaines becomes ‘the Bayou Griot’ and enlivens his novel with the history of local events and people. The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman is about struggle, fate and people. Jane is full of ‘that oldest human longing for self¬ revelation’ (Byerman 122). As a craftsman Gaines decided to let his eponymous character tell the story of her life in her own
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