The Autobiography Of Jane Pittman Essay

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This paper will engage with the topic of the Civil Rights Movement that took place in the early to mid-twentieth century through a textual analysis of Ernest Gaines’ novel The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman. The narrative explores the hardships of its protagonist, Jane Pittman, as a newly emancipated slave residing in Southern America. Through her life story, readers acknowledge that while slavery is abolished in the United States of America, racism perpetuates within existing as well as new systems. This paper will scrutinize the passage regarding Jimmy Aaron who is perceived as “The One” to lead Jane Pittman’s community out of their low socioeconomic status. Through its structures and literary mechanisms, the passage explores themes of…show more content…
As she articulates the description, her voice and opinions are depicted which then preserves the narrative tone of the novel. Throughout the novel, readers are able to recognize that Jane not only has an understanding of her neighbours’ state of minds but the means to increase their political consciousness which she can only implement by taking a leadership position. Therefore, readers are able to experience her journey in becoming a bridge leader of the Civil Rights Movement which contrasts the formal leadership of Jimmy. As Robert Patterson states, bridge leaders are grassroots leaders who participate within a bottom-up framework. These positions are primarily held by women and challenge the masculinization of civil rights leaders (Patterson, “Rethinking Definitions” 344). Jane finds the strength to portray her leadership publicly in the final scene of the novel when she decides to attend the Bayonne demonstration despite Robert’s threat; Jane “and Robert looked at each other there a long time, then [she] went by him” (Gaines 246). By ending the novel through a significant confrontation with a powerful White male, Jane has exemplified both the prerequisites of a positive black mentality as well as unity in joining the Civil Rights
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