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Was the story of Miss Jane Pittman a real one?I love history, I want to know more...

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auntreeree | eNotes Newbie

Posted May 30, 2009 at 12:37 AM via web

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Was the story of Miss Jane Pittman a real one?

I love history, I want to know more about her

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mwestwood | College Teacher | (Level 3) Distinguished Educator

Posted May 30, 2009 at 1:43 AM (Answer #1)

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No, there was no real person named Jane Pittman.  However, Ernest J. Gaines did base the character in his novel, "The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman," upon a real person, his Aunt Augusteen, a disabled woman who had no legs. While Ernest himself and others worked in the potato fields of a plantation for fifty cents a day, Aunt Augusteen cared for the children.

Gaines's aunt had a powerful influence upon him, and he incorporated strong black female characters such as Jane Pittman into his novels. To make "The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman" seem more authentic, Gaines had Jane tell her story herself.  This method is in keeping with the oral tradition of African-Americans since the days of slavery.

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