What is significant about the following quote from The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman: "We caused one death already this evening. . . .We all killed him. We tried to make him follow a set of rules our people gived us long ago."
1 Answer | Add Yours
Jules Raynard is speaking to Miss Jane Pittman about the death of his godson, Tee Bob Samson, who has ended his own life. Raynard is referring to the unwritten social code between blacks and whites that lived well past the Civil War and Reconstruction; Tee Bob was raised in the white Southern aristocracy and heir to the Samson plantation, his family's, but had been in love with a Creole woman of mixed race, Mary Agnes, and killed himself as a result of the desperation of his situation. From the time he was a small boy, Tee Bob had been unwilling or unable to acknowledge the racial divide he lived with every day; even as a little boy, he was very sensitive to the feelings of others, black and white alike; his worry over Miss Jane Pittman when he was small led to her transfer to the main house, a "promotion" of sorts in the slavery hierarchy. But the situation was an impossible one; he gradually came to acknowledge that he and Mary Agnes would never be together in the society in which they dwelt, and although he acknowledged it, he couldn't accept it, and thus ended his life. This code, or set of social expectations are the "set of rules" Jules is referring to when he says that "We all killed him."
We’ve answered 323,765 questions. We can answer yours, too.Ask a question