In "The Autobiography of Misss Jane Pittman," when does Jane take responsibility for Ned as if he were her own child?

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linda-allen eNotes educator| Certified Educator

This scene is in Book I in the chapter titled "Massacre." At the end of the war, several of the former slaves decide to go north, with Big Laura leading them. They stop and make camp for the night, and everyone sleeps under the bushes. Early the next morning, some "patrollers" (men who used to hunt runaway slaves) come upon them and start attacking them. Jane takes Ned and hides in some bushes. She lies on top of him so he will stay down and not make a sound. She just knows that at any minute they'll be discovered, but the patrollers don't find them. When it is safe to come out, Jane finds Big Laura's dead body, still clutching her dead baby. Jane says:

   I didn't cry, I couldn't cry. I had seen so much beating and suffering; I had heard about so much cruelty in those 'leven or twelve years of my life I hardly knowed how to cry. I went back to Ned and asked him if he wanted to go to Ohio with me. He nodded.

The next day, she is thinking about their situation and begins to wonder:

...what I was go'n do next. "I got this child to take care, I got that river to cross-and how many more rivers I got to cross before I reach Ohio?"

mimi083 | Student

she asks like hes her own son

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