The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman Questions and Answers
by Ernest J. Gaines

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What theme from The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman novel that can be linked to a contemporary theme?

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Ashley Kannan eNotes educator | Certified Educator

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I think that one theme from Gaines' work that has a contemporary meaning would be the idea that political activism can be experienced and embraced by anyone.  Jane Pittman is an old lady by the time she becomes political in the Civil Rights Movement.  Yet, she is not deterred.  Even with the violence that she sees in Jimmy's death, she is not scared to take action.  This is something that can be seen in modern times as political activism is evident today.  Whether it is in the form of the Tea Party or Occupy Wall Street or even taking up activism in public news events such as the Trayvon Martin shooting, the reality is that political activism cuts across race, class, gender, sexual orientation and creates individuals who actively participate in causes they believe in or causes that attract them.  The activism and political activity that Jane Pittman embraces is something that is seen today in a variety of forums and settings.  Jane Pittman recognizes that she can  no longer be apolitical and rather must act.  This is something that individuals from different narratives recognize themselves at different points in time and in their lives.  

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