When did Miss Jane Pittman die? What year and month did she die?

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Noelle Thompson eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Your question isn't really "fair" because it assumes that Miss Jane Pittman is a real, live person.  Nope.  Miss Jane Pittman is a fictional character despite the title of the work, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman which, ironically, is a work of fiction and, as such, a novel.  However, your question about the CHARACTER of Miss Jane Pittman can certainly be answered.

The character of Miss Jane Pittman is a true pioneer in the civil rights movement.  Why?  Not only does she witness the end of slavery, but due to her extreme age when she dies, also get to witness emancipation and reconstruction and the Civil Right's Movement.  Therefore, Miss Jane Pittman is not only a pioneer, but a pioneer who has persevered.

Now to the specifics of your question.  As mentioned above, Miss Jane Pittman's character dies in 1962.  [Please note that it is not really fair to use the film as the exact date (which is 7/19/62) unless you are referring specifically to the film adaptation in your question.  This shows that Miss Jane Pittman's death truly was right in the middle of the quest for civil rights.  Because the book does indicate that the character of Miss Jane Pittman was, in fact, 110 years old when she dies, this shows that due to her death date of 1962, she would have to have been born in 1852:  almost ten years before the Civil War and deep in the heart of slavery in America.

Ain't we all been hurt by slavery?

In conclusion, it is important to say, however, that Gaines who wrote The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman certainly did get inspiration from real-life people.
seaofknowledge eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Jane Pittman dies in July 1962. The 1974 film adaptation of the book gives July 19, 1962 as the date on which Jane Pittman dies.

Many readers assume that Jane Pittman was a real person since the book is her autobiography. But she is in fact a fictional character. She is 110 years old when she dies in 1962, so she was born in the year 1852. 

Jane Pittman is a slave and she lives long enough to witness the end of slavery in the US, as well as the Civil Rights Movement. 

Her life is told in a series of flash-backs as she describes her memories which are tape recorded. Jane Pittman dies some time after the recordings are completed.

The author of the book was inspired by the lives of several real life people when he developed the fictional character.

ms-mcgregor eNotes educator| Certified Educator

Miss Jane Pittman is a literary not historical figure. She is the product of Ernest J. Gaines who wrote the story as a supposed interview with Pittman, who had lived 110 years. According to his novel, Pittman was born sometime around the Civil War and lived until the beginning of the civil rights movement in the 1960's. This would place her imaginary death around 1969. However, the book ends in the 1960's.

mrweiner | Student

According to the Introduction, Jane was interviewed in the summer of 1962 and in the school year following.  She ostensibly died about eight months after the last interview.  So this leads us to some time in 1963 or 1964.

epollock | Student

Jane Pittman, a fictional character and narrator in Ernest J. Gaines's novel "The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman" is 110 at the start of the Civil Rights Movement in the early 60s. I don't believe the novel states that she died.

plumbsue | Student

I believe that they said that she died in July 1962 in the movie, "The Autobiograpy of Miss Jane Pittman"

mimi083 | Student

Around the late 1960s

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