The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman

by Ernest J. Gaines

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What are the significant events in Book 4 of The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman?

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I think that one of the most significant events out of the Fourth Book of The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman is the emergence of Jimmy and his impact on Jane.  Jimmy is significant because he is the last young person that Jane Pittman observes from the outside.  Jimmy is socially active, even at a young age.  This is significant because as Jimmy gets older, he will come back and seek to rally the rural old in protest of segregation laws and practices in the South.  Jimmy's desire for social change and his willingness to do what is needed to achieve it leave an imprint on Jane.  This is significant because while she had voiced resistance on an individual level throughout the work, it is in this book where we begin to see her activism and defiance take on a civic nature.  

It is the element of Jimmy's influence on Jane that becomes one of the most significant events in both Book Four and the autobiography, in general.  When Jimmy is shot, it becomes intensely significant that Jane takes up the cause where Jimmy left off.  In this, the work shows that defiance and resistance can be advocated by anyone, anywhere and in any condition.  One is never "too old" to protest injustice.  This point becomes one of the most significant elements to emerge out of Book Four.

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