The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman

by Ernest J. Gaines

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What were some of Miss Jane Pittman's philosophies?

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Miss Jane Pittman has witnessed one hundred years of life in Louisiana, so she has a great deal of wisdom to share with her readers. She realizes early in her life that she can't count on anyone but herself to make her life better. Instead of crying about the tragedies of her life, she teaches us self-reliance and determination.

She also learns that one person can make a difference in the lives of many. She tells Jimmy to do what he can to improve things for black people because it's only through the efforts of each person toward change can a difference be made in the lives all black Americans. She refers to when Miss Rosa Parks refused to give up her seat to a white man as the event that had to happen in order for Martin Luther King to accomplish anything. One person needed to do what she did in order to inspire others to make changes.

Jane also believes that people must be willing to sacrifice in order for their children to have a better future. The community of black people must be willing to fight so the futures of all black children can be brighter than their parents.

The belief that the human spirit will endure is something else Jane teaches us. That spirit can be enslaved and beaten, but it will break free. She wants us to know the power of the human spirit in overcoming whatever difficulties we must face in life.

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