March 22, 2013
Ernest J. Gaines and His Inspirations
Slavery was a big part of American life in the southern United States until the mid-1800’s. Ernest J. Gaines spent his life writing about African Americans from their time in bondage to the time of his childhood growing up in south Louisiana. He provided a unique view of plantation life during the civil war and reconstruction and the impact both had on all Americans, especially those living in the south. Gaines’ many works illustrate how our country as grown and evolved to become the society we live in today. In his novel “The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman”, Gaines proves he is a great American author by giving readers a glimpse of the time of slavery in south Louisiana and relating the setting to historic plantations in the south. Ernest J. Gaines was much like many of the characters in his novels. He was born in south Louisiana on January 15, 1933 at the River Lake Plantation. His childhood experiences, growing up in rural south Louisiana, are reflected in the characters and ideas in many of his novels. One recurring theme in many of his works deals with the estrangement between fathers and sons, which Gaines also experienced. Despite all of the obstacles he faced, including the limited education opportunities, he went on to become a great American author. His early education was at the St. Augustine School in New Roads, Louisiana, which was a room in the back of a black church. He attended this school for six months in the year and went to the school for three years. Gaines was driven to succeed like many of the characters in his books and he used education and his love or reading to build a foundation for success. The colorful characters he created depict a view of himself and many people that he loved and admired throughout his life that are the basis for many of his novels....