The Burning Passion of a Free Spirit

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  • Topic: The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, Ernest J. Gaines, Stan Winston
  • Pages : 2 (545 words )
  • Download(s) : 382
  • Published : March 24, 2009
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The Burning Passion of a Free Spirit Miss Jane Pittman, a 109 year old ex-slave, tells the story of her life to one young reporter amidst some critical civil rights moments. This story would later be published as The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman; even though an autobiography it was not. Ernest J Gaines (as well as Miss Jane Pittman) discussed three main symbols throughout this novel. The first symbol Jane talks about is that of Ned’s “rocks” (Gaines 23). These rocks were not any ordinary rocks but flint. Flint that was carried by Big Laura and then by Ned everywhere he and Jane journeyed. The flint did not just symbolize life or the simple thought of fire, it also symbolized burning passion. This was a passion of both Ned and Jane. A passion of what they longed and hoped for day in and day out, equality for all people and freedom. This flint is also important to Ned because it keeps the memory of his birth mother bright. They feel so strongly about the flint that both Ned and Jane get into arguments over it. Ned hit another child who tried to take his flint and when the white man at the “orphanage” tried to take the flint away from Ned Jane argued with him until he left them alone to sleep (37-38). Jane and Ned never left the flint behind, no matter what. Even after Ned left the plantation Jane held onto the flint; in addition to the concept of a better life for Ned. No matter where she moved, who she lived with or worked for she carried with her the thought of Ned. Horses werethe second major symbol discussed throughout the novel. A horse was a symbol of power, control and often money. Many times a slaves master was seen riding around on one of his horses watching over his workers or even riding off to be with one of his young slave women; this showed his power over the people he called “his”. When Jane met Joe Pittman she was enamored by how he could control the horses he was brought, little did she know the one thing that she most enjoyed about him...
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