full title The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman
author Ernest J. Gaines
type of work Novel
genre African-American novel; Southern novel; American modern novel
time and place written 1967–1970, southwestern Louisiana
date of first publication 1971
publisher Bantam Books
narrator An implicit author, who collected the autobiography of Miss Jane, documents the introduction to the book. Miss Jane narrates the remainder of the book in the first person.
point of view The two narrators generally alternate between the first and third person. They use the first person when describing their perceptions and personal actions. They use the third person when describing those around them.
tone The schoolteacher's narrative uses formal English. Miss Jane describes her experiences in a southern dialect common to Louisiana.
setting (time) From slavery through the 1960s
setting (place) Different parts of Louisiana
protagonist Miss Jane Pittman
major conflict Attempt to establish racial equality in the south
rising action Ned Douglass's attempt to organize a protest; Tee Bob's suicide; Jimmy Aaron's selection as "the One"
climax Jimmy Aaron's murder before his organized political action
falling action Jane Pittman leading the march, despite Jimmy's death.
themes The legacy of slavery; manhood; class differences in race
motifs Horses; slave narratives; names
symbols The black stallion; Ned's flint; the river
foreshadowing Joe Pittman's death; predictions of Ned's Death; Tee Bob's response to Timmy's departure; Tee Bob's punching of Jimmy Caya