Ernest James Gaines: Commitment To Culture

946 words - 4 pages

All individuals are not just flesh and bones; important in every person is a system of values and beliefs. The philosophies that constitute an author’s creations are frequently devised from major elements of his or her own life. Ernest James Gaines, the author of numerous remarkable books in today’s literature, is a great example of a writer that parallels his life with his work. Specifically, Gaines chooses to focus on his depiction of Southern society back then (and now) to express his beliefs. In addition, his viewpoint of his African American community and background also allows him to communicate deeply universal themes of faith, courage, and dignity with his words. Therefore, Ernest ...view middle of the document...

Gaines”).
Just as important, Gaines’s education and literary influences also provide a myriad of reasons behind his writing. Early in his life, Gaines attended elementary school for six years in a building with only one room and then attended a Catholic school afterward. Before he moved to California when he was fifteen, Gaines was deeply influenced by his single motherly figure in Louisiana—his Aunt Jefferson. Despite her handicapped condition, Augusteen Jefferson taught Gaines to be optimistic and to have dignity in their subservient positions within the South; chief components of his books today have focused on the act of dignity in a position of submission. Then, after he reluctantly moved to Vallejo, California, Gaines discovered the public library, where he initiated his interest in literature and writing. Subsequently, Gaines enrolled at Vallejo Junior College before enlisting in the army for two years. After he was discharged, Gaines attended San Francisco State College to study English, where his creative writing earned him admission to Stanford University. Following his return to Louisiana in 1962, Gaines truly believed that the post-slavery circumstances in the South deserved to be recognized; he was determined to capture the spirit of the South and its people (Guzzio) (Fiero).
If Gaines did not face the challenges he had to overcome in his early writing career, he would not be the author he is today. During his time at San Francisco State College, Gaines’s first piece of published work was found in the magazine Transfer in 1956. Following that year, he won the Wallace Stegner Award for Fiction, which pushed him to continue his career. Afterward, Catherine Carmier, Gaines’s first novel, was published in 1964 but did not gain much reputation, just like his second book Of...

Find Another Essay On Ernest James Gaines: Commitment to Culture

The sky is gray by Ernest Gaines

5032 words - 20 pages that Gaines himself seems to share.Themes and MeaningsThe short story takes the issue of black pride in the face of intolerable conditions of poverty as its major theme. James and his family are reduced to poverty though his father is in the army. In view of these facts, James has been forced to sacrifice his childhood to the harsh realities of survival in a hostile and unforgiving world. The review in which he is forced to kill the redbirds in

The Sky Is Gray Essay

5493 words - 22 pages that Gaines himself seems to share.Themes and MeaningsThe short story takes the issue of black pride in the face of intolerable conditions of poverty as its major theme. James and his family are reduced to poverty though his father is in the army. In view of these facts, James has been forced to sacrifice his childhood to the harsh realities of survival in a hostile and unforgiving world. The review in which he is forced to kill the redbirds in

Communities and their Interactions Within the novel: A Gathering Of Old Men by Ernest Gaines

956 words - 4 pages A gathering of Old Men written by Ernest J. Gaines gives an accurate portrayal of what the slave era was like. Gaines grew up on a plantation in Louisiana. He did not become a scholar until he moved to California in 1948. Learning opportunities for blacks during his era were hard to come by especially in south. While in California Gaines was able to attend college and would graduate from San Francisco State College in 1957. He would soon later

Bringing out the U and I in Community

1052 words - 5 pages In Ernest J. Gaines’ A Lesson Before Dying we meet a man by the name of Grant Wiggins. Grant is an elementary school teacher in his mid-twenties. He is educated, selfish and depressed. Grant struggles to manage in the racist white society, which has made him bitter. He had no faith in himself, his community, or his religion. He didn’t believe that things will get better and thinks escape is the only option. Through the hard lessons of

A Lesson Before Dying by Ernest J. Gaines

1065 words - 4 pages religion is complex among a wide array of individuals. Tante Lou and Miss Emma firmly backed their Christian beliefs and greatly duplicated the real beliefs of many women and men of that time who found their identifying culture through an attachment of Christianity. Vancil, David E. “Redemption According to Ernest Gaines.” In A Lesson Before Dying in African American Review 28, no.3 (1994) 489-491.

The Sky is Gray

972 words - 4 pages James, the narrator in Ernest Gaines' "The Sky is Gray" is an eight-year-old African American male who is still a child but being the oldest male in the household he faces more responsibility than a normal young boy would. His father is deployed to fight in World War II, so his mother; Octavia is forced to take care of the household. She in turn must teach him how to be a gentleman, which he becomes at the end of the story

Poverty in The Sky is Gray by Ernest J. Gaines

541 words - 2 pages       In the short story “The Sky is Gray”, Ernest J. Gaines shows the struggles, inflicted by poverty, in an eight-year-old boys life. This poor, Negro boy, James, lives with his mother and five other relatives while his father is away. His father has gone to war, his mother is a very proud woman, and James does not want to be a financial burden on his mother; all these circumstances take a toll in making James’ life

A Lesson Before Dying, by Ernest Gaines

1097 words - 4 pages Shakira and Depp are also committing fornication and already view themselves as being married; the marriage is just not official. This draws comparisons to Ernest Gaines’ novel 'A Lesson Before Dying'. Two of the novel’s main characters, Grant and Vivian, have sex outside of marriage because they cannot be married since Vivian is still legally married to another man (Gaines 29). Even though of Vivian’s situation differs slightly from that of

Book Review: A Lesson Before Dying Bryan Orcutt Historical Perspectives

1102 words - 5 pages Introduction According to his biography, Ernest J. Gaines grew up in Oscar, Louisiana on a plantation in the 1930s. He worked picking potatoes for 50 cents a day, and in turn used his experiences to write six books, including A Lesson Before Dying. While the novel is fictional, it is based on the hardships faced by blacks in a post Civil War South, under Jim Crow and 'de jure' segregation. In A Lesson Before Dying, the main story line is a sad

The Literary Merit of A Lesson Before Dying

1126 words - 5 pages took creative writing courses. His first book, Catherine Carmier, was published in 1964. He finished his most famous novel, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, in 1971. The success of The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman prompted Gaines to write more about the black communities of southern Louisiana. The most successful book dealing with the colored people of southern Louisiana, A Lesson Before Dying, was penned in 1993 (“About Ernest Gaines

The Danger of Misconceptions

986 words - 4 pages Before Dying, Persepolis, and “Exploring the Negative Consequences of Stereotyping”; I conclude that when an individual person or party is subjected to a misconception, they will react negatively. Stereotypes are one form of misconceptions. A stereotype is an “unfair belief that all people or things with a particular characteristic are the same” (Merriam-Webster). In Ernest J. Gaines’ novel A Lesson Before Dying, racial stereotypes are

Similar Essays

"Miss Jane Pittman" By Ernest James Gaines

1522 words - 6 pages Title: The Autobiography Of Miss Jane PittmanAuthor: Ernest J. GainesYear and place published: 1971, New York, Toronto, London, Sydney, and Auckland.Number of pages: 259Type of Book: Fictional AutobiographyBiography of Author:Ernest James Gaines was born in 1933 on River Lake Plantation in Louisiana. He is the author of six novels including the widely acclaimed Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman. Gaines' fiction deals exclusively with life in

Response To The Prompt "What Is A Man As Described By Ernest Gaines In His Book 'a Gathering Of Old Men'". Includes Quotes With Page Numbers

553 words - 2 pages A Gathering of Men and BoysWhat is a man? Webster's first definition is: "an individual human being; esp. an adult male human," Not helpful. Perhaps the third part of that definition: "One possessing in a high degree the qualities considered distinctive of manhood." Ernest J. Gaines' comes up with the definition of a man in his novel, A Gathering of Old Men. In the book a porch in rural Louisiana becomes filled with old black men who all claim

Comradeship In James Hanley's The German Prisoner, Ernest Hemingway's Farewell To Arms, Not So Quiet, All Quiet On The Western Front, And Pat Baker's

1501 words - 6 pages Comradeship in James Hanley's "The German Prisoner", Ernest Hemingway's "Farewell to Arms", "Not So Quiet", "All Quiet on the Western Front", and Pat Baker's "Regeneration" For many soldiers and volunteers, life on the fronts during the war means danger, and there are few if any distractions from its horrors. Each comradeship serves as a divergence from the daily atrocities and makes life tolerable. Yet, the same bonds that most World War

The Role Of Women In Society According To Ernest Hemmingway's "Hills Like White Elephants", Steinbeck's The "Chrysanthemums", And James Joyce's "Eveline."

782 words - 3 pages The role of women in society is constantly questioned and for centuries women have struggled to find their place in a world that is predominantly male oriented. Literature provides the reader a window into the lives, thoughts, and actions of women. Ernest Hemmingway's "Hills like White Elephants", Steinbeck's "The Chrysanthemums", and James Joyce's "Eveline" each paint a picture of women who has failed to break away from their male