Ernest J. Gaines

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Ernest J.Gaines in 2015

Ernest James Gaines (January 15, 1933November 5, 2019) was an African-American author whose books include The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, A Lesson Before Dying, and A Gathering of Old Men.


  • King is probably one of three men of this century that I'll call heroic. A fantastic man as far as I'm concerned, for all that he did.
    • In an interview with Patricia Rickels, as quoted in John Lowe (1995) Conversations with Ernest Gaines, University Press of Mississippi, p. 131
  • I think I'm a very religious person. I think I believe in God as much as any man does. I don't only believe in God, I know there's God.
  • I would think a faith in God is one thing. I think that if we could change the whole world and keep the land is another thing. Change things yet keep keep the relationship is another thing.
  • In dialogue, I’m dealing with the sounds I’ve heard. One of the reasons I often write from first person or multiple points of view is to hear the voices of different characters. Omniscient narration becomes a problem because, for me, the omniscient is my own voice narrating the story and then bringing in characters for dialogue.
  • When people hear stories, they identify more closely with the characters. When I read aloud, people always come up to me and say, “I understand it much better now that I’ve heard you read it. I can hear the characters’ voices much clearer…”

Quotes about Ernest J. Gaines

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