The sky is gray ppt

The Sky is Gray
Ernest Gaines
Ernest James Gaines
• Born January 15, 1933
• By the age of 9 was earning 50 cents a
day digging potatoes.
• Raised by his crippled aunt.
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• first 6 years of schooling were in
plantation church
• Had 9 brothers and 2 sisters
• 5th generation of sharecropper slave in his family
• Could only go to school for 5 or 6 months
• 1957-Moves to San Francisco and earns degree in
literature .
• 1996- spent a full semester as a visiting professor at
the University of Rennes in France
• Wrote his first novel at 17 while
babysitting. Catherine Carmier.
• 1856-The turtles (first short story)
• A Lesson Before Dying- National Book
Critics Circle Award
• 1963- The Sky is Gray (later added to his
bloodline stories)
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• Southern Plantation in Louisiana
• Rural town right outside of
Bayonne (Gaines's mythical city)
• Gray landscape and pervasive
cold are central to the
atmosphere of the story.
• In the time period of WWII
• action occurs in one day
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Main Characters
•James- 8 year old narrator who
observes events he cannot
comprehend, but must accept.
•Has a toothache
•Life is not that of a normal child
• Octavia- (James’s mother)
• Trying to prepare her son for the harsh and
cruel life of a black man in this time period.
represents a typical black woman in this time
trying to do what is best for the family.
Major Events
• The decision to go to town for James’s decaying
• After being turned away from the dentist office,
the long walk to the “back of town” through the
freezing cold where black people were only
allowed to eat.
• The invitation to come inside an old woman’s
store to get out of the cold and keep warm.
• The fact Octavia won’t accept free food and the
old woman’s act of kindness.
• The walk back to the dentist after leaving the
woman’s store.
• Octavia tells her son “You not a bum, you a
• Parallel to an event from Gaines childhood
•Strength and
The dignity of both women is shown.
“The author, while acknowledging the tragedy of
segregation, transcends oversimplification of racial
issues to find hope in the strong bonds of pride and
empathy in the brief encounter between the two
women.” - Fiero
•Sons searching for fathers
-Gaines own father was away fighting
during WWII.
-This theme is included is often used in
Gaines work.
Works Cited
"Ernest J. Gaines." Wikipedia , 29 April 2011. Web. 12 May 2011.
• McDonald, Walter . ""You not a Bum, You a Man": Ernest J. Gaines."
Jstor. St. Louis University , 1975. Web. 19 May 2011.
• Fiero, John W., and Marjorie J. Podolsky. "The Sky Is Gray." Magill’s
Survey of American Literature, Revised Edition (2006): 1. Literary
Reference Center. EBSCO. Web. 22 May 2011.
• Reuben, Paul P. "Chapter 10: Ernest J. Gaines." PAL: Perspectives in
American Literature- A Research and Reference Guide.
URL: 22 May

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