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The Gathering Essay

1640 words - 7 pages

Ernest J. Gaines was born on January 15, 1933, in Oscar, Louisiana. Many of his stories and characters are set in the swamplands of Louisiana. His target audience is Black southern youth; his goal is to give them a sense of pride in their heritage. Recently, Gaines participated in the conference "Black and White Perspectives on the American South," which intended to examine how the two races view themselves and the relations to one another. In the book A Gathering of old men, there was lots of symbolism throughout the scenes. Tthe book describes the transaction from the old south to the new south, a south that depends on the the co-existence of blacks and whites. In order for this too take place some old black men are going to have to stand up for themselves when a white cajun farmer by the name of Beau is murdered. The old black men in the story will have to face up to a racist sherriff by the name of Mapes.Beau Boutans brother Gil, who plays fullback for Louisiana State University, and depends on a black running back, is getting tired of his family violent name. He comes home to confront his dad Fix Boutan. By doing this Gil represents a new southern way. The man who murdered Beau, Charlie, was a very large man. He had been running away from his fears since he was a kid, but on this fateful day all that would change. It was finally time for Charlie to become a man after so many years.

In one of the scenes from the book A Gathering of Old Men, the old men gathered around the Sheriff Mapes who symbolized white power with his gigantic size and his authority . Mapes was trying to figure out who had killed Beau Boutan. Their stories all came down to the same conclusion as the next mans story. They were fed up with verbal and physical abuse of from the Boutans. Mapes in all his years never seen such a sight or better yet a boldness in the eyes and mouths of the old black men. Even though he cursed them and hit them to get the truth, the old black men kept their stories, that they were all guilty of the murder of Beau Boutan. Before Mat left his house, one of the old black men, he and his wife got into an argument. She did not want him to be involved in what was going on. With tears of past hurt coming down his face he told her how for many years he has helped the white man get richer and the black man get poorer. He told her he was going down there for the time he seen Oliver bleed to death in a hospital because he was black. He went on to join the rest of the old men. Mapes had his sheriff Griffin to pick people so he could interrogate them. An old man by the name of Old Billy was the first. He came up to him and told Mapes that he had killed Beau Boutan. Mapes then hit the Old Billy. Old Billy turned back around and still said he was the guilty one. This was quite a stand, just talking back to a white man was considered the most disrespectful thing to do. Old Billy’s’ courage fueled the others bravery. When asked why did he do it Billy...

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