Gathering of Old Men

Topics: Murder, Black people, Death Penalty Pages: 3 (905 words) Published: April 4, 2013
The Price of Freedom

Allegiance is defined as loyalty or devotion to some person, group, or cause. Revenge is a harmful action against a person or group in response to a grievance. Victory is the success in a struggle against difficulties or an obstacle. Allegiance, revenge, and allegiance; these are all three reoccurring themes in Ernest J. Gaines’s novel, “A Gathering of Old Men.” This novel takes place in a 1970’s Louisiana plantation where a murder has occurred. The plantation's boss, Beau Baton, has been murdered as the story begins. The actions of each character in the novel open a new world of possibilities for blacks living in that time period. As I begin to analyze each of the reoccurring themes, we will be able to see that power lies in numbers, not authority.

Candy Marshall, the partial owner of the plantation, is the first to discover Beau's dead body outside of Mathu's house. Because Mathu is Candy’s foster father she designs a plan to protect him, although she believes that he killed Beau. This is the first example of the reoccurring theme; allegiance. Candy takes charge of the situation by gathering men and instructing them to bring their shotguns to Mathu’s house. It is not until the sheriff shows up and begins questioning each of the men that the second example of allegiance is shown. All of the men, linked together by their equal injustices at the hands of whites, confess to the murder. This act of bravery prevents the real murderer from being immediately identified. In this allegiance with each other, the old men risk their lives and prove that there is strength in numbers.

On the way to the plantation the old men make a pit stop at the graveyard. The graveyard brings both painful memories and strength. Each of the men has family members who were buried there. Jacob's sister who was murdered by local whites because she slept with white and black men is one of them. I believe that by visiting the graveyard before going to the...

Citations: Gaines, Ernest. A Gathering of Old Men. New York: Vintage Contemporaries, 1983. 214. Print.
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