A Gathering of Old Men Book Summary and Study Guide

Detailed plot synopsis reviews of A Gathering of Old Men

A Gathering of Old Men (1983) by Ernest J. Gaines is a novel about race relations in the American South. The action takes place over the course of one day in rural Louisiana. A white man has been shot dead and lies in the yard of a black man's house. Eighteen old black men gather at the house and each claims that he is responsible for the killing. The brutal white sheriff conducts his investigation as the old men await the revenge of the dead man's relatives, who have a fearsome, longstanding reputation for exacting vigilante justice against black people. By the end of the day, there have been many surprises, and many of the characters have changed in ways that they could not have imagined. The conclusion of the novel hints that although the wounds of the past run deep and still influence the present, times are changing, and in the future, black people can hold out hope for a new era in which everyone is treated equally under the law.
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The review of this Book prepared by shawnta richardson

In the deep part of Louisiana,in the '70s, a farmer was shot and killed.At the scene there was a white women and about 17 old black men. Each holding a shotgun. The sheriff suspects who killed the white man, but he's not sure which one killed him.
The review of this Book prepared by deidra clarkIn Louisiana

In the bayou country of deepest Louisiana, in the late 1970s, a Cajun farmer is found shot dead. At the scene are one young white woman and about 18 old black men, each holding a shotgun. The sheriff is pretty sure who killed the white guy -- hardly any of the old fellows standing around could hit the side of a barn -- but his interrogations, punctuated by slaps and threats, fail to crack or resolve their conflicting and confusing stories. Every single one claims guilt, though the dead man was killed with but one shot, and they promise a riot at the courthouse if the sheriff makes an arrest. Meanwhile, they wait for the inevitable lynch mob that is sure to be organized by the family and buddies of the deceased. By the climax of the story, everyone's learned a little something, especially the beaten old black men who get a taste of their own power and courage. This 1983 Gaines novel is as stirring as the rest of his writings; it's a wonder it hasn't been filmed.
The review of this Book prepared by David Loftus

Chapter Analysis of A Gathering of Old Men

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Plot & Themes

Tone of book?    -   thoughtful Time/era of story    -   1960's-1970's Political/social activism    -   Yes Plotlet:    -   racism!!!! Ethnic/Regional/Religion    -   Black people in America/Europe    -   American South Other aspects:    -   story of the poor Crime & Police story    -   Yes Story of    -   catching a killer Is this an adult or child's book?    -   Adult or Young Adult Book Ethnic/regional/gender life    -   Yes

Main Character

Gender    -   Male Profession/status:    -   farmer Age:    -   60's-90's


How much descriptions of surroundings?    -   3 () United States    -   Yes The US:    -   Deep South Small town?    -   Yes Small town people:    -   nice, like Andy/Opie/Aunt Bee    -   very gullible, like Gomer Pyle

Writing Style

Lot of foul language?    -   Yes

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Ernest J. Gaines Books Note: the views expressed here are only those of the reviewer(s).
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