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A Gathering of Old Men by Ernest J. Gaines - Essay Example

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A Gathering of Old Men occurs in Marshall Plantation situated in Bayonne Louisiana. The gathering is brought about by the revelations that Beau Baton, the plantations’ work boss, has been brutally murdered at the initial stages of the novel…
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A Gathering of Old Men by Ernest J. Gaines
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"A Gathering of Old Men by Ernest J. Gaines"

Download file to see previous pages A Gathering of Old Men occurs in Marshall Plantation situated in Bayonne Louisiana. The gathering is brought about by the revelations that Beau Baton, the plantations’ work boss, has been brutally murdered at the initial stages of the novel. As a result, she acts quickly and invites everyone staying within the precincts of the plantation. After Miss Merle’s arrival, Candy confesses to her that she was the one who had killed Beau. Merle does not believe her, and together, they decide to bring local men together with their shotguns so that they make it difficult for Sherriff Mapes to solve the crime. All the men arrive with their shotguns and are willing to co-operate. As anticipated, Sheriff Mapes arrive to investigate the crime. The first two people he summons both confess to have commite the crime. Moving to the next person, the sheriff questions Reverend Jameson. The Reverend keeps mum and does not answer him anything. Overwhelmed by anger, the sheriff punches him so hard that he falls to the ground (Gaines 80). The other men watching the scenario reacts to the sheriff’s action and lines up to be slapped too. The sheriff is so amazed by this sense of solidarity and their readiness to confess. He stops questioning them. Charlie’s absence from the men present in Mathu’s homestead is noticeable. This is because he was the one working closely with Beau. However, the sheriff does not pay much attention to his absenteeism since he views him as a weak individual who can not harm any one. His main suspect is Mathu since he has always openly demonstrated his hatred towards the local whites. Therefore, the sheriff believes that Mathu is the only one who can commit the murder (Gillis). On the contrary, he can not make any arrests since he does not have any evidence that links anyone to the murder. Furthermore, more black men come out to confess killing Beau. They claim that they were retaliating the killing of their son for a crime he did not commit, raping of their sisters and the killing of their brothers for no reason. Mapes is compelled to stay at the crime scene since he is confident that Fix, a white man known for lynching blacks will come with his men to avenge Beau’s death (Bryan). As the sheriff, he is bound to stay to maintain law and order. The sheriff strong belief that Mathu could be the murderer prompts him to arrest Mathu. However, before taking him away, Charlie comes to the picture. He confesses that he was the one who killed Beau (Gaines 110). He explains himself that he committed the crime after being threatened by Beau. He also revealed that he had convinced Mathu to take the blame before fleeing. However, he asserts that he had come back to speak the truth and take responsibility of his actions. After revealing his confession, Charlie is arrested by the sheriff. Before they leave Mathu’s compound to the police station, Luke Will and his group of whites arrive demanding Charlie to be handed over to them for lynching (Attaining manhood). Mapes refuses and they shoot him. On seeing this, the black men immediately withdraw their shot guns and a gruesome battle ensues. The white men did not expect this retaliation and one of them is slightly injured (Attaining manhood). The primary battle takes place between Luke Will and Charlie. The two men strongly fight to finish one another. Eventually, Charlie shoots Luke Will before he is shot. He dies a hero and everyone in the area pays tribute to his dead body. On the other hand, all the individuals involved in the shootout are charged in a court of law and given five years probation each. Analysis The novel, A Gathering of Old Men by Ernest Gaines brings out many themes and various ...Download file to see next pagesRead More
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