Old Men

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Ernest J. Gaines was the brilliant author of the novel, A Gathering of Old Men. This book mainly is a fictional story about the real life prejudices whites had against blacks in the 1970’s. Earnest displays these prejudices through carefully thought out characters. The main protagonist of the story is a white woman known as Candy. She is an orphan who was raised by neighbors near a plantation in the Deep South where the story takes place. At the time of the story, Candy is around 18 years old. Another main character is a white sheriff known as Mapes. He is also a protagonist in the story but is more of a neutral character than Candy. Many antagonists appear throughout the book, but the only one who takes any action is Luke Will. He is a huge young man who appears to be bull headed and never backs down from a fight. Also, Luke has a great dislike for the blacks in the area, and feels that whites are superior to blacks. In all these are the major characters that appear throughout the novel. The story begins with a young boy, known as Snookum, running from house to house telling all the “old men” in the area to meet at Mathu’s house with a twelve gauge shotgun and an empty number five shell. Each old timer is rounded up one by one and many come from towns far away from the Marshall Quarters, the small town in which Mathu’s house lies. In this part of the novel the reader is introduced to all the abused black folks who are fed up with being picked on by the whites. Each and every man has a different story about how the white folks, especially the plantation owner Fix and his son Beau, had abused him or his family. Around this time, the reader learns that Beau has been shot in Mathu’s yard. Also, the reader is lead to believe that Mathu did indeed shoot him but Candy, being like Mathu’s daughter was going to protect him by having all the old fed up men around the plantation come down and say that they had shot Beau. Even Candy her self clai…