A Gathering of Old Men by Ernest J. Gaines, is a novel not like most others, told from the perspective of various characters both black and white. Taking place on a Louisiana sugarcane plantation in the 1970's. A white man by the name on Beau, lies dead on a black man's property, all the blacks say they did it when actually nobody knew who did it. This novel builds up the tension between the two races. This is a very spectacular novel for all ages because it shows the troubled life of fear that these people lived in, the amount of pride that people had, and the respect between some blacks and whites.
With the exception of Mathu, all the blacks feared the white racists that abused them. The essential reason why it was like this was because of all the years that they had been mistreated. An example of this can be found in a passage when Janey and Snookum were talking, (page 8-9) Snookum says " '... Something to do with Mathu and Beau. Beau laying on his back in Mathu's yard.
And Mathu squatting there with that shotgun. ' Janey's face changed quick. She was mad at first, now she was scared... ". Janey says.
".. Boy, you know what this mean? Mean Fix coming here with his drove. You too young to know Fix. But I know Fix. '".
From this passage you can see that the fear that Janey was presenting was a fear that had been built up over a long period of time. When she say's "you to young to know Fix" she is giving the idea that the horror that she has gone threw he has not been subjected to, yet. Another example of this can be drawn from the passage were Tucker tells his story to Mapes about his brother Silias beating a tractor then being beaten, (page 96-97) Tucker says "With them two little mules, he beat that tractor to the derrick. Them two little mules did all they could, like my brother did. They knowed it was the end if they couldn't make it.
They could hear the machine like everybody else could hear the machine, and they knowed they had to pull, pull, pull for him and wanted to keep going. My brother and mules, mules and my brother. So they pulled for him and pulled for him and pulled for him, sweating, slipping, falling, but pulling for him. Slobber running from their mouths, the bit cutting their lips, the slobber and blood mixing and falling to the ground, yet they pulled, pulled, pulled in all in all that mud for him. And yes, they did win.
They won. But they wasn't supposed to win. How can flesh and blood and nigger win against white man and machine? So they beat him. They took stalks of cane and they beat him and beat him and beat him. I was there, and didn't move...
I saw my brother win that race. But he wasn't supposed to win, he was supposed to lose. We all knowed he was supposed to lose. Me, his own brother knowed he was supposed to lose. He was supposed to lose years ago, and because he didn't lose like a nigger is supposed to lose, they beat him.
And they beat him, and they beat him. And I didn't do nothing but stand there and watch them beat my brother down to the ground". The importance of this chapter is because you can see that this man Silias did what he set out what he was going to do. He did the unthinkable.
Only to have it throne in his face when he was beaten and then the "law" said that he had started it, and this whole time Tucker just stud there and didn't move, scared stiff. All the men felt a sence of pride in being black, and this helped them achieve true freedom. A way in which this was shown was when they wouldn't let Mapes take Mathu, they would do anything to stop this from happening. In the passage where.