A Gathering Of Old Men By Ernest J. Gaines Essay

A Gathering Of Old Men By Ernest J. Gaines Essay

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he theme of racism in A Gathering of Old Men by Ernest J. Gaines stem from the issue of racism that was prevalent in the southern state of Louisiana during the 1970s. Gaines shows the rift between races in attaining positions of superiority; the impact of racism is explicitly delineated in this prosaic work. Its effects on the African American elders and the proposition for the interrelationship between Blacks and Whites are points noted in the novel. It is worthy of note that though the plot was meant to be one in the 1970s, characters ' positions bore striking resemblances to those in the enslavement era. The Whites still dictated the norms, what was right and what was not. Even till this present moment, the status quo has not much changed. Gaines shows that racism causes unfair treatment of Blacks by other races, which causes Blacks to stand up for their rights. However, when they stand up in unity, police brutality is employed to suppress their stands.
To start with, the concept of racism creates a barrier, whereby Blacks are seen as inferior and are treated as such. Luke Will and his cult are an example of people who fall into this category. Tee Jack describes these men as fellows who “like turning over nigger school buses, throwing snakes into nigger churches during prayer meetings, or running niggers out of what used to be all white motels and restaurants” (Gaines 159). This explicitly states their objectives: to wreak havoc among the Blacks. They are not concerned about embracing peace or supporting peaceful co-existence. They see Blacks as inferior and are quick to define that in their personalities. Even Tee Jack himself is guilty of the same offense-guilty by omission. The fact that he does not object to the unequal tr...


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...ptions as opposed to the pervasive presence of systemic racism. ... Thus, when the white sheriff Mapes arrives, clearly as the representative of the legal battleground on which much of the Civil Rights Movement was waged, he is relegated from authority figure to witness” (Tucker 115). He writes this in allusion to the gathering of the old men at the Marshall plantation. He opines that their standing up was to show that they all had a common goal. Their defiance, possession of shotguns and refusal to compromise despite the harsh conditions meted to them is a plan to tell Fix and the White populace “enough was enough”. Each of them has memories of what had been done to their family members. The scene of the graveyard is important in that it reminds them that they all have one way or the other witness harsh conditions. For that reason, they stand up together (Gaines 44).

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