A Gathering of Old Men Essay Example

  • Category: Books, Literature,
  • Words: 532 Pages: 2
  • Published: 16 April 2021
  • Copied: 186

The novel, A Gathering of Old Men by Ernest J. Gaines, takes place in Bayonne, Louisiana on the Marshall Plantation. In the beginning, Beau Boutan is murdered and Candy Marshall finds the body. She gathers the old men together to help protect Mathu, who everyone thinks killed Beau. The novel address racial discrimination as well as the idea of racial interdependence. Racial interdependence helps people within a community unify. 

The interdependent relationship between Gil and Cal is a positive one and they depend on each other in order to benefit the football team. Sully describes how “Cal and Gil were known as Salt and Pepper at LSU…. but after seeing how well he and Cal worked together, they finally settled on Salt and Pepper” (Gaines 71). Gil is Cajun and Cal is black and they work together to achieve their future goals of becoming all-American. With being the fullback and halfback, the success of the team depends on how they interact with each other. They are also setting an example for the audiences that watch and showing them that without unity, there is no success. The quote shows the harmonious relationship between Cal and Gil, despite being surrounded by racism. Their relationship is important to their success, the team’s success, and it can help encourage other people to start having interdependent relationships that will help unify the community. 

Candy and Mathu are another example of an interdependent relationship that helps unify the community. Snookum goes around yelling “‘Candy want y’all at Mathu’s house! Candy want y’all at Mathu’s house! Candy want y’all at Mathu’s house!’” (Gaines 9). Candy is gathering the old men together in order to help protect Mathu after rumors of him being the murderer spread. Candy is white, however, she appears to be close friends with the blacks on the plantation and sees Mathu as a father, because he helped raise her. Her gathering the old men helps bring them together and makes them realize that they need to start standing up for themselves. Without the love between Candy and Mathu, the gathering never would have happened, and Mathu probably would have suffered the consequences of being the accused murderer. The interdependent relationship helped bring people of the community together and save Mathu. 

There are interdependent relationships that do not help unify the community and an example of this is Charlie and Beau. Beau was seen beating up Charlie by Candy and Charlie came up to Mathu’s house. Candy asked what happened and “ he said Beau hit him with a stalk of cane. A few minutes later Beau followed him on the tractor with the shotgun” (Gaines 44). Beau and Charlie worked together in the field hauling cane and when Beau got angry at Charlie he started beating him. Charlie blitzed him with a stalk of cane, he fell to the ground with a bloody head, and eventually he ended up shooting him.  Beau’s death caused a desire for revenge which led to violence and split the community into people avenging Beau and people protecting Mathu. When the relationship between two people is negative, it can lead to chaos throughout the community. This is why interdependent relationships are essential for unification. 

In a community, racial interdependence helps unify the members. Interdependence is an important relationship and can either bring the community together or tear it apart. The positive interdependent relationships provided benefits to the people involved. The negative relationships caused the people involved to suffer. 

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