In the novel A Gathering of Old Men, Ernest J. Gaines, portrays the Novel through the eyes of individual narrators involved on the events of the day. The novel focuses on a group of cowardly black men who finally stop running and stand up for themselves for their years of suffering. In the bayou country of deepest Louisiana, in the late 1970s, a Cajun farmer is found shot dead. At the scene there is one young white woman and about 18 old black men, each holding a shotgun.
The sheriff is pretty sure who killed the white guy, hardly any of the old fellows standing around could hit the side of a barn. But the Sheriffs interrogations, punctuated by slaps and threats, fail to crack or resolve their conflicting and confusing stories. Every single one claims guilt, though the dead man was killed with but one shot, and they promise a riot at the courthouse if the sheriff makes an arrest. Meanwhile, they wait for the inevitable lynch mob that is sure to be organized by the family and buddies of the deceased.
By the climax of the story, everyone’s learned a little something, especially the beaten old black men who get a taste of their own power and courage. There is great difference between the narration of the black people and white people. The black men grow through the novel and become individuals and depict their inner pain.
The Cajuns do not see nor realize the years of pain and guilt that the black men have carried with them. The story illustrates two worlds, the inner world is the life in Marshall Quarters, the old black men and their family; the outer world being everything outside the Quarters, Fix, the Cajuns, and even the white people.