A Gathering of Old Men, published in 1983, is a novel by African American author Ernest J. Gaines. When a white Cajun farmer is found dead on a plantation in 1970s Louisiana, a group of elderly Black men step forward, each claiming responsibility to protect a younger Black man accused of the crime. The novel explores themes of race, identity, and justice. A Gathering of Old Men was adapted into a 1987 television movie starring Louis Gossett, Jr., Holly Hunter, and Richard Widmark. Explore a plot summary, important quotes, and an in-depth analysis of Candy Marshall.


Read our full plot summary and analysis of A Gathering of Old Men, chapter by chapter break-downs, and more.


See a complete list of the characters in A Gathering of Old Men and in-depth analyses of Candy Marshall, Beau Boutan, and Sheriff Mapes.

Literary Devices

Here's where you'll find analysis of the literary devices in A Gathering of Old Men, from the major themes to motifs, symbols, and more.


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Quick Quizzes

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Further Study

Go further in your study of A Gathering of Old Men with background information and links to the best resources around the web.


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