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In A Gathering of Old Men, what is symbolic about all the men waiting in the...

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sms | eNotes Newbie

Posted February 15, 2009 at 10:30 AM via web

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In A Gathering of Old Men, what is symbolic about all the men waiting in the graveyard? It is in the Chapter "Grant Bello aka Cherry".

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dymatsuoka | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

Posted March 19, 2009 at 6:15 AM (Answer #1)

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The men who are waiting in the graveyard are about to do something they have never done before.  They are, as a group, going to stand up to the oppression of white society.  A bigoted white farmer, Beau Boutan, has been killed, and Mathu, a powerful black man in his eighties, is accused of committing the crime.  The men who are waiting in the graveyard are planning to come forth, each claiming to have been the one to have really done the deed, in order to stymie a justice system that has always treated them unfairly.

The men are taking their stand to vindicate themselves and their ancestors, many of whom lie buried in the graveyard.  Their place of meeting is fitting, because, in finally standing up and asserting their manhood, they are speaking not only for themselves, but for generations that have gone before, all of whom have lived under the oppression of slavery and its residual attitudes which still permeate their home in Louisiana in the 1970s.  The fact that they have chosen the graveyard in which to wait and prepare is also significant because, for the most part, the men are old; each of them are very much aware that their time on earth, before they too are buried with their forefathers, is rapidly growing short ("Grant Bello aka Cherry").

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