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Last Updated on July 29, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 227

1. While Cajun food and music have become increasingly popular recently, most people know little of the background of Cajun people. Who are these people? Where did they come from? What status did they have when Louisiana became a state? What seems to be the social position of Cajuns in the world of A Gathering of Old Men?

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2. Read the book or see the motion picture A Soldier's Story and compare the intraracial hatred there with that expressed by Mathu in A Gathering of Old Men. Contrast and compare the two presentations of this social problem.

3. The old black men, as if in response to the dead in the plantation graveyard, each wind up confessing their betrayals of those they loved, because of fear. Discuss the value of confession with a minister, psychologist, rabbi, or priest and try to discover its role in psychological health. Then write a paper on the confessions in A Gathering of Old Men to determine its use in these characters' lives.

4. Read John Hope Franklin's From Slavery to Freedom, the standard history of black Americans, and try to determine how faithfully Ernest Gaines has presented the plight of the plantation black people in the period between 1950 to 1970.

5. Read about narration in an elementary college literature text and write a paper on first-person narration in A Gathering of Old Men. How effective is it?

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