Last Updated on July 29, 2019, by eNotes Editorial. Word Count: 289
Gaines’s 1964 novel, Catherine Carmier shows how characters deal with decisions based on their beliefs. Catherine, the daughter of a rich Creole, falls in love with Jackson Bradley, a black man caught between his love for Catherine and his understanding of the world beyond the community in which they live.
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Also a story of disallowed love, Of Love and Dust continues Gaines’s search for human dignity. Published by Dial in 1967, Gaines’s second novel portrays the doomed relationship between a black man and his white boss’s wife.
Many critics consider Gaines’s third novel, The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, his best work. The narrative recounts events in Miss Jane Pittman’s background that originate during the Civil War and continue through the 1960s. The 1971 novel takes the reader on a trip back through time.
Knopf published Gaines’s fifth novel, A Gathering of Old Men, in 1983. Someone kills a white Cajun boss on a Louisiana plantation. When the lynch mob arrives to hang the black man they have decided is guilty, a group of elderly black men and a young white woman surround the accused and claim individual responsibility for the murder.
Harper Lee wrote To Kill a Mockingbird in 1960. Combining the themes of racial prejudice and a child’s perception of southern smalltown life, the story is about a reticent black man who is accused of rape, the man who defends him, and a nine-year-old girl who narrates the tale.
Written by Albert French in 1993, Billy chronicles the tragic tale of two black boys growing up in the 1930s who fight back when they are attacked and accidentally commit murder. Tenyear- old Billy is charged, tried as an adult, sentenced to death row, and electrocuted.