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Literary Qualities of A Gathering of Old Men by Ernest Gaines

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Literary Qualities

Since his fiction often follows patterns typical of books intended for young adult readers, and since Gaines's works are frequently read in junior high school and high school, particularly The Autobiography of Miss Jane Pittman, one might think that Gaines consciously writes for adolescents, much as Judy Blume does, but this is not the case. Gaines is, however, a consciously realistic writer who is interested in the probable actions of characters faced with dilemmas of development similar to those adolescents face. The basic dilemma of the old black men in A Gathering of Old Men is whether to conform to the status quo: If the old men conform, their lives are worthless; if they assert themselves, they might lose their lives. Is this not similar to the choices adolescents must make about drugs, joining gangs, and having sex?

All are dilemmas with consequences, choices with costs, and Gaines...

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This section contains 478 words
(approx. 2 pages at 300 words per page)
Purchase our A Gathering of Old Men Study Guide
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A Gathering of Old Men from BookRags and Gale's For Students Series. ©2005-2006 Thomson Gale, a part of the Thomson Corporation. All rights reserved.
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