Study Guide

Beau Boutan in A Gathering of Old Men

By Ernest J. Gaines

Beau Boutan

You can make the argument that there wouldn't be a novel if there was no Beau Boutan. Of course, there's already no Beau Boutan from the very beginning of the novel, because Beau Boutan is… dead. Every bit as mean and nasty as his daddy, Beau's murder is the result of a whole lot of frustration and some long and painful history that affects every person of color living around the Marshall Plantation, as well as some of the folks living beyond its borders. We don't want to say that Beau had it coming, but as awful as he and his family have been to the Black community in those parts, it could have been a whole lot worse for the Boutans, that's for sure.