Study Guide

The Deputies in A Gathering of Old Men

By Ernest J. Gaines

The Deputies

Mapes isn't alone, but he may as well be. His deputies—Griffin, Hilly, and Russell—sure don't seem to be around much, and Griffin is pretty much just as racist as Luke and his buddies. Griffin just happens to wear a badge. By the end of the novel, Russell is nowhere in sight, Griffin has quit, Hilly's been ambushed and knocked unconscious, and Luke Will's gang are caught up in a firefight with the old men out at Mathu's place. All of that is just Gaines's way of saying that the problems racism creates are incredibly powerful. Powerful enough, that is, to render the law and order that Mapes and his deputies are supposed to represent null and void.