Study Guide

Rooster in A Gathering of Old Men

By Ernest J. Gaines

Rooster

With a nickname like Rooster, you'd expect Albert Jackson to do a whole lot of crowing and strutting, but he's one of the quietest characters in the novel, all things considered. Still, he gets his very own chapter, and we learn a couple of really important things. It's Rooster who tells us all about the old men's reaction to the news that Fix isn't looking for revenge. Even more importantly—and we mean, like, this is super-important—Rooster clues us in on the fact that the old men have all been taking turns reloading their shotguns with live ammo, right under the noses of every white authority figure there. 

In a way, his name kind of makes sense, because (in the country and on the farm) a rooster is an animal that's supposed to get people to wake up and open their eyes. Rooster's words open our eyes to a pretty important plot development, because those shotguns are going to get some serious use before the novel's over.