Study Guide

Tee Jack in A Gathering of Old Men

By Ernest J. Gaines

Tee Jack

As up-close and personal as Gaines wants us to get with all of the ugliness he's showing us, he does occasionally let us off fairly easy. We might, for example, spend a little time inside the mind of a character like Clatoo or Lou Dimes, but we never really have to get into the head of a totally disgusting and unapologetic bigot. Not, that is, until the thirteenth chapter of the novel when we're introduced to Jack Thibeaux, otherwise known as "Tee Jack." 

The really gross thing about Tee Jack's racism is that it comes as naturally to him as breathing or blinking. Reading what Tee Jack has to say may make you want to lose your lunch, but Gaines wants us to understand that racism comes in all shapes and sizes. Tee Jack may not participate in the illegal violence that Luke and his buddies do, and he may not have any ties to the Ku Klux Klan, but he's still one bad, seriously-racist human being.