In Gaines’s “A Gathering of Old Men,” Johnny Paul finds himself reminiscing about an
old memory when he notes:
Thirty, forty of us going out in the field with cane knives, hoes, plows—name it. Sunup to sundown, hard, miserable work, but we managed to get it done. We stuck together, shared what little we had, and loved and respected each other (91-92).
This memory encompasses a past that Johnny will never be able to physically feel
again. The possibility of comforting aspects in his memory returning to stay are