Date of Award

Spring 5-1996

Document Type


Degree Name

Honors College



First Advisor

Dr. Jo Ann Marx

Second Advisor

Dr. Rogers J. Newman

Third Advisor

Dr. Beverly Wade


In Catherine Carmi er and Of Love and Dust, Ernest J. Gaines presents a world many people have forgotten. Both of these novels, set on plantations in rural Louisiana, present race relations during the 1960s and 1970s. Initially, the novels present stable, tranquil African American communities where everyone is content with their status. The community members have given up important internal qualities such as courage, self-worth, and individualism, to maintain the community's tenuous equilibrium. However, one community member realizes one of the "taboo" qualities within himself and exhibits it freely. The community is shaken to their core as they are confronted with changes in their world. The people must decide whether they want to move with the changing world or remain in their past world. This conflict between unknown change and the familiar constant exposes the racism rooted in their world.