Analysis of Dry September

Topics: William Faulkner, Short story, Fiction Pages: 3 (1331 words) Published: April 22, 2012
Analysis of Dry September
Dry September, a short story by author William Faulkner, is a short look at the typical characters of the Southern States, such as is usually seen in those of Faulkner’s works, which involves the fictional county, known as “Yoknapatawpha”. The city is a written picture of what might have been a great part of Faulkner’s own life, which he spent in Oxford, Mississippi. Told from the perspective of a semi all-knowing, observing narrator (Only briefly brushing inner thoughts), we are told rumors, descriptions and details throughout the story, letting us understand the story without any prior knowledge to any of the characters, including a central point of the story; a rumor, which involves a black man (Will Mayes) allegedly raping a white woman in her late thirties (Miss Minnie Cooper). Faulkner uses the story to bring up issues of his time, such as racism and violence – Through the rough, dry conversations and the direct confrontations in ideals; he attempts to put the racial standings of society on show, so that we might better understand the tension between black and white people. We are thrown right into the middle of things, on a dry September evening, as the twilight is setting. The story immediately sets the scene, the main plot point; the alleged rape, as well as the fact that no one knows exactly what transpired – as can be seen in the intro “None of them … knew exactly what had happened” Despite this, though, it is immediately made clear, that accusations are being thrown around. The story mainly centers itself on three characters, the first being a barber by the name of Hawkshaw, “a man of middle age; a thin, sand-colored man with a mild face…” who we meet, as he is siding with Will Mayes’ part of the story, stating that “He’s a good nigger.” We follow Hawkshaw as he attempts to warn and afterwards help Will Mayes escape from the gang of white people, led by McLendon, that are out to kill him. In the end he gives up, proving...
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