"Dry September" is a short story by William Faulkner. Published in 1931, it describes a lynch mob forming (despite ambiguous evidence) on a hot September evening to avenge an alleged (and unspecified) insult or attack upon a white woman by a black watchman, Will Mayes. Told in five parts, the story includes the perspective of the rumored female victim, Miss Minnie Cooper, and of the mob's leader, John McLendon. It is one of Faulkner's shorter stories. It was originally published in Scribner's magazine, and later appeared in collections of his short stories. It includes an appearance by Hawkshaw, the barber who was the focus of Faulkner's later story, "Hair" Dry September
Summary of Part I
The narrator of "Dry September" is omniscient, but uses the point of view of an observer. Therefore, details about the characters and the action are revealed as if the reader were a viewer of the scene with no prior knowledge of the circumstances. The first paragraph sets the scene in a stifling barber shop, makes clear the troubling truth: "none of them... knew exactly what had happened." The following conversation, between Hawkshaw the barber, a second barber, Butch, the drummer, a second client, and an ex-soldier who is also referred to as "third speaker," makes this fact incredibly clear. The men argue over whether the details of the story matter, and Hawkshaw, who at this point is only referred to as "the barber," emerges as a defendant of Will Mayes. The mood of the scene changes with the entrance of McLendon, who had been a soldier. He asks, "Are you going to sit tehre and let a black son rape a white woman on the streets of Jefferson?" By using the word "rape," he assumes the worst about the rumors of a crime, and riles up the other men. Butch jumps up to agree with him, but other men remain skeptical. However, McLendon squashes the questions of one of the clients with the following point: "Happen? What the hell difference does it make? Are you going to let the black...
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