Last Updated 20 Jun 2022

Dry September by William Faulkner

Category Abuse, Books, Morality
Words 512 (2 pages)
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William Faulkner was born on September 25, 1897, in North Albany, Mississippi. He was Nobel Prize winner in 1950 for literature and one of the great southern writers who narrated the traditions and chauvinism of his own regional culture to describe his novels and short stories. The characters in his work are memorable forever. “Dry September” is a short story, written by him in 1931, composed in five parts. “Dry September,” is dealt about the life of white woman’s unconvinced blame of abuse against a black man and the prejudiced reaction of the townsmen.

The story is about the events connected the murder of Will Mayes but the actual events of murder is not well mentioned to divert the attention of a reader towards the causes of violence psychologically as well as physical torture. George Marion O’Donnell calls Faulkner “a really traditional moralist, in the best sense” . In this story Minnie Cooper was neglected by the society and her feelings about her womanhood affected her psychologically, rather than the murder of Will Mayes.

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Faulkner mentioned the words like "lifeless", "breathless", and "dry" to symbolize the neglected value of Miss Minnie's in society because her sexual life is considered as dead. Faulkner narrates the view of Minnie's motive so unfair to the character of Will Mayes. In “Dry September” the townspeople, particularly Minnie Cooper and McLendon, give such importance to Will Mayes’s race than the quality of his moral character. This failure to understanding by other human beings was one of the major events connected to the death of Will Mayes.

Miss Minnie Cooper was psychologically tortured by the society and finds it difficult to accept herself that what the society thinks about her. Ferguson asserts that Faulkner’s greatest stories—“Dry September” among them— “always deal with this fundamental human truth” . When her friend's children call her 'aunty' she objects and likes to being called as cousin. She wants to change their impression of her and she wants to be liked by them. As like Will Mayes was murdered in spite of his innocence, Minnie is disgraced from the society even though she did not made any mistake.

Volpe says, “the characters in Faulkner's southern society are drawn from three social levels: the aristocrats, the townspeople, and the Negroes” . Early southern society was well known for the great importance of woman's purity. An unmarried woman was supposed as pure. In this story, Faulkner narrated the role of Miss Minnie Cooper in "Dry September" as a spinster. This story is a devasting critique of the southern stories that dealt with the lives of women. The story presents Faulkner's analysis of societal supremacy based on gender.

Narrating the southern society this story is a mixture of past and present events to portray the motivation of characters. Hence it remained as a critique of southern society. References: Ferguson, James. Faulkner’s Short Fiction. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press, 1991. O’Donnell, George Marion. “Faulkner’s Mythology. ” Faulkner: 4 Decades of Critcism. Ed. Linda Welshimer Wagner. Michigan State University Press, 1973. Volpe, Edmond. A Reader's Guide to William Faulkner. New York: Octagon, 1974.

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