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The Stricken World in “Dry September” William Faulkner’s “Dry September” is regarded as a documentary about racism in the Deep South around 1930. The study of this story has been focused on the injustice of racism. But at the same time, the short story’s narrative structure which revolves around a Southern woman’s thwarted subjectivity indicates that the issue of gender is also essential to understanding this story. In this short story divided into five sections, Faulkner shows townspeople’s psychology stifled by sixty-two days of merciless and bloody heat and “drouth,” the town’s reaction to the rumor that Miss Minnie Cooper was raped by Will Mayes, Miss Minnie’s personal history life, and John McLendon’s home life. Mayes, an innocent black man, embodies the helpless image of a scapegoat which the racial myth of the South projects onto black people. Through the lynching and the murder of a black man, McLendon and his fellows reaffirm the racial myth. When Henry Hawkshaw is hit by the black man with his manacled hands, he strikes back. Hawkshaw’s immediate reaction implies how strict the racial code is, even to those who try to help the black people. The violence is caused by Minnie’s allegation which is based on her sexual frustration and pointless life. The pent-up tension of the Southern white woman leads to a false story about sexual assault.


The Stricken World in “Dry September” William Faulkner’s “Dry September” is regarded as a documentary about racism in the Deep South around 1930. The study of this story has been focused on the injustice of racism. But at the same time, the short story’s narrative structure which revolves around a Southern woman’s thwarted subjectivity indicates that the issue of gender is also essential to understanding this story. In this short story divided into five sections, Faulkner shows townspeople’s psychology stifled by sixty-two days of merciless and bloody heat and “drouth,” the town’s reaction to the rumor that Miss Minnie Cooper was raped by Will Mayes, Miss Minnie’s personal history life, and John McLendon’s home life. Mayes, an innocent black man, embodies the helpless image of a scapegoat which the racial myth of the South projects onto black people. Through the lynching and the murder of a black man, McLendon and his fellows reaffirm the racial myth. When Henry Hawkshaw is hit by the black man with his manacled hands, he strikes back. Hawkshaw’s immediate reaction implies how strict the racial code is, even to those who try to help the black people. The violence is caused by Minnie’s allegation which is based on her sexual frustration and pointless life. The pent-up tension of the Southern white woman leads to a false story about sexual assault.