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Dry September Essay

1185 words - 5 pages

Jeremy Nitta
AP English


Often it hurts to see someone trying desperately to fit into a group or society. We rarely see them succeed, and it pains us to watch them make fools of themselves trying. Such was the case of Minnie Cooper in William Faulkner's Dry September. We watch her as she attempts to fit in too late in life, which causes the townspeople to feel pity for her. And by reading through the story, we see that the narrator is most likely one of these townspeople who feel sorrow for Minnie. However, we realize that the narrator is not a person close to Minnie, but actually just a person who has seen her through her life, and is actually ...view middle of the document...

" (ln. 38) This suggests to us that even though they still have worries for Minnie, they view her slightly more as a burden that they have to watch out for, rather than as a friend. In addition, when the narrator is talking about Minnie in her older years, the narrator tells us about how people often see Minnie at the bar, and how people would buy her a drink, saying "I reckon she's entitled to a little fun." (ln. 52) The act of buying someone a drink is usually a sign of interest, but the fact that she is referred to as "the old gal" (ln. 52) suggests to us that it is actually more of an act of pity for Minnie, and that it's probably done more out of habit, rather than as a friendly act. Lastly, the narrator refers to Minnie by her name only four times in the entire passage. More often, the narrator simply refers to Minnie as "she" or "her," which suggests that she has lost the respect of her peers, and they no longer feel the need to refer to her by name, except when they demonstrated some form of remorse for her.

The passage's diction, as well as Faulkner's close detail to certain things also is essential to the narrator's characterization of Minnie Cooper's life. In the first paragraph, it mentions that Minnie often wore a "boudoir cap" (ln. 4) in public. This close detail reveals a connection to the point that the narrator is trying to push across: that Minnie is trying too late to improve her image and become attractive. A boudoir cap is usually something that women would wear while in bed, or just after awakening, and not something you would wear in the open. However, it was extremely popular in those times, so it could represent the fact that Minnie was trying to fit in. Also, Faulkner specifically notes that Minnie requests that the children of her classmates call her "cousin" instead of "aunty" (ln. 40). This shows us two things about Minnie. The first is that she is growing old, so much that her friends all have children, and also that she is conscious of this and is trying to make herself appear younger by calling herself cousin. Lastly, Faulkner indirectly shows us the age of her friends' children. It says in the last paragraph that her "cousins" (ln. 59) are already hanging out with boys and are...

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