Dry September Part 2 Summary
Minnie Cooper is a year or two shy of 40. She lives with her mom and her aunt. In the mornings, wearing a lacy cap, she swings on her front-porch swing from 10 or 11am until noon. After that she gets dressed in one of several new summer dresses made of " voile" (2.1). Then it's downtown with the ladies for shopping, but no buying. Minnie's family was considered fairly high class, though not the highest class, in Jefferson. Minnie is somewhat attractive, thin, and almost "ordinary" looking (2.2). Her way of acting, moving, and dressing is described as "bright" and "haggard" (or worn out) (2.2). When she was younger her tough energy and slim body helped make her somewhat popular with the men in town. As the other people town grew older they realized that she wasn't on their same social level. The men ignored her and the women were mean. Around that time she started to look "bright" and "haggard" (2.2). She stopped going to parties when she heard some of her classmates talking about her. (We aren't given the details of their comments.) All her old friends got married, but no man seemed interested in her for long. At some point, Minnie started spending time with a bank teller, a widower, about 40 years old, who smelled like "the barber shop or of whiskey," and drove a red car (2.4). The town felt sorry for her. This was about twelve years ago. (Making Minnie 26 or 27 at the time.) At that time the town considered her relationship with the bank man "adultery" (2.5). About eight years ago the bank man moved to Memphis. He came home "one day each Christmas" to party with the boys (2.5). The people that lived near the party house would take notes, and tell Minnie about him, and about how well he was doing. She had started drinking by then. A young man who worked at a soda fountain buys whiskey for her. (Keep in mind that it wouldn't have been proper for a southern lady like Minnie to buy her own alcohol, especially considering that it was illegal to make, buy or sell alcohol in the early 1930s, when this story was published, and probably set.) Nowadays, Minnie's mom doesn't leave her room, and her aunt takes care of the house. She goes to the movies in the evening, with neighbor women, puts on one of her voile dresses, and walks around downtown, by herself. When she walks by men they don't watch her walk by like they used to.