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Dry September

Dry September


by William Faulkner

Dry September Part 3 Summary

  • Hawkshaw, the barber, walks rapidly up the dark, dusty street. He finds McLendon and three other guys. They are about to get into a car.
  • McLendon asks Hawkshaw if he's ready to help them now.
  • Hawkshaw tries to convince them that Will is innocent, and that sometimes women think things that aren't true, especially women like Minnie Cooper.
  • The ex-soldier from the barbershop tells Hawkshaw that they just want to have a chat with Will.
  • McLendon says they'll be doing more than talking, imply that they plan to use violence.
  • The second car of men passes, and McLendon, at the wheel begins to follow them. (Apparently Hawkshaw is in the car.)
  • They drive out of town, onto a potholed road, in the dust and dark, until they reach the ice manufacturing plant where Will Mayes works as a night watchman.
  • They stop some distance from the plant.
  • Hawkshaw tells them that Will being at work proves his innocence. If the man were guilty of raping Minnie, he would probably have left town.
  • The second car arrives.
  • Since the car lights are off, everything is dark (and dusty).
  • Butch and McLendon get out of the car, and the sound of their feet on the gravel can be heard.
  • McLendon calls out for Will.
  • The moon is more visible. We are told that "the wan hemorrhage of the moon increased" (3.14).
  • All is completely quiet. Everything is hot and dry.
  • Sounds of struggle and cursing are heard after some time. One voice can be hear whispering, "Kill him, kill the black son" (3.16).
  • Will is pulled to the car.
  • Hawkshaw stands outside the car, getting nauseous.
  • Will asks the men what the problem is.
  • He is handcuffed and he looks at the faces of the men.
  • Addressing John McLendon, Will asks what he's been accused of. He swears to God he hasn't committed any crimes.
  • McLendon yells, "Get in!" (presumably addressing everybody) (3.20).
  • He hits Will.
  • The other men begin hitting him.
  • Will fights back with the handcuffs (referred to here as "manacles"), hitting Hawkshaw in the mouth (3.20).
  • Henry hits Will, too.
  • Will stops fighting it and gets into the car.
  • On one side of him is Hawkshaw, and on the other, the soldier.
  • Butch is on the "running board" (3.20).
  • (Click here for a picture of some guys standing on a running board.)
  • They drive past town, with the other car behind them.
  • The soldier says that Will smells bad.
  • The stranger (from Part 1) says that a solution to the problem is forthcoming. He's sitting in the front with McLendon.
  • (It will help later if we take stock of who is where in the car. There are three men in the back seat: Hawkshaw, Will, and the ex-soldier. Two men are in the front: McLendon and the stranger. A sixth man, Butch, is outside the car, on the running board.)
  • Suddenly Hawkshaw asks to be let out of the car.
  • McLendon calls him a "niggerlover" and tells him to take a leap if he wants out (3.26).
  • When McLendon turns onto a thin road, Hawkshaw asks again, and McLendon tells him to go for it, again.
  • Now Will tries to speak to Hawkshaw, calling him "Mr. Henry," twice (3.29, 30).
  • Hawkshaw has kicked open the door, and jumped from the running board.
  • The car speeds on…
  • Hawkshaw is in a dusty ditch.
  • He waits until car number two has passed, and then he begins to walk toward town.
  • The moon is high above the dust now.
  • Soon Hawkshaw sees the town.
  • When he hears cars, he hides.
  • McLendon's car comes after the other car this time. There are four only four people in it now.
  • Let's recap who is where in the car. We started with six men in the car. When Hawkshaw jumps, we are left five guys. Now there are four.
  • We know one of them is McLendon, because he's driving.
  • So, Butch, the soldier, the stranger, or Will Mayes is missing. Keep this in mind as you read the rest of the story.
  • The car drives on in the dust.
  • Hawkshaw continues walking to town, injured slightly from his jump.

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