Study Guide

Dry September Society and Class

By William Faulkner

Society and Class

The men rose. (1.44)

Doesn't look like much of a quote, but this is the moment that defines Will's fate. The men in the barber shop begin to rise to join McLendon. What does this have to do with society and class? Well, the men in the barber shop are all white men, and they decide the fate of a black men. This shows us class divisions set up along racial lines, and a society where one group is dominated by another.

[Minnie] was of comfortable people – not the best in Jefferson, but good people enough […]. (2.2)

Part 2 strongly suggests that Minnie is rejected by her wealthier schoolmates when they begin to be conscious of that they are of higher class than she. The story doesn't state whether this class difference is based in economic factors only, or whether there is some other issues involved.

The lights flicked away; the screen glowed silver, and soon life began to unfold.

Having the time and money for daily movie watching is an indication of class. Even though the story suggests that Minnie isn't as well off as many other people in town, she doesn't work, or do anything to support herself. As a result, her life seems unreal, and the movies seem real. In some ways her class position hinders her growth as a person.

It was trim and fresh as a birdcage and almost as small, with its clean, green and white paint. (5.1)

McLendon's house is described as pretty on the outside, terrible on the inside. The size of the house suggests that he is off a lower economic class than Minnie, and that he lives a cramped, struggling life, a parody of the American Dream.