Study Guide

The Reivers Three-Act Plot Analysis

By William Faulkner

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Three-Act Plot Analysis

Act I

Lucius's grandfather passes away in St. Louis, and the family must go away to attend the funeral, leaving behind Lucius, Boon, and a new automobile. Boon entices Lucius to help him steal the car, and the two travel with a stowaway, Ned, to a brothel in Memphis. Much to his horror, Boon discovers that Ned has traded the car for a stolen racehorse that he intends to race for money to buy the car back. Not only does this not make any sense, but they also must smuggle the stolen racehorse onto a train car in order to evade the police forces that are probably out looking for the stolen horse.

Act II

Ned trains the horse and Lucius as jockey, but the horse loses one heat and is disqualified from two when it is pulled off the racetrack by a policeman named Butch and taken into custody along with Ned and Boon. We learn that Butch has his eye on Miss Corrie, a newly retired prostitute, and he is using the arrest as a way to force her into a sexual situation. She submits, and the now freed horse races again and wins. Only Grandfather Priest is watching from the sidelines of the racetrack.


Grandfather appears on the scene but is rather calm. Ned explains the situation and urges him to bet on the horse to win a second time. Grandfather does so, but the horses loses. Ned has not only fixed the race, but he has also bet against the horse and reaped the financial rewards. Grandfather explains to Lucius that the world abounds in sin and corruption. They all travel back up to Jefferson, where Boon and Miss Corrie marry and have a son named Lucius Priest Hogganbeck.


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