Study Guide

The Reivers Chapter 3

By William Faulkner

Chapter 3

  • Lucius is working in Grandfather's bank when Boon enters to tell him that his other grandfather has died and that his family will be leaving to attend the funeral in St. Louis. He says that he has a plan, and that they need to leave quickly.
  • Whoa, what? Let's sort this one out.
  • Boon says he doesn't have time to explain, but he needs Lucius's help to steal Grandfather's car in order to drive to Memphis.
  • Lucius finds himself in a bind, spewing pages of monologues about lies, innocence, and virtue.
  • Lucius says, "If Non-virtue still wanted either of us, it was now her move. Which she did" (3.50-51)
  • In the end, Non-virtue takes its hold on Lucius, as it does for Doctor Faustus, and he agrees to help Boon. We guess the call to adventure was just too enticing.
  • Boon and Lucius watch the family depart on the train bound for St. Louis, and then they make the necessary preparations to leave town that same hour.
  • For a split second, Lucius has the opportunity to run and abandon Boon. But Non-virtue wins out in the end when an unforeseen distraction, in the form of his cousin returning to town, makes their getaway all too easy. So we guess Lucius has no choice but to continue on with the journey.
  • Lucius and Boon barely get ten miles from town when Boon smells something stinky and lifts up a tarpaulin which had filled the back of the car.
  • And what do Lucius and Boon find? Er, rather, who do they find? Why, none other than Ned McCaslin, Lucius's black relative, who works on Grandfather's farm but has no claim to any property or inheritance because of his race.
  • "I wants a trip too," Ned says. "Hee hee hee" (3.77).
  • All righty, then.

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