Study Guide

The Reivers Coming of Age

By William Faulkner

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Coming of Age

Eleven-year-old Lucius Priest's adventures with his friend Boon indoctrinate him into a world of sex, corruption, and rock 'n' roll (okay, more like ragtime). In other words, he enters adulthood, a reality that before his trip with Boon was far off on the horizon.

Part of what makes Lucius's narration of The Reivers so enlightening is the fact that he's telling the tale from the vantage point of an adult looking back. He inserts a kind of analysis and wisdom about growing up that can only come with the hindsight available with age. His choosing to tell us about his life back then, and how it shaped him into the adult he is now, reveals that the adventure told in this novel marks a turning point in his life. It's how he came of age.

Questions About Coming of Age

  1. How does Lucius change over the course of the novel?
  2. What role does Boon play in Lucius's transformation? What role does Ned play? What about Miss Corrie?
  3. How does the story's narration style help to convey the theme of coming of age?
  4. Is Lucius the only character who comes of age? Does Boon grow up, too?

Chew on This

Lucius is more of an adult than the actual adults around him because he thinks things through and does not make impulsive decisions.

Compared to the actual adults around him, Lucius is still a child of eleven who has a lot of growing up to do.


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