The barber, Henry Hawkshaw, is the voice of reason who asserts Will Mayes’s innocence. That he is white, but unlike the townspeople he still argues in favour of a black man helps complicate the larger picture of race. Through him Faulkner suggests that even in the deeply racist South, there are still a few white men who will stand by reason and morality. The author does this not to downplay racism but to present a more complex understanding of race relations. In addition, he suggests, through Hawkshaw, how one deliberately does not pay heed to one’s conscience.