Character Sketch of Henry Hawkshaw in Dry September

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.

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