A Mercy

Willard Character Analysis

Willard is one of the indentured servants that belongs to the owner of a nearby cattle farm. Willard and his friend (and sometimes romantic partner) Scully often do work on the Vaark farm. Willard grew up working on a tobacco farm in Virginia before being sold up north. He was originally supposed to be indentured until he was 21, but a series of crimes and runaway attempts have extended his servitude far beyond that. Willard and Scully help Jacob build his new, enormous house. They then dig Jacob’s grave when he dies. Willard and Scully also help Sorrow deliver her baby. After Jacob’s death, Willard and Scully help Rebekka keep up the farm.

Willard Quotes in A Mercy

The A Mercy quotes below are all either spoken by Willard or refer to Willard. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Human Bondage, Wealth, and Humanity Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of A Mercy published in 2009.
Chapter 8 Quotes

Although all her life she had been saved by men— Captain, the sawyers’ sons, Sir and now Will and Scully— she was convinced that this time she had done something, something important, by herself.

Related Characters: Sorrow, Jacob Vaark, Willard, Scully
Page Number: 157
Explanation and Analysis:
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Chapter 10 Quotes

They once thought they were a kind of family because together they had carved companionship out of isolation. But the family they imagined they had become was false. Whatever each one loved, sought or escaped, their futures were separate and anyone’s guess.

Page Number: 183
Explanation and Analysis:
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Willard Character Timeline in A Mercy

The timeline below shows where the character Willard appears in A Mercy. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Chapter 1
Human Bondage, Wealth, and Humanity Theme Icon
Florens asks if the Blacksmith remembers how Will and Scully would not take orders from him until Jacob forced them to, since Will... (full context)
Chapter 3
Human Bondage, Wealth, and Humanity Theme Icon
Two male servants who occasionally work for the Vaarks, Will and Scully, dig Jacob’s grave, even though their master, a neighbor of the Vaarks, has... (full context)
Chapter 4
Human Bondage, Wealth, and Humanity Theme Icon
Willard and Scully, the indentured servants who sometimes work on the Vaark farm, stay away too.... (full context)
Human Bondage, Wealth, and Humanity Theme Icon
...is trying to finish his contract, hoping to be free before he is old like Willard. Scully inherited his state of bondage from his mother, who was sent to the colonies... (full context)
The Oppression of Women, Violence, and Female Community Theme Icon
Lina knows that Scully and Willard sleep together “when sleep was not the point,” meaning that they have sex. Lina thinks... (full context)
Chapter 8
The Oppression of Women, Violence, and Female Community Theme Icon
Motherhood, Heartbreak, and Salvation Theme Icon
...trust Lina to help her. Sorrow walks to the riverbank where she hopes to find Will and Scully on their raft, thinking that they could help her. Sorrow begins labor alone... (full context)
Chapter 10
Religion, Morality, and Otherness Theme Icon
Chapter 10 is told in limited third-person narrative from Willard and Scully’s perspectives. The chapter begins with Willard and Scully seeing a shadow near the... (full context)
Human Bondage, Wealth, and Humanity Theme Icon
According to the narrator, the residents of the Vaark farm are the closest thing either Willard or Scully has to family. Unlike Willard and Scully’s frequently absent owner, Jacob never yells... (full context)
Human Bondage, Wealth, and Humanity Theme Icon
The Oppression of Women, Violence, and Female Community Theme Icon
Willard and Scully help Rebekka repair the farm that ran wild during her illness. Rebekka pays... (full context)
The Oppression of Women, Violence, and Female Community Theme Icon
Religion, Morality, and Otherness Theme Icon
...She only cooks and mends, never doing yard work. Rebekka also frequently reads the Bible. Willard predicts that Rebekka will remarry soon. When Scully asks why, Willard tells him that she... (full context)
Motherhood, Heartbreak, and Salvation Theme Icon
...focused on and capable of doing chores. Her devotion to her child, though, comes first. Willard and Scully, who helped her deliver the baby, act like godfathers and offer to take... (full context)
Motherhood, Heartbreak, and Salvation Theme Icon
Land, Exploitation, and the American Pastoral Theme Icon
Willard and Scully had just returned that morning from a narrow escape with a bear while... (full context)
Human Bondage, Wealth, and Humanity Theme Icon
The narrator explains Willard’s background, stating that Willard was sold for seven years to a planter in Virginia, anticipating... (full context)
Human Bondage, Wealth, and Humanity Theme Icon
Religion, Morality, and Otherness Theme Icon
Willard’s social life improved even more when Jacob decided to build his house. Willard helped as... (full context)
Human Bondage, Wealth, and Humanity Theme Icon
Willard liked the Blacksmith until he realized that the Blacksmith was a free man getting paid... (full context)
The Oppression of Women, Violence, and Female Community Theme Icon
Willard understands how the Blacksmith charmed Florens. He comments to Scully that he “never saw anything... (full context)
The Oppression of Women, Violence, and Female Community Theme Icon
Although Scully joins Willard in mocking Sorrow, he also admires her. He thinks the look in her eyes is... (full context)
The Oppression of Women, Violence, and Female Community Theme Icon
...to run away, but he was prevented from doing so by a snowstorm. Scully and Willard tried to rescue the animals so they did not die of the cold. They snuggled... (full context)
Human Bondage, Wealth, and Humanity Theme Icon
The Oppression of Women, Violence, and Female Community Theme Icon
...would ever gain his freedom. But then Jacob died and Rebekka began paying him and Willard. Scully has quickly accumulated money. Scully tries to keep Rebekka happy so she will continue... (full context)
Human Bondage, Wealth, and Humanity Theme Icon
The Oppression of Women, Violence, and Female Community Theme Icon
Motherhood, Heartbreak, and Salvation Theme Icon
Land, Exploitation, and the American Pastoral Theme Icon
...sees nothing to unite them. Still, Scully imagines that, with his new wages, he and Willard may be able to make a future for themselves. (full context)
Chapter 11
The Oppression of Women, Violence, and Female Community Theme Icon
Motherhood, Heartbreak, and Salvation Theme Icon
Religion, Morality, and Otherness Theme Icon
Florens learns from Scully and Willard that Rebekka is going to sell her but keep Lina. Meanwhile, no one will take... (full context)