Dry September

by

William Faulkner

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Minnie Cooper Character Analysis

Minnie Cooper is an unmarried white woman in her late thirties who may or may not have been sexually assaulted by a black man, Will Mayes. There is no proof that anything happened between the two, and some people in Jefferson doubt her story, as this is not the first time she has had a “man-scare.” Minnie has been virtually abandoned by this society, due to her low class and lack of a husband. Though she was attractive as a young girl, she but was passed over by the boys in town in favor of women with a higher social status. She briefly dated the clerk at the local bank, but that did not end well, as he moved to Memphis without Minnie. After that, she settled in with her aging mother and aunt, and had little to do to occupy her time. According to others in Jefferson, Minnie drank whiskey on a regular basis and had accused a man of watching her undress, both of which are seen as desperate attempts to attract attention. The rumor involving Will Mayes makes Minnie the center of attention, whether or not that was her intent in the first place.

Minnie Cooper Quotes in Dry September

The Dry September quotes below are all either spoken by Minnie Cooper or refer to Minnie Cooper. 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:
Vigilante Justice Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of Dry September published in 2015.
Part 1 Quotes

“Except it wasn't Will Mayes,” a barber said. He was a thin, sand-colored man with a mild face, who was shaving a client. “I know Will Mayes. He's a

good nigger. And I know Miss Minnie Cooper, too.”

Related Characters: Henry Hawkshaw (speaker), Will Mayes, Minnie Cooper
Page Number: 169
Explanation and Analysis:

“It's this durn weather,” another said. “It's enough to make a man do anything.”

Related Characters: Will Mayes, Minnie Cooper
Related Symbols: Heat
Page Number: 170
Explanation and Analysis:

“Well,” he said, “are you going to sit there and let a black son rape a white woman on the streets of Jefferson?”

Related Characters: John McLendon (speaker), Will Mayes, Minnie Cooper
Page Number: 171
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 2 Quotes

Then the town began to say: “Poor Minnie.” “But she is old enough to take care of herself,” others said.

Related Characters: Minnie Cooper
Page Number: 174
Explanation and Analysis:
Part 4 Quotes

“Do you feel strong enough to go out?” they said, their eyes bright too, with a dark glitter. “When you have had time to get over the shock, you must tell us what happened. What he said and did; everything.”

Related Characters: Will Mayes, Minnie Cooper
Page Number: 180
Explanation and Analysis:

“That's the one: see? The one in pink in the middle.” “Is that her? What did they do with the nigger? Did they?” “Sure. He's all right.” “All right, is he?” “Sure. He went on a little trip.”

Related Characters: Will Mayes, Minnie Cooper
Page Number: 180-181
Explanation and Analysis:

“Do you see?” the friends said. Their voices sounded like long, hovering sighs of hissing exultation. “There's not a Negro on the square. Not one.”

Related Characters: Will Mayes, Minnie Cooper
Page Number: 181
Explanation and Analysis:
Get the entire Dry September LitChart as a printable PDF.
Dry September PDF

Minnie Cooper Character Timeline in Dry September

The timeline below shows where the character Minnie Cooper appears in Dry September. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
Part 1
Rumor, Reputation, and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
...gathered in a barber shop in—the air stale—discuss the rumor, linking a local white woman, Minnie Cooper, with a black man named Will Mayes. (full context)
Vigilante Justice Theme Icon
Rumor, Reputation, and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Racism  Theme Icon
...plan of action, even as one client wonders aloud whether anything happened at all—after all, Minnie has had a “man scare” before. McLendon promptly dismisses this, insisting it doesn’t make a... (full context)
Part 2
Gender and Class Theme Icon
Minnie Cooper is 38 or 39 years old and single, living in a small house with... (full context)
Gender and Class Theme Icon
As a pretty young woman, Minnie was invited to social events for a while, until her social group became more aware... (full context)
Rumor, Reputation, and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Gender and Class Theme Icon
Minnie began to ride around town with an older widower who worked as a cashier at... (full context)
Gender and Class Theme Icon
...years have passed since that romance, and people in town have begun to notice that Minnie started drinking whiskey during the daytime. She gets the alcohol from the soda fountain clerk,... (full context)
Part 4
Rumor, Reputation, and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Gender and Class Theme Icon
On the same night as Will Mayes’s abduction, Minnie Cooper dresses to go out. She is trembling, feverish and nervous, and her friends come... (full context)
Rumor, Reputation, and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Racism  Theme Icon
As the women walk down the street, Minnie is at the center of the group, and has to breathe deeply to control her... (full context)
Rumor, Reputation, and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Minnie and her friends enter the movie theater and take their seats. The theater is “like... (full context)
Rumor, Reputation, and Hypocrisy Theme Icon
Minnie’s friends bring her home in a taxi, fan her, rub ice on her to calm... (full context)