Boy Grier

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Boy Grier
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Grier, Boy
Lower Class
Date of Birth: 
Wednesday, March 1, 1933 to Friday, March 31, 1933
First Person

The Grier boy, the narrator of "Two Soldiers" whose first name is not provided, is the youngest of the two Grier children; he is "going on nine years old" (82), or as he puts it later, "eight and ten months" (98). He is a precocious fellow who is hell-bent on following his older brother to war in the Pacific after the Japanese have bombed Pearl Harbor. As he tells his brother, Pete, "You'll whup the big uns and I'll whup the little uns" (83). Although he never gives him a first name, Faulkner uses this character to narrate two additional stories, "Shingles for the Lord" and "Shall Not Perish."

What is most interesting about the Grier boy may be when he narrates. "Two Soldiers" was published in 1942, while it takes place shortly after Pearl Harbor--in late-December 1941 or early 1942. But the Grier boy is narrating from some unspecified time in the future, as the story is a recollection, beginning with "Me and Pete would go down to Old man Killegrew's and listen to his radio" (81). The turn of phrase "would go down" indicates a pattern, of something the boys once did but now no longer do. So he is in a sense reminiscing, which would be unusual for a 9-year old, and not something one does in real time (if, say, he was narrating shortly after the event). So the story, via the narrator, occupies a fluid temporal space where the narrator is both almost nine years old and somewhat older, simultaneously.
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