Henry Armstid

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Henry Armstid
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Armstid, Henry
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Henry Armstid, a subsistence farmer who lives in Frenchman's Bend, appears in two very different ways in seven different fictions. In As I Lay Dying, both the chapter he himself narrates and his actions reveal him to be generous, reliable and sane. In Light in August he displays the same traits as he helps Lena Grove on her journey. In his second appearance, however, in "Spotted Horses," he is a poor and foolish farmer who is both emotionally and physically abusive to his wife: in spite of her pleas, he squanders her hard-earned five dollars on one of the spotted horses, and then "hits her with the rope" he is trying to use to catch the animal (172). His actions in "Lizards in Jamshyd's Courtyard" are similarly desperate; there, and again in The Hamlet, he is last seen franctically digging in the dirt at the Old Frenchman's place looking for a treasure that isn't there. Later references to him emphasize this 'Armstid,' the poor man defined by what The Hamlet calls the "impotence and fury" of his hapless attempts to improve his life (372). His one wife appears in five of these texts under two different names, making it possible that Faulkner really is thinking of two different men named Armstid, but while that would resolve the contradictions in his character, it seems unlikely.