Henry Hawkshaw|Stribling

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Henry Hawkshaw|Stribling
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Hawkshaw|Stribling, Henry
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Henry Hawkshaw first appears in "Dry September." He is a Jefferson barber, described as "a man of middle age; a thin, sand-colored man with a mild face" (169). He serves as the point of view through which the story's racial violence is presented. He tries to defend Will Mayes' character against the white men who want to lynch him, and even drives with them hoping to prevent the lynching, but in the end only 'saves' himself or at least his sensibility. When he re-appears in "Hair," his liberal sensibilities are again put into action, this time romantically. In this short story "Hawkshaw" is a nickname; he legal name is Henry Stribling. According to the narrator, the first time he saw him, Hawkshaw looked "forty years old" and "a bachelor born" (137); at the end of the story it's thirteen years later, though Gavin Stevens says Hawkshaw is still "not much over forty-five" (147), and he's married. He is the son of a tenant farmer and seems quiet, church-going, and focused on his barbering. He claims to have come from Birmingham; the narrator, on the other hand, agrees with Maxey's opinion that he "looked like he might have come from almost anywhere in Alabama except Birmingham" - which implies his rural origins (141). As we later discover, he's "a hard-worker" (138) who kept his word to pay off the mortgage on the Starneses' house. After the death of his fiancee, Sophie Starnes, he leads an itinerant life until he meets Susan Reed, a girl the rest of the town has decided is "bad" (147).

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