In this story, written as the U.S. is on the verge of entering World War II, Faulkner returns to the MacCallum home in northeast Yoknapatawpha, though again this time MacCallum is spelled McCallum. The sons of the family are now two decades older than in Flags in the Dust (1929) but still the embodiment of the best masculine traditions of an older South. Their father, the patriarch who fought with Stonewall Jackson in the Civil War and built the family home, is now named "Old Anse" rather than Virginius; he has been dead for fifteen years. His father is here not mentioned, but his mother is: she is identified as originally a Carter from Virginia, an origin adds some luster to the family's caste status. Instead of the two wives the partriarch has had in Flags, here he was only married once - though again this woman is dead. There is a new generation: the youngest of the sons, Buddy, has twin sons of his own - and another dead wife. These issue around which the story revolves concerns these new twins and the imminent war. The story is told from the perspective of an outsider who at first generalizes about the family as shiftless country people. With his own eyes, and some expository help from the county sheriff, he is brought to realize the virtues that make this family of men so "tall," and - the story implicitly suggests - readers are shown how in times of crisis like the present, when America needs heroes, it can count on the traditional South to produce them. Curiously, while five of the sons from Flags are present - Jackson, Lee, Rafe, Stuart and Buddy - there is no mention of Henry, the second son who keeps house for the family in the earlier novel In that text Henry is described as "womanish." Perhaps Faulkner wanted to eliminate any hint of effeminacy from this later version of the family.

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McCallums in The Tall Men
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Affiliated Characters

Anse McCallum - "The Tall Men"
Buddy McCallum - "The Tall Men"
Jackson McCallum - "The Tall Men"
Lee McCallum - "The Tall Men"
Lucius McCallum - "The Tall Men"
Mrs. Anse McCallum - "The Tall Men"
Mrs. Buddy McCallum - "The Tall Men"
Mrs. Carter McCallum - "The Tall Men"
Old Anse McCallum - "The Tall Men"
Rafe McCallum - "The Tall Men"
Stuart McCallum - "The Tall Men"