Susan Reed

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Susan Reed
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Reed, Susan
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Susan Reed is an orphan who is taken care of by the Burchett family in "Hair"; possibly she is their niece or cousin, but the narrator hints that she may be the illegitimate child of either Mr. or Mrs. Burchett. We first encounter her as a "thin little girl," "about five" years old, with "big scared eyes," and "straight, soft hair, not blonde and not brunette" (131). Once she reaches adolescence, however, her innocent look disappears and she becomes promiscuous, with "flimsy off-color clothes" and a "face watchful and bold and discreet all at once" (135). She starts "using rouge and paint" (134), drops out of school, and, according to narrator, sleeps with "schoolboys, married men, anybody" (135) - making her a minor member of the gallery of sexually active young women who appear in Faulkner's early fiction. Unlike the rest of them, however, she ends up married and, we can hope, living happily ever after. Although Susan does not say anything in the story, she and her "hair" are a major part of Hawkshaw's story.

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