Unnamed Lynch Mob

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Unnamed Lynch Mob
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Unnamed Lynch Mob
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In Sanctuary within a few hours after Lee is convicted - formally for Tommy's murder, and in the minds of the townspeople for Temple's rape - the crowd that gathers in the Square turns into a lynch mob of "antic" figures who burn him to death (296). We see the confused scene through Horace's eyes. He registers running men, "panting shouts," a "circle" that has gathered around a "blazing mass" (295-96), but only one member of the mob is individualized: a man "carrying a five-gallon coal oil can" which explodes in his hands. Which members of the community participate in the lynching is not specified, nor does the narrative say anything about the town's larger reaction to the event, but when Horace arrives in Kinston the next day the taxi driver who takes him home says "they burned that fellow" approvingly: "We got to protect our girls" (298).

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