In Faulkner's short story "Shall Not Perish," why does Mother pick up the pistol?

Expert Answers

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles

In "Shall Not Perish," William Faulkner tells the story of how two families grieve after receiving word that their sons were killed in World War II. Mother's family takes one day to grieve because they have a farm to run that they need to focus on so it will continue to outlive them. They then receive word that another boy was killed, Major de Spain's son.

Mother and the narrating boy go to visit Major de Spain, who is struggling with his grief. When they arrive, they find him standing at the end of a table with a

Confederate flag spread over it and the photograph of Major de Spain's son and the open box with the medal in it and a big blue automatic pistol weighting down the flag.

Mother recognizes that Major de Spain may kill himself over the grief, and she advises him to just weep as she takes the pistol away until she can calm him down.

"Shall Not Perish" was William Faulkner's

(The entire section contains 2 answers and 507 words.)

Unlock This Answer Now

Start your 48-hour free trial to unlock this answer and thousands more. Enjoy eNotes ad-free and cancel anytime.

Start your 48-Hour Free Trial
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Posted on

An illustration of the letter 'A' in a speech bubbles
Approved by eNotes Editorial Team

Posted on