Firstly, it's important to bear in mind that William Faulkner's short stories take place in the fictional county of Yoknapatawpha (Northern Mississippi). It's also important to stress that Faulkner lived the greater part of his life in the town of Oxford, Mississippi, which clearly served as his model for the fictional Jefferson (where most of his short stories take place).
Faulkner's family lived the prosperous decades of Mississippi. However, after the war broke out, they went through a very critical time. Faulkner meditated on the story of his family, as well as on his own, and made use of it to create his fiction.
"Dry September" is a story in which he deals with very polemic issues, such as racism, violence, and the position of women in society. This story opens our eyes to several problems that affect our society, as well as to the question of prejudice, which is inherent in all human beings.
The story revolves around a rumor that a black man called Will Mayes had raped Miss Minnie Cooper - a white unmarried woman in her late thirties: "... it had gone like a fire in dry grass - the rumor, the story, whatever it was.". Being Jefferson a small town, rumors fly like fire in a dry field.
The conflict is presented to us at the very beginning. The first scene of the story takes place in a barbershop where some white men are having a fiery discussion about what had allegedly happened to Minnie Cooper. It's through this discussion that we find out what to expect from the story.
One of the barbers tries to calm the angry men down and to convince them that Will Mayes is incapable of doing such a terrible thing, but he is accused of being a...