Thus, for Clough, the deputy "finds Rider's actions irrational and meaningless" (402) because "he himself lives in a home with a warmthless
hearth and a warmthless
wife of 'choleric' disposition, and this domestic distance translates accordingly into interpretive distance" (402).
Many of Faulkner's white "homes and hearths" prove curiously warmthless, unhomely, and claustrophobic; the house of the mob leader McLendon in "Dry September," a "birdcage" in which he beats his wife (182), offers an extreme but not untypical example.
A warmthless home life haunts each of these solitary men, who seem fated to die early, leaving a single heir, and whose wives die earlier still, with a regularity that is tantamount to a family curse.
In striking contrast to these warmthless white hearths, then, are the warm black hearths of Lucas and Molly Beauchamp in "The Fire and the Hearth" and of Rider and Mannie in "Pantaloon in Black"; indeed, when Rider lights their cabin's hearth fire on their wedding day, and keeps it burning constantly thereafter, he does so in conscious emulation of Lucas and Molly (104).