But even though Colonel Sartoris and Drusilla are on the admirable side, to a contemporary reader their conduct in the election seems shocking and dishonorable. The novel expects us to applaud when the Burdens are murdered—they are Northern meddlers who are prevented from imposing their own alien values on the community. But by today's standards, the community's values are dead wrong. It is not just that they are outsiders that upsets the townsmen, but that they believe in racial equality: Colonel Sartoris tells the Burdens that the election must not be held with Cassius Benbow "or any other nigger" involved. The implication is that the town's racial problems are the Burdens' fault, for stirring up agitation among local blacks—that left alone, "good" blacks like Louvinia and Joby would not try to exceed their place. The successful re-oppression of Jefferson's black population is held up as a triumph and a proud achievement of Colonel Sartoris. At moments like this, the novel reveals its limits—unlike Faulkner's greatest, most humane fiction, it cannot transcend the prejudice and provincialism of its time and place.