Jefferson Cemetery (Location Key)

Display Label: 
Jefferson Cemetery

The public cemetery on the edge of Jefferson is one of the busiest places in Faulkner's imagination. Both his first Yoknapatawpha novel, Flags in the Dust, and (almost three decades later) the second volume in the Snopes Trilogy, The Town, basically end there. This is the cemetery to which Benjy Compson is being taken - though he does not get there - at the end of Faulkner's second Yoknapatawpha novel, The Sound and the Fury, and to which the Bundren family are taking the body of Addie through most of the third one, As I Lay Dying. Altogether it appears in eight novels and four short stories. It is landscaped with "pointed cedars and doves and serene marble shapes" (Flags in the Dust, 173) - or as the narrator of "A Rose for Emily" puts it, it is "cedar-bemused" (Collected Stories, 119). It seems entirely non-denominational; even Yankee soldiers are buried there, alongside Confederate ones. On the other hand, like almost everything in Yoknapatawpha, it is racially segregated. For example, the deceased members of the Sartoris family lie together around the imposing statue of Colonel John in the cemetery's "whitefolks section," but the head of the family that lives with the Sartorises for generations and serves them as slaves and then servants is buried in "the negro ground" outside "the cemetery proper"; his grave is marked by "tedious rows of broken gaudy bits of crockery and colored glass" (Flags, 396-97). On the tombstones are many of the county's most "august names" (Stories, 119), as well as three with the name "Snopes" on them: Eck's, though after he is blown up all they could bury was his neck brace; Eula's, on another imposing monument that includes a beautiful imported marble medallion of her face that was designed and ordered by Gavin Stevens and a preposterously inappropriate epitaph that was chosen by her husband Flem; and at the end of the third volume of his trilogy, The Mansion, Flem himself. Eck's neck brace isn't the most bizarre item in the cemetery; that has to be the hand of the outlaw Grumby, which is cut off and wired to Rosa Millard's make-shift tombstone by Bayard and Ringo, the two boys who called her "Granny" in The Unvanquished.

Occupants: John Sartoris, Bayard Sartoris II, John Sartoris II, Lucy Cranston Sartoris, Bayard Sartoris III,  [Johnny Sartoris], Simon Struthers, Confederate Soldiers, Union Soldiers, Emily Grierson, Quentin Compson, Jason Compson III, Addie Bundren, Mrs. Hightower, Howard Allison II, Judge Allison, Rosa Millard, Grumby's hand, Rosa Coldfield, Eula Varner Snopes, Flem Snopes, Eck Snopes' neck brace.

Authority : 
Faulkner map
Display Type: