Rotting Tree in The Hound|The Hamlet (Location Key)

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Houston's Graves

The body of a man named Houston is repeatedly buried in "The Hound" (1931) and then again, almost a decade later, in The Hamlet, where Faulkner gives Houston a first name (Jack), changes the name of the name of the man who killed him (from Ernest Cotton to Mink Snopes), and makes the crime a major plot element in the Snopes Trilogy. Most of the details of the killer's three different attempts over several different days and nights to hide the body are the same: he first puts the corpse under a brush pile deep in a thicket, but the baying of Houston's hound compels him to stash it inside a hollow tree stump; when that doesn't quiet the dog, he throws the decaying body into the river. In the earlier tale, the tree is "a rotting cypress shell, topless, about ten feet tall" ("Hound," 155); in the revised version it is "the shell of a once-tremendous pin oak, topless and about ten feet tall" (Hamlet, 249-50). In both texts the account is quite grisly, particularly the descriptions of getting the corpse back out of the tree. Despite all these attempts to hide it, in both texts the murder comes to light.

Occupants: [Jack] Houston.

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