Benbow House (Location Key)


In Flags in the Dust the ancestral home where Horace and Narcissa live is one of the oldest houses in one of Jefferson's oldest and most aristocratic neighborhoods. It was built in the 1840s by an English architect in what the narrator calls "the funereal light tudor which the young Victoria had sanctioned" (163). It is set well back from the street, with extensive, well-landscaped front grounds. To Horace Benbow, seeing it again for the first time after experiencing the Great War in France, the house expresses "the meaning of peace" (163). After Horace and Narcissa move out, the house stays empty for a decade, until Horace re-opens it in Sanctuary. Horace is still looking for refuge, from a bad marriage and modernity. Just as his sister Narcissa insists that the former Memphis prostitute her brother is helping not be allowed to stay in the house, so he himself tries unsuccessfully to keep Clarence Snopes (an embodiment of the newer, coarser South) from getting inside. Interestingly, even in Flags the quasi-obscene letters that another Snopes, Bryon, writes Narcissa do get into the house - as Bryon himself does, illegally, one night.

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