Boon Hogganbeck

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Boon Hogganbeck
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Hogganbeck, Boon
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The character of Boon Hogganbeck is essentially the same in all seven of his appearances in the fiction, though in one of them ("The Bear") his name is Hoggenbeck, and his lineage changes in another. In every text he has an Indian grandmother, but when he first appears, in "Lion," she is a "Chickasaw woman, niece of the chief who once owned the land" (184). Beginning with his next appearance, in "The Old People," Faulkner lowers her rank: Boon's blood, the narrator says, "is not a chief's blood" (203). He lives as "a white man," but of a much lower class than the aristocratic De Spains and McCaslins and Priests whom he serves as a kind of factotum, especially during hunting trips into the wilderness. He is almost always depicted against the background of the woods and hunting, though in his last appearance, his most important, as a major character in Faulkner's last novel, The Reivers, the plot takes him into Memphis and ultimately into marriage. The description of him there sums up his character well: "tough, faithful, brave and completely unreliable; he was six feet four inches tall and weighed two hundred and forty pounds and had the mentality of a child" (18). In a kind of Faulknerian paradox, it is Boon (whose terrible aim with guns is legendary) who kills Old Ben, the mythic bear of "The Bear" and Go Down, Moses.