Carolina (Location Key)


Unlike Virginia and West Virginia, North and South Carolina have been two different states since the colonial times, but Faulkner almost always elides the distinction, referring frequently to "Carolina" (and once to "the Carolinas") to define where so many of the inhabitants of Yoknapatawpha originally came from. Among the families with this heritage are lower class farmers in places like Frenchman's Bend with names like "Gowrie and Frazier and Muir," who migrated "from Culloden [in Scotland] to Carolina, then from Carolina to Yoknapatawpha" (The Town, 332). But the term is most often applied to the upper class group that could be called the 'first families of Yoknapatawpha,' large plantation owners like the Sartorises and McCaslins, and with the implication that hailing from "Carolina" confers a kind of aristocratic pedigree. What is said about Sutpen in Absalom, Absalom! establishes this by negation. Sutpen owns the largest Yoknapatawpha plantation, but his many rough edges make it clear that he is "no younger son sent out from some old quiet country like Virginia or Carolina" (11). In this context it seems likely that when Faulkner or one of his characters refers to "Carolina," they mean 'South Carolina'; Absalom! for instance treats Charleston, South Carolina, as a more distinguished address than even Richmond, Virginia (100, 188). This motif acquires a comic and perhaps satiric tone in "A Name for the City" and Requiem for a Nun, where the young settlement in Jefferson misplaces a large padlock that, like so many of its inhabitants, originated in "Carolina" (200, 6). If Jefferson's name comes from Virginia, that's only because of the role played in its history by this 'Carolina' lock. ('South Carolina,' 'Charleston,' 'King's Mountain, North Carolina,' 'Sartoris Plantation in Carolina,' and 'Carolina in the Civil War' have their own entries in this index.)

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