Convict Camp (Location Key)


The "south Mississippi convict camp" (244) where in The Hamlet Mink Snopes meets the woman who becomes his wife is in "a tract of wildcatted virgin timber" (262). The convict labor system was widespread in the South, and in some ways perpetuated the system of slavery. As the novel's narrator puts it, the white man who runs the camp "through political influence or bribery or whatever got his convict labor from the State for the price of their board and keep" (262); the prisoners themselves are not compensated for the work they do cutting down the trees. This location also includes the "nearest county seat" where Mink gets married (264). In The Mansion this camp is referred to - briefly, and with a degree of irony that is hard to determine - as the setting in which Mink Snopes touches his wife "that first time with amazement and reverence and incredulous excitement the night of his marriage" (100). In the earlier novel they leave the prison camp before they enter into marriage.

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