County Jail in Intruder in the Dust (Location)

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County Jail
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Public building
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Faulkner map

The jail where Lucas spends most of the novel is over one hundred years old, "the oldest building in town" along with "one of the churches" (48). Across its front are "four brick columns in shallow basrelief" (48). A northern architect spending a night in it for drunk driving once tried to buy its "heavy oak door," "one solid handhewn piece over two inches thick" (53). The jailor and his family live on the first floor; during the Civil War "one of the daughters of the jailor" etched her name on a window pane with a diamond after falling in love with a strange Confederate lieutenant passing in the street during a retreat (49). Less romantic is the stink of the second floor, where the prisoners are held: there one smells "the stale breath of all human degradation and shame - a smell of creosote and excrement and stale vomit and incorrigibility and defiance and repudiation" (54). Like the rest of Yoknapatawpha the jail is racially segregated: groups of Negroes doing time as "crap-shooters and whiskey-peddlers and razor-throwers" (30) are confined in a space called "the bullpen" (54), while beyond that is "the cell" for white prisoners (55). Lucas' unusual status is indicated by the fact that the jailer, after removing the blankets, puts him in the cell.

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