The Delta (Location Key)


The "Delta" is a 7000-square-mile alluvial flood plain in Mississippi, lying between the Mississippi and Yazoo Rivers. Its economy has traditionally been dominated by cotton farming. During the years covered by the Yoknapatawpha fictions it frequently flooded, a possibility that is on Jason Compson's mind in The Sound and the Fury as he thinks about his speculation in the cotton market. The Delta is the home to Parchman Penitentiary, which has its own entry in this index; but worth mentioning here is Mink Snopes' description when he sees the Delta for the first time while being taken to prison: a "vast flat alluvial swamp of cypress and gum and brake and thicket lurked with bear and deer and panthers and snakes, out of which man was still hewing savagely and violently the rich ragged fields in which cotton stalks grew ranker and taller than a man on a horse" (53). When Jason remarks to the deputy accompanying him that "It dont look healthy," the man replies "It aint intended to be" (53). At the end of "Delta Autumn," Ike McCaslin diagnoses a still deeper unhealthiness in "this Delta": greed and miscegenation, "usury and mortgage and bankruptcy and measureless wealth, Chinese and African and Aryan and Jew, all breed and spawn together" ("Delta Autumn," 279; Go Down, Moses, 346). Like "Delta Autumn," the hunting story "Race at Morning" takes place in the Delta; its sixteen Delta locations have separate entries in the index.

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The Delta
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The Delta