The Delta Inset: Van Dorn (Location Key)


While the other hunters are from Yoknapatawpha, Mister Ernest and the narrator are from "Van Dorn" (303). This could be the (invented) name of a town in Mississippi, but it seems more likely that it is the name of Ernest's plantation. (His last name may even be Van Dorn - which is also the name of a Confederate General from Mississippi, though that is speculative.) It is a place on the river, close enough to the hunting camp for the narrator to accuse the buck they chase of eating "our beans and oats" during the year (301), and large enough to be home to an unspecified number of Mr. Ernest's "hands and tenants," i.e. paid laborers and tenant farmers (308). It is where the narrator lived in a "cabin on the river" until his parents abandoned him (307), and where he now lives with Mister Ernest himself. There's an interesting echo here of Sutpen's 'design' in Absalom!, which wasn't just to found a dynasty to leave to his descendants, but to do what Mister Ernest does: to "take [a poor white] boy" into his mansion and "free" him from the future that his class status predicted (Absalom!, 210). Sutpen's tragedy is that when the "nameless" boy shows up, as Charles Bon, race makes Sutpen feel he cannot open the door. Despite the potential irony lurking in the title of "Race at Morning," however, race and racism are never an issue in this text.

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The Delta Inset: Van Dorn
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The Delta Inset: Van Dorn