Doom's Plantation House (Location Key)


Faulkner mentions the 'mansion house' at the Indian plantation twice, in "Red Leaves" and again in "A Justice." According to the second story, Doom never thought the chief's "House" was "big enough (350), so he compelled the rest of the tribe and the slaves it owns to move a piece of a wrecked steamboat out of the river and twelve miles over land to make it bigger. "Red Leaves" describes this addition in the most detail. It is the one-story "deck house" from the steamboat set on a "knoll, surrounded by oak trees"; "chipped and flaked gilding" and "rococo cornices" adorn the house and the "gilt lettering of the stateroom names above the jalousied doors" can still be seen (317). Inside it are several artifacts European civilization which Issetibbeha, one of the chiefs, brought back into the woods of north Mississippi from a trip to Paris: "a pair of girandoles" that reputedly once belonged to the mistress of a French King (320), a "gilt bed" that no one will sleep in (320, 325), and a "pair of slippers with red heels" that are too small for anyone to wear (320) - though possession of them becomes an important issue in tribal and familial politics. In the chronology of Faulkner's career, this decadent 'steamboat-mansion' built with enslaved labor predates his description of the huge house that Sutpen employs a French architect to design, stuffed with fancy furniture that reminds at least one character in Absalom! of "the whole durn steamboat!" (34).

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