Eckrum Snopes

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Eckrum Snopes
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Snopes, Eckrum
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Eck Snopes is one of Flem's cousins, though the narrator of "Spotted Horses," the first text in which Eck appears, tells us that "Flem would skin Eck quick as he would ere a one of us" (168) - and in the story he does. Eck acquires two of the Texas ponies, but loses both of them the same day; he even manages, in his hapless attempt to catch one of them, to break its neck. In the Snopes trilogy he fails again, and again, as a blacksmith, a mill worker, a restaurant cook and a watchman, but his failures are all admirable. He breaks his own neck saving the life of a Negro mill hand, and dies while helping a distraught mother try to find a missing child. Eck's honesty, generosity and decency challenge the stereotype of 'Snopesism,' as characters in the trilogy notice. In The Mansion, his own cousin Montgomery Ward calls Eck and his family "our shame": they "dont belong to us" (93). Ratliff and Stevens go further: in The Town they speculate that Eck's mother must have been committing adultery when Eck was conceived: Eck is "indubitably and indefensibily not a Snopes" (33). But there's no evidence to support this. It seems more likely that Eck's existence is meant as a reminder against imposing stereotypes on people, even Snopeses. Eck is the father of Wallstreet Panic and Admirable Dewey, both admirable too.