Florida (Location Key)


Florida suddenly becomes an important part of the Yoknapatawpha story in the last chapter of Sanctuary, when the city of Pensacola turns out to be where Popeye grew up: what readers learn there about his childhood - especially the disease he inherited genetically, the 'past' that was already there when he was born - puts his character in a new perspective. For example, the fact that he is arrested (and ultimately executed for a crime he didn't commit) while driving to Florida "to visit his mother" means that (like Horace Benbow at the beginning of the novel) Popeye at the end is trying to go home again (302). Driving to Florida appears again in Requiem for a Nun, where the narrator speculates about what kinds of local stories the people who lived in Yoknapatawpha could tell their friends or relatives from elsewhere who "passed through Jefferson on the way to New Orleans or Florida" (196). The period after World War II - which is when Requiem was written - saw a great surge in the number of tourists vacationing in Florida. The Mansion was published after Requiem, but set in an earlier period, so the context for its mention of Florida is the 1930s. Mr. and Mrs. Mallison travel annually to Miami, Florida, at Christmas time, "to spend a week looking at horses" (229). They probably attend the thoroughbred races at Hialeah Park Race Track, which opened in the 1920s and became famous - for its flamingos as well as its horse races - after a reconstruction in 1932.

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