Frenchman's Bend Schoolhouse (Location Key)


The school in Frenchman's Bend plays a larger role in the collective story of Yoknapatawpha than the schools elsewhere in the county or in Jefferson do. In fictions set before 1940, the "schoolhouse" is a "one-room" building (The Town, 38). According to the Snopes trilogy it was paid for privately, by Will Varner, "as an integer of old Varner's princedom - an integer not because old Varner or anyone else in Frenchman's Bend considered that juvenile education filled any actual communal lack or need, but simply because his settlement had to have a going schoolhouse to be complete" (38-39). The school year is determined by the times of planting and harvesting. Attendance does not seem to be mandatory. The educational situation seems more formalized in the two stories about the Grier boys. They attend the "Consolidated School" ("Two Soldiers," 82), which suggests that all school-age children still go to the same school, but perhaps one with more than one classroom. Pete, the oldest boy, has graduated from it. Three of Faulkner's more memorable characters teach in the Frenchman's Bend school at different times: Addie Bundren (in As I Lay Dying); Labove and I.O. Snopes (both in The Hamlet). Readers of the first novel know that corporeal punishment was allowed in the school, at least under Addie. Readers of The Hamlet get a sense of how ill-suited both men are to the job of teaching, though perhaps if Eula Varner hadn't been his student, Labove would acquitted himself more creditably; he does organize a successful basketball program for the boys of Frenchman's Bend. Nothing could have helped I.O.

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Frenchman's Bend Schoolhouse
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Frenchman's Bend Schoolhouse