Hoke's Sawmill and Commissary (Location Key)


"Hoke's" is first described in "Lion" as "the little town on the edge of Major de Spain's preserve" (185), though "town" seems like an overstatement when Quentin later says "Hoke's was just a sawmill and a few stores" (188). Its population is probably mostly male, and its economy based entirely on logging. It is where the temporary logging train that runs through the woods intersects the main railroad that runs to Memphis. It sounds like one of the short-lived communities that in other fictions Faulkner describes as springing up around sawmills that themselves are located close enough to a forest and a railroad to take logs from the one and ship lumber elsewhere on the other (see the entry for Doane's Mill in this index). Much of this description is repeated when Faulkner interpolates the story of Lion into "The Bear" section of Go Down, Moses, but when Ike McCaslin pays a second visit to Hoke's at the end of "The Bear," after De Spain has sold the timber rights to the woods, it has grown dramatically: "a new planing-mill . . . and what looked like miles and miles of stacked steel rails . . . feeding troughs for two hundred mules," and the other signs of what some would call progress but which leaves Ike "shocked and grieved" (302). It is all probably still temporary, but now it's clear that when Hoke's is gone, the big woods will be too.

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Hoke's Sawmill and Commissary
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Hoke's Sawmill and Commissary