Hunting Camp Kitchen (Location Key)


In "A Bear Hunt," when Ratliff summons Ash, one of the Negro servants who accompany the party of white hunters, he goes "to the door" of the Major de Spain's hunting camp and yells "towards the kitchen" (74). Even in the wilderness, in other words, the living arrangements follow the pattern of the plantations and town residences where Yoknapatawpha's upper-class white families live. Kitchens were set apart from the main residence for several reasons - to keep the heat and smell of cooking away from the rest of the house, for example, and to provide a kind of protection against fire - but at the same time the fact that the kitchen was a separate or semi-detached space made it a racially defined space, the place in this story as in so many of the other fictions where black characters can be found when they are not serving their white masters or employers. This is probably true of the arrangements at De Spain's hunting camp in all of the dozen texts in which it figures, but "A Bear Hunt" is the only text to make this explicit. (See also Compson Inset: Kitchen and Kitchen at MacCallum Place in this index.)

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