Hurricane Creek and Bottom (Location Key)


The creek that flows beyond the pasture at the Sartoris plantation appears in a dozen different texts. It's not always named, but when it is it is - as in the title of one of the Faulkner's stories about the Sartorises during the Civil War - it is called "Harrykin Creek," although officially it's Hurricane Creek (a real creek in Lafayette County). It first appears in those stories as the location of the livestock pen that Colonel Sartoris builds in order to hide his animals from the Yankee army. The land along the creek - called a "bottom" in the local dialect - is densely overgrown; as Bayard Sartoris notes in The Unvanquished: "you could not have found [the pen] unless you had known where to look, and you could not have seen it until you came to the new sap-sweating, axe-ended rails woven through and into the jungle growth itself" (11). In "My Grandmother Millard and General Bedford Forrest and the Battle of Harrykin Creek," the location is used as the site for a fictional battle, 'fought' to make a marriage possible. (Although the "Battle of Harrykin Creek" is a fiction within a fiction, at the real Hurricane Creek the remains of Confederate trenches from 1864 can still be seen.) After the war, in "Skirmish at Sartoris," the creek bottom becomes the site for harvesting cypress and oak trees to mill into lumber to rebuild the Sartoris mansion house; the site contains a "bandsaw" powered by a "blind-folded mule going round and round in the sawdust" (195, 64). In other fictions the swampy land at the creek is where a militia band captures an outlaw band and sets in motion the events that lead to Jefferson getting it's name ("A Name for the City," Requiem for a Nun); the creek provides the water in which Narcissa Sartoris tries to wash away her shame, prompting Miss Jenny facetiously to call it "Jordan at the back of a country pasture" ("There Was a Queen," 741) and the ice-covered water into which Aleck Sander jumps on a dare (The Town); and the dense undergrowth of the bottom helps Mink Snopes sneak into Jefferson on his revenge mission (The Mansion). In Faulkner's final book, The Reivers, Boon and Lucius Priest cross the creek on a bridge.

Display Name: 
Hurricane Creek and Bottom
Sort Name: 
Hurricane Creek and Bottom