Jefferson Power Plant (Location Key)


The power plant in Oxford is where Faulkner worked as a night superintendent while writing As I Lay Dying. The power plant in Jefferson is a step forward for Flem Snopes on his path toward wealth and respectability, as described in "Centaur in Brass" and The Town and recalled in The Mansion. When Faulkner first mentions it, in Flags in the Dust, he refers to it as the "light and water plant" (166), but there's no reference to the 'water' in any later text. As the "municipal power plant" ("Centaur," 151), it burns coal to generate electricity. The job of shoveling coal into the fires is done by Negro "firemen," who are supervised by white men whose job includes making sure that the pressure in the plant's three boilers does not become dangerously high (153) - a job made much harder by Flem's theft of the machinery's brass fixtures during his tenure as manager. It's likely that almost all the electricity that it produces stays within Jefferson's town limits. Although according to The Reivers the plant was already in operation by 1905, historically it wasn't until the 1930s and the New Deal's rural electrification program that most of rural Mississippi had power.

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