Jefferson Water Tower (Location Key)


Visually, the water tower or tank is the most significant feature of the town's skyline; as The Town notes, it can be seen "standing against the sky above the Jefferson roof-line" (30). According to The Mansion it is the one part of Jefferson that is visible from two miles away (169). (See Hill Two Miles from Jefferson in this index.) It is first mentioned in Flags in the Dust in the context of the Sartoris story, when young Bayard uses it to swing on a rope over the freight cars and piles of lumber along the rail line into a swimming pool on the other side of the tracks in one of his early acts of reckless daring. (This event is what decided us to locate the tower west of the Square, in the area of the tracks, though in Oxford the tower is on the other side of town.) In the other three texts in which it is used as a location, however, Faulkner shifts the context from Sartorises to Snopeses. Beginning in "Centaur in Brass" it is Flem Snopes' "monument to himself" (149). As a monument it is very ironic: "taller than anything in sight," but at the same time a symbol of the threat Flem's venality poses to the rest of the town, "filled with a transient and symbolical liquid that was not even fit to drink" (168). The water tower is referred to again as Flem's monument in both The Town and The Mansion. And in the larger story of Yoknapatawpha the Sartoris context is still there, because of the implicit juxtaposition of the 'achievement' evoked by Flem's "monument - polluting the town's water supply - to the imposing statue of Colonel Sartoris that stands in the Jefferson cemetery in other fictions.

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