McCallum Cotton Gin (Location Key)


"The Tall Men" begins next to "the dark bulk of the cotton gin" on the McCallum property (45). A 'gin' is a machine that separates the cotton seeds from the cotton fibers that cloth is made from, and there are a number of them around Yoknapatawpha County. But it's unusual for a farm to have its own gin. The big Sartoris plantation does, with its tenants who work on various farms within the plantation, but the other gins in the fictions serve regions of the county. Presumably Faulkner provides the McCallums with a gin to reinforce the idea of their sturdy independence - the corollary to their patriotic willingness to fight for the country. Before the Franklin Roosevelt administration, the family ginned the cotton they grew "right here in their own gin" (56), but after the federal government started giving farmers "advice and help, whether he wanted it or not," to quote the way Gombault refers to the new regulations governing agricultural production (55), the McCallums stopped growing cotton. The gin is no longer used, except to store the "twenty-two bales of orphan cotton" they refuse to sell under this New Deal (56). They built "a special shed" next to the gin to hold some of this cotton as well (56).

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McCallum Cotton Gin
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McCallum Cotton Gin

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