Memphis, Tennessee in The Town (Location)

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Founded in 1819, Memphis, Tennessee, is the closest big city to Yoknapatawpha County, and it plays a role in many of Faulkner's novels and stories. Mrs. Rouncewell goes there to buy more flowers, I.O. Snopes buys his mules there, and Flem Snopes goes there to buy furniture. But Memphis is most frequently associated with the kinds of misbehavior that are unavailable in Yoknapatawpha. In The Town, for example, Ratliff makes the analogy that Snopes not catching his wife with Manfred de Spain "is like that twenty-dollar gold piece pinned to your undershirt on your first maiden trip to what you hope is going to be a Memphis whorehouse" (30). Similarly, in the midst of a tiff between Charles and Maggie Mallison over Gavin's relationship with Eula Snopes, Charlie says "That's what you want, is it? a husband that will spend every Saturday night in Memphis chasing back and forth between Gayoso and Mulberry Street" (50). Gayoso Street was the heart of the red light district until Mayor Edward “Boss” Crump shut down the city’s brothels in the 1940s. Mulberry Street, in contrast, was a predominately white, middle-class working neighborhood (laid out in 1840 by prominent attorney and businessman Robertson Topp). Charles's reference, therefore, is a taunt that what Maggie wants is a husband who will cheat on his spouse. Gayoso Street runs into the notorious Beale Street, a black district known in the 20th century for its music, raucous nightclubs, and dangerous atmosphere. "Professor Handy" - the well-known jazz composer and musician who provides the music at Jefferson's Cotillion Ball - is "from Beale Street in Memphis" (76).

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