Michigan (Location Key)


In Sanctuary the Drake family pretends that Temple is staying with her aunt in Michigan to cover up the fact that she has disappeared. The first character actually to spend time in Michigan is Joe Christmas, in Light in August. Joe travels through a good bit of the U.S. during his experiences on "the street which was to run for fifteen years" (223). His itinerary seems essentially random, but it's possible that he goes to Detroit, where he "lived with negroes, shunning white people" (225), because that city, like Chicago where Joe also lives "with negroes," was one of the principal places to which the millions of Negroes who left the South during the first third of the 20th century went. This demographic event is called the Great Migration, and Faulkner certainly has it in mind when (in Intruder in the Dust) he relocates Lucas Beauchamp's daughter and her husband to Detroit. In the later Requiem for a Nun he makes the connection explicit, referring to the "ghettoes" of Detroit as one of the urban spaces (along with "New York and Chicago and Los Angeles") to which the Negro tenant farmers and "furnish-hands" who worked in Yoknapatawpha's fields have moved by the 1930s (193). The city of Detroit was a major manufacturing center during most of the 20th century, making it a magnet for Americans black and white in search of economic opportunity. The fictions' one other reference to Michigan is also to a manufacturing city: in "Knight's Gambit" the fences that Harriss builds to define the boundaries of his Yoknapatawpha estate are "handicrafted in Grand Rapids factories" (241). This Michigan city was famous during most of the 20th century for producing quality wood furniture.

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