Mink Snopes

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Mink Snopes
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Snopes, Mink
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One of Flem's closest relations - on the tangled Snopes family tree they share a common grandmother - Mink is described in The Mansion as a "small frail creature, not much larger than a fifteen-year-old boy" (55). Inside that body, however, he carries around enough rage to claim two men's lives. He first appears in The Hamlet when Faulkner decides to adapt his earlier short story "The Hound" into the saga of the Snopeses. In the story, the rage belongs to a sharecropper named Cotton; in both texts, the murdered man is named Houston, a local landowner who becomes the target of Cotton's and then Mink's bitterness and frustration after a lifetime of 'poor white' poverty and indignity. "The Hound" ends with Cotton in jail. Mink's story has only begun at that point. Arrested for the killing, Mink puts his faith in Flem, in the belief that Flem will somehow save him. What happens when that faith fails is a major element of the last volume of the Snopes trilogy. Mink is mentioned in The Town, the intermediate volume, but Mink's monomaniac focus on getting revenge against Flem organizes The Mansion from its first page through its last, and achieves a kind of anti-heroic grandeur. He is mentioned one last time in The Reivers, as Flem's "mad kinsman" (25), but that clinical label isn't adequate to characterize the Mink's significance. His fierce quest is both terrifying and absurd, and yet also deeply human.