Missouri (Location Key)


Missouri was admitted to the U.S. as a slave state in 1831, but during the Civil War did not secede from the Union to join the Confederacy. Perhaps that explains the apparent contradiction in The Unvanquished. In the chapter "Skirmish at Sartoris" Bayard refers to "the two Burdens from Missouri" who are in Jefferson to help the newly emancipated slaves vote in a local election (199). As Light in August confirms, the Burdens did live in Missouri before coming to Yoknapatawpha, but in the Unvanquished chapter "An Odor of Verbena" Drusilla calls the Burdens "northerners" (223). In Light in August the older Burden was born in New England, but it's not clear that Drusilla could have known that. The three slave states that did not secede - including Maryland and Kentucky - were usually referred to as 'border' states, between 'North' and 'South.' But perhaps in Drusilla's mind, that fact that Missouri didn't join the Confederate States made it a northern state. Perhaps the most interesting reference to Missouri in the fictions occurs in Requiem for a Nun, which mentions Mark Twain and "the Missouri dream" as comparable to "the Yoknapatawpha dream too" (205): both privilege the ideas of freedom and the frontier. St. Louis, Missouri, is used or referred to in 11 Yoknapatawpha fictions, and has its own entry in this index. As does Kansas City, which despite its name is also a city in Missouri.

Display Name: 
Sort Name: