Mottstown|Mottson (Location Key)


As is fairly normal in Faulkner's imaginary world, the first town you would reach traveling south from Jefferson is sometimes called "Mottson" and sometimes "Mottstown." Like Jefferson, it is a county seat, though in "Hand upon the Waters" the name of the county is Okatoba, while in Intruder in the Dust it's Mott. On Faulkner's 1936 map its location is indicated by an arrow pointing south of Jefferson and the notation "To Mottstown, where Jason Compson lost his niece's trail, and where Anse Bundren and his boys had to go in order to reach Jefferson." Although it definitely is in a separate county, we include it on our main map because so many events in the Yoknapatawpha fictions take place there. Jason's misadventure occurs in The Sound and the Fury, and the Bundrens' brief visit in As I Lay Dying; curiously, both mention the drugstore, where Jason can't get aspirin (because the store is closed on Easter morning) and Dewey Dell can't get anything to abort her pregnancy (because, the indignant pharmacist says, he's "been a church-member for fifty-six years," 202). Although that map annotation leaves Dewey Dell out, she and the druggist are at the center of the novel's Mottson episode. Mottstown is the central location in one story, "That Will Be Fine," which takes place during a Jefferson family's Christmastime visit to their grandparents and mentions the town "pool hall" (279), the livery "stable" (282), and the office of the local Compress Association office in addition to a number of middle-class residences. Probably the most dramatic event in the history of Mottstown is the capture of Joe Christmas there in Light in August, which draws attention to the strange lives the Hineses - who by one of the more spectacular coincidences in the fictions turn out to be Joe's grandparents - have lived in the town after moving to Mottstown twenty-five years earlier. Included in that account are the town's courthouse, barbershop, sheriff's office, Negro district and the "little cafe down by the depot" (358). A unit of Union troops camps there in "The Unvanquished" as both a story and a novel. Tyler Ballenbaugh, a resident of Frenchman's Bend, purchases life insurance there for Lonnie Grinnup in "Hand upon the Waters." And in Intruder Chick Mallison travels there to play football and score a touchdown for Jefferson High. Interestingly, in "The Unvanquished" Granny Millard notes that "Oxford and Mottstown are only a few miles" apart (78). This is one of the few cues in the fiction to the relative positions of the real Oxford where Faulkner lived and the fictional Jefferson where his imagination spent so much time, but given Faulkner's determination in other fictions to obfuscate Oxford's location in relation to Jefferson's, we shouldn't make too much of Granny's geography. (6 other Locations in Mottstown have their own entries in this index: Georgie's Grandpa's Home, Mandy's Cabin, Mottson Filling Station, Mottstown|Mottson Railroad Station, Mrs. Jordon's House, and Neighbor's House in Mottstown.)

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