Mrs. I.O. Snopes 2

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Mrs. I.O. Snopes 2
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Snopes, Mrs. I.O. 2
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Faulkner's decision in The Town to make I.O. Snopes a bigamist complicates the identity of the various characters who appear as his wife. The first such character appears in the first Yoknapatawpha fiction, Flags in the Dust, as a "placid mountain of a woman" who spends her days in the porch swing of their "small frame house" - "not doing anything: just swinging" (235). Her son is named Clarence. If we work backwards from the Snopes trilogy, this woman becomes I.O.'s second wife, described very differently in The Town when Ratliff says she "wasn't a big girl" (39). In Ratliff's account she is not just "Clarence Snopes' maw" (384), but also the mother of the twins Vardaman and Bilbo, and "Miz Vernon Tull's sister's niece by marriage" (39). At the end of the novel she rouses the men at Varner's store to rescue her son from "Them Indians!" - as she refers to Byron's children; Ratliff credits her "mother love and mother instinct" for knowing that her son's life was in danger (388).