Old Het

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Old Het
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Old Het
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The black woman who serves in "Mule in the Yard" and The Town as both partner in and witness to Mannie Hait's ongoing feud against mules and a man named I.O. Snopes remains a kind of enigma. No one in the town knows how old she is: as the story puts it, "she was about seventy probably, though by her own counting . . . she would have to be around a hundred" (249). Even at the younger age, she would have been born into slavery, though that story remains untold. Het now lives in the county's poorhouse, from which she makes regular visits to town to receive food from various kitchens; her "long rat-colored cloak trimmed with what forty or fifty years ago had been fur" (249) reveals her impoverishment but also hints at a certain nobility of spirit that enables her to enjoy watching the feud. In The Town's telling of that, Het is more explicitly the source of much of the narrative. "Old Het said" occurs over half a dozen times it (248, etc.). Her voice, however, is relayed through white voices.

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