People of Yoknapatawpha(1)

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People of Yoknapatawpha(1)
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Unnamed People of Yoknapatawpha(1)
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The "People" of Yoknapatawpha are organized around several different points of reference. For example, Gavin Stevens and his nephew, the narrator, sort them generationally: Gavin refers to "the ones of my age and generation" (133), and the narrator, to "the ones of my age and time" (134). The story is most interested in another group - the (white) people of Yoknapatawpha as voters. On the other hand, this entry refers to a group defined at the start of the story around the character of Ratliff: the ones who buy what he's selling as a salesman and the ones who enjoy listening to him as a raconteur. We could call these the (white) people of Yoknapatawpha as consumers. This group is subdivided by location and gender. As a salesman he demonstrates sewing machines and compact organs for "ladies" who, when they live in the county's rural areas, sit "in a circle of chairs outside" or, in town, sit in a "parlor" decorated with "antimacassars" and "wax flowers" (86). As a "man among men" he is equally at home talking with "squatting, whittling" men sitting in front of a country store or with professionals and other salesman "gathered along the banquette of the hotel" (86). Ratliff's ability to appeal to these people, across the various divisions of class and gender, is presented as a virtue. (When the narrative's focus shift to Senator Snopes and politics, popularity with the people, presumably the same people, seems like a vice.)

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