Russia (Location Key)


For many writers of Faulkner's generation the Russian Revolution of 1917 was almost as decisive an event as World War I. The totalitarian government that came to power afterward was seen by many as a blueprint for the future and by others as threat to western civilization. In The Sound and the Fury Jason's mention of "Russia" puts him clearly, if ignorantly, in the latter camp: he tells the sheriff who will not help him pursue Miss Quentin that Yoknapatawpha "is not Russia, where just because he wears a little metal badge, a man is immune to law" (304). Faulkner doesn't mention Russia or the Soviet Union again until two much later texts. "Knight's Gambit" mentions Russia twice. The affair that Gavin Stevens had in Paris after World War I was with a "Russian" who "had escaped from Moscow" after the Russian Revolution (247). Charles Mallison is thinking about World War II in 1941 when he declares that the British have "stopped [Germany] on the west" and so the only fighting still going on is in "the plumbless depths of Russia," the war's eastern front (205). Among the more exotic inhabitants of Jefferson are the characters in The Mansion whom Charles Mallison identifies as "two Finns," although confusingly he says they escaped "from Russia in 1917" (236). Finland, of course, borders Russia. The Revolution produced a lot of refugees from Russia, but Charles does not explain how these "Finns" came to be among that group. There are two different chronological contexts for these three references. They occur scenes set before 1945, but appear in texts published in 1949 and 1960, at the height of the post-war Cold War between the U.S. and the U.S.S.R.

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