Sartoris Plantation Gate (Location Key)


"We killed him, Granny! At the gate!" (11, 27) - this is how Bayard Sartoris tells Miss Rosa about the Yankee soldier he and Ringo fired upon in "Ambuscade." They didn't really kill him, but Bayard's phrase provides an interested echo of the mystery that begins Absalom, Absalom!, which Faulkner was writing at the same time as "Ambuscade." In the novel it's Henry Sutpen who does shoot his sister's "fiance to death before the gates to the house" (6). At Sartoris, as at other plantations in the fictions, there is a formal gate at the entrance to the drive that leads to the big house. In The Unvanquished Colonel Sartoris displays the chivalrous behavior that is supposed to accompany the formal elegance of the planter class when this gate appears a second time. In "Retreat," he and his mother-in-law Rosa reach the gate from opposite directions, arriving at the same time. As Bayard describes it, "Father stopped us at the gate with his hat raised while the wagon went in first" (32, 70). There's another echo here, because in Absalom! Mr. Compson points out to Quentin that Sutpen's imitation of this behavior - "that florid, swaggering gesture to the hat" - reveals that unlike the Compsons or the Benbows (or, of course, the Sartorises), Sutpen "was underbred" (34).

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