Sartoris Plantation Privy (Location Key)


During most of the 19th century, even wealthy southerners went to the bathroom in a small outside building, known by a number of different names, including "outhouse" (as the narrator of "My Grandmother Millard," Bayard Sartoris, calls it) and "privy" (as Rosa calls it, 675) and, unfortunately for Melisandre and Philip, "backhouse." As described by Bayard - "the little tall narrow flimsy sentry-box" (676) - the Sartoris outhouse is typical. It is, however, atypical for Faulkner to include this aspect of plantation life in an account featuring an aristocratic family like the Sartorises, though the whole story comically and subversively juxtaposes the ideals of conventional 'plantation fiction' - swooning ladies and chivalrous gentlemen - with the alimentary facts of life. Although indoor plumbing became common throughout the U.S. during the 20th century, outhouses remained a feature of rural landscapes and poor communities for many decades.

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Sartoris Plantation Privy
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Sartoris Plantation Privy