Sartoris Plantation Slave Cabin (Location Key)


The Sartoris plantation is large enough to have had a sizable population of enslaved people living on it, and in the story called "The Unvanquished," and again in the chapter called "Riposte in Tertio" in The Unvanquished as a novel, Ringo refers to "the quarters" that are "back yonder" behind the white family's destroyed mansion (88, 142). Only two of the cabins in the quarters, however, are ever depicted in Faulkner's fictions; both are occupied originally by the plantation's house slaves. This cabin, appearing in 8 different texts, is first occupied (in "Ambuscade") by Joby and Louvinia, the oldest of the Sartoris slaves and the head of the family that includes Ringo (in The Unvanquished) and Simon (in Flags in the Dust). During the upheaval brought about by the Civil War, the cabin houses several different combinations of people. After the Yankees burn down the big house in the story called "Retreat," it is occupied by two members of the Sartoris family, Granny and Bayard ("Raid," "The Unvanquished"). (According to Bayard's description in "Raid," after the Union army passes through northern Mississippi, the sight of white masters living in slave cabins beside the ashes of burned mansions is a common one.) After Granny's death, Louvinia and Ringo move back into the cabin, to keep Bayard company ("Vendee," "Skirmish at Sartoris"). And after the Civil War ends, Bayard's father Colonel John and his cousin Drusilla Hawk also live in it, "Father and I," Bayard writes, "slept on Ringo's and my pallet and Drusilla slept in the bed . . . where Granny used to sleep" ("Skirmish," 62, 192). While the whites live there, a "red quilt [is] nailed by one edge to a rafter and hanging down to make two rooms" ("Raid," 36-37, 78), so we know it's originally a one-room cabin. When Drusilla's mother shows up at Sartoris, she demands the males move somewhere else. But while the Unvanquished stories tell the early history of the cabin, Faulkner's earlier fictions describe the last stage in its history. In Flags in the Dust it (or perhaps another cabin built on the same spot) is occupied by Simon and his family, including his daughter Elnora - who in 1920 work for the Sartorises as servants. Ten years later it is lived in by Elnora and her children, who turn out to be Sartorises too. In "There Was a Queen" Elnora is acknowledged to be Bayard's half-sister. New housing arrangements were possible during the chaos of the war, but in its aftermath the bi-racial daughter of Colonel Sartoris remains in a cabin behind the big house her father constructed and - to use a very loaded term - re-constructed. (See also the entry for Sartoris Plantation Uncle Henry's Cabin.)

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Sartoris Plantation Slave Cabin
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Sartoris Plantation Slave Cabin