Flem continues to climb the social ladder in this second volume of the Snopes trilogy. At the beginning he is already in Jefferson as the co-owner of a side-street restaurant; at the end he is the President of the Colonel Sartoris' bank and the owner of Major de Spain's ante-bellum mansion. He leaves the life of tenant farmer far behind: as in The Hamlet, however, he continues to "farm Snopeses" (32) - that's Ratliff's term for the way other members of the family follow Flem as he rises. The Snopes cousins who follow him from Frenchman's Bend to Jefferson are, in narrative order, Eck, I.O. and one referred to as "the actual Snopes schoolmaster" (42). Each of these Snopeses has his own story-line, but the one that will turn out to be most involved with Flem concerns another cousin, Mink, who was "the first Snopes in Jefferson" when he was jailed and tried there for murdering a man in Frenchman's Bend (82) - though Mink's ultimately decisive role in Flem's life will not emerge until The Mansion. Given the apocalyptic way the novel's old guard, V.K. Ratliff and Gavin Stevens, react to Snopesism, it may be surprising that the narrative includes some very decent Snopeses, Eck and his son Wallstreet Panic in particular, though Gavin's response to them is to insist that they can't really be Snopeses. And there is plenty of bad behavior among other members of the clan, especially Flem's nephews Montgomery Ward and Byron. Again as in The Hamlet, others discuss how difficult it often is to know exactly how the Snopes are all related. The center of the family is defined by absence or dysfunction: Flem is an impotent and cuckolded husband of Eula and the non-biological "father" of Linda - the one Snopes in the novel who really isn't a Snopes. Much of his rise, however, is made possible by his exploitation of this mother and daughter for purely material gain.

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Affiliated Characters

Ab Snopes - The Town
Bilbo Snopes - The Town
Byron Snopes - The Town
Clarence Snopes - The Town
Dewitt Binford - The Town
Dink Quistenberry - The Town
Eck Snopes - The Town
Eula Varner Snopes - The Town
Flem Snopes - The Town
I.O. Snopes - The Town
Linda Snopes - The Town
McCarron - The Town
Mink Snopes - The Town
Mrs. Binford - The Town
Mrs. Eck Snopes - The Town
Mrs. Quistenberry - The Town
Old Maid Snopes - The Town
Snopes Grandfather - The Town
Snopes(1) - The Town
Snopes(2) - The Town
Vardaman Snopes - The Town
Virgil Snopes - The Town