Stevens-Mallison House (Location Key)


Gavin Stevens' house, like Gavin's character, becomes an increasingly important location in the 9 fictions it appears in after it is first used as a Location in Light in August. It seems essentially the same in all of them, though the amount of detail about it varies considerably. A composite description could start by noting the similarity between this place and the Compson place. Both are in town, but have outbuildings like a pasture "lot," a "stable" and a "woods" (Intruder in the Dust, 38, 88). Both have been in the family for at least several generations. Both have cabins behind them where the Negro woman who works as their servant lives. But there's no sign of decay about the Stevens house or household. The main part of the residence is occupied by Gavin's sister Maggie Mallison and her husband, along with their child Charles or Chick - though Chick figures as Gavin's nephew much more significantly than as their son. Gavin occupies a separate part of the house, with an outside entrance of its own, and there Gavin and others discuss several of the crimes in the Knight's Gambit stories and the doings of Flem and his larger Snopes family in the last two volumes of the Snopes trilogy. The most explicit indications of where the house stands in Jefferson are provided by Intruder in the Dust. In that novel Chick thinks about walking "through the woods to the railroad depot" (37-38), which puts it west of the Square. When he rides his horse from the stable to the main road, he is clearly north of the Square (88). To complete the comparison and contrast I'm suggesting, that location puts it diagonally on the opposite side of the Square from the Compson place. Whether Faulkner consistently imagined it on that spot, and whether that might have had some significance for him, there's no way to know for sure.

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