Tennessee (Location Key)


The state of Tennessee is about 60-70 miles north of the fictional location of Yoknapatawpha County. When Memphis is counted along with the rest of the state, over half the Yoknapatawpha fictions include scenes in or mentions of Tennessee, but Memphis has its own Location entry in the index, as does 'Tennessee in the Civil War,' which figures in 7 fictions. The rest of the state is mentioned or used as the scene of events in 10 fictions. Real Tennessee places Faulkner mentions are: Bolivar, one of the towns where Hawkshaw works as a barber in "Hair"; Jackson and Saulsbury - the first is the destination of the furniture dealer in Light in August and the second the place where the novel ends, with Lena Grove riding in the dealer's truck and expressing her pleasure that just two months after leaving Alabama, "now it's already Tennessee" (507); and Columbia, where V.K. Ratliff meets one of his kinsmen. Several characters move to Yoknapatawpha from Tennessee, including Goodhue Coldfield in Absalom!, Philip Backhouse in "My Grandmother Millard," and presumably - although it is not explicitly stated - V.K. Ratcliffe in The Town. In "Vendee" and again in The Unvanquished the outlaw Matt Bowden tells Bayard Sartoris, Ringo and Buck McCaslin that he is a plantation owner from Tennessee - there is no reason, however, to believe him. In Go Down, Moses Ike McCaslin traces one of his grandfather's illegitimate bi-racial grandchildren - Tennie's Jim, who escaped from slavery in 1864 - as far as Tennessee, but loses his trail there.

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