On the Trains between Jefferson and Oxford (Location Key)


Oxford, Holly Springs and Memphis are real places. Holly Springs usually appears in the fictions as the fictional "Memphis Junction," a name that indicates the its role as the place where passengers from Jefferson change trains for Memphis, but in Sanctuary it wears its real name as a similar junction point. While at different moments Clarence and Virgil Snopes as well as Fonzo ride differerent trains between Jefferson and Memphis, Horace Benbow makes the most journeys by train in the novel. Several different kinds of events take place on the 4 (or possibly 6) trains that Horace rides to and from Oxford in Chapter 19: the narrator describes the way the other passengers on the first train look in surprisingly stark and violent terms (168), and depicts a scene of college students being young and bright on the second train (168-70); on the first return train Horace has a long conversation with Clarence Snopes (172-77). And many different kinds of people ride on these trains, including a man who "spits tobacco juice" onto the floor (168) and "a countrywoman with an infant in her arms" (170); almost parenthetically, the narrator notes the existence of the "jim crow car," in which black people have to ride (168). Because Faulkner makes it so difficult to figure out the route Horace travels - perhaps in order to obfuscate the spatial relationship between the real town of Oxford and his fictional Jefferson - we have decided to use this one location as the setting for all these episodes. (In Chapter 23 Horace takes trains to and from Memphis, but those trips are not narrated at all.)

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On the Trains between Jefferson, Holly Springs, Memphis and Oxford
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On the Trains between Jefferson, Holly Springs, Memphis and Oxford