Unnamed Customers at Sutpen's Store

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Unnamed Customers at Sutpen's Store
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Unnamed Customers at Sutpen's Store
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In Absalom! Shreve describes the people who shop at the "little crossroads store" that Sutpen opens after the Civil War as "a clientele of freed niggers and (what is it? the word? white what? - Yes, trash)" (147). As at other country stores in Faulkner's world, there are often "lounging men" on the front porch, but here the "customers and loungers" are racially mixed: "rapacious and poverty-stricken whites and negroes" (149), "the black and the white" (227). After Sutpen's death, when Judith runs the store, the clientele is feminized: "women and children with pails and baskets" (152). ("White trash" is a demeaning term for poor whites. It is noteworthy that Shreve has not heard it growing up in Canada; on the other hand, as his comment above shows, he is quite familiar with the demeaning term for African Americans and uses it throughout his sections in the text.)