Unnamed Grandmother of Boon Hogganbeck

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Unnamed Grandmother of Boon Hogganbeck
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Unnamed Grandmother of Boon Hogganbeck
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Boon's "mother's mother," as Intruder in the Dust puts it, was "a Chickasaw woman" (91). Five texts refer to this grandmother, though she herself never appears in any of them. In the first mention, in "Lion," there's some uncertainty about whether she might have been his mother instead: as Quentin puts it, "Boon was part Indian. They said half, but I don't think so. I think it was the grandmother who was the Chickasaw woman, niece of the chief who once owned the land Major de Spain now owned and over which we hunted" (184). In the other texts there's no doubt about her place on the Hogganbeck family tree, but her status among the Chickasaws is uncertain: Quentin's description locates her among the tribe's chiefs, and in The Reivers Boon himself sometimes claims his grandmother was related to "Issetibbeha himself" (18). But the narrator of that novel discounts the claim, and in "The Old People" and Go Down, Moses the 'Indian blood' that runs in Boon's veins is explicitly described as "not chief's blood" (203, 160). Given the preoccupation with 'blood' in the fictions - in terms of both race and class - just how 'Indian' and how 'noble' Faulkner imagined Boon to be is potentially a significant issue. But there is no fixed point from which to explore it.