Unnamed Jefferson Townspeople 15

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Unnamed Jefferson Townspeople 15
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Unnamed Jefferson Townspeople 15
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One of the narrative devices that Faulkner regularly deploys is using the larger population of Jefferson as a kind of chorus to provide commentary on the characters or events of a specific story. In almost every instance it seems fair to say that the "townspeople" he uses this way are implicitly the white people, but it seems more accurate to create a separate "Character=Jefferson Townspeople" for each text in which the device occurs. In Absalom! the inhabitants of Jefferson span several generations. As a 'character,' the group includes the people whom Rosa repeatedly calls "they" in Chapter 5 - as in the chapter's very first words:"So they will have told you . . . " (107). It also includes the group that the novel occasionally refers to as "the town" (24). In addition to race, gender often segregates the people into groups. The men, for example, gather at the Holston House (34), go out to Sutpen's property to watch as he builds his plantation house (27), to hunt (30), or to witness the wrestling matches behind the stable (20). The women attend church with their children ("ladies moving in hoops among the miniature broadcloth of little boys and the pantalettes of little girls, in the skirts of the time when ladies did not walk but floated," 23), realize when Sutpen turns his attention to the quest for a wife (31), preside over the "ceremony" when the Sartoris and Sutpen regiment leaves for the Civil War (65), and nurse the wounded soldiers who arrive at the improvised hospital in town (99). Together, many of these men and women were invited to Sutpen and Ellen's wedding, and they are presumably together in the couples who sit in the "carriages and buggies" outside the church while the mob confronts the newlyweds (43). At the very end, "they" try unsuccessfully to capture Jim Bond (301).