Unnamed Justice of the Peace 4

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Unnamed Justice of the Peace 4
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Unnamed Justice of the Peace 4
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The first Justice who appears in "Barn Burning" is a "shabby, collarless, graying man in spectacles"; he presides over the Ab Snopes' trial in makeshift court in a general store (4). Described as having a "kindly" face, he discourages Harris from making young Sarty Snopes undergo questioning (4). While the Justice does not have enough evidence to convict Ab of burning Harris' barn, he tells him: "I can't find against you, Snopes, but I can give you advice. Leave this country and don't come back to it" (5). (The office of justice of the peace derives from traditional British legal practice, where justices belonged to the landed gentry. In Mississippi the office is an elected one. While there is no reason to assume Faulkner's imaginative conception of the office is faithful to reality at any or every point in the history of the state's justice system, at present in Mississippi there are 197 Justices who serve in 82 local justice courts, which have jurisdiction over some misdemeanors and other minor criminal and civil cases. In Faulkner's fictions there are 11 unnamed "justices of the peace." It's possible that Faulkner imagined two or more of them as a recurring character, but since the texts provide no textual evidence of that, we create separate entries for each of them.)