Unnamed Negro Inmates 6

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Unnamed Negro Inmates 6
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Unnamed Negro Inmates 6
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In her account of Nancy's arrest in Requiem for a Nun, Temple describes in moving detail the "Negro prisoners" whose hands can be seen lying between the bars of the jail's windows. Initially she describes them as "the crapshooters and whiskey-peddlers and vagrants and the murderers and murdresses too," but her representation of them also includes the kinds of labor and domestic work they perform (plowing and rocking cradles and so on) as a crucial part of Yoknapatawpha's economy (155). She compares them to the more privileged "white persons" (155). In a later reference to these incarcerated blacks, the narrative lists the "houseman or gardener or handyman" who ends up in jail after a drinking spree or a razor fight (197). It also uses the phrase "the New Negro" - associated nowadays with the artists and intellectuals who made up the Harlem Renaissance of the 1920s - to refer to the incarcerated prisoners who do not have white employers to bail them out, and so "work their fines out on the street," as members of work gangs (197).