Unnamed People of Yoknapatawpha 12

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Unnamed People of Yoknapatawpha 12
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Unnamed People of Yoknapatawpha 12
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The Mansion represents the inhabitants of Yoknapatawpha as a group in various passages. According to the text, for example, "not just the town but the county came too" to Flem Snopes's funeral (461). In these references readers get some idea of the average living conditions for Faulkner's rural characters. For example, the narrative compares the modern and lavish conditions at the renovated Bacchus plantation - "electric light and steam heat and running water" - with the living conditions for "a lot of the rest of us," who "still depended on coal oil lamps for light and our wives to tote firewood and water from the nearest woodlot and spring or well" (218). But The Mansion covers a long span of time, half of the 20th century, and includes several indications of what would conventionally be called progress, such as the "small electric-driven corn-mill" that appears two hundred pages later in the novel (407). The novel's representation of this rural population depends on a point of view that shifts between narrators and even characters. Mink Snopes, for example, is very skeptical about the spirituality of the Christians in Frenchman's Bend who regularly go to church; to him, the women go "to swap a mess of fried chicken," their husbands go because they don't trust either the preacher or their wives together, while "the young folks" are looking for ways "to be the first couple behind the nearest handy thicket-bush" (6). The account in Chapter 13 of Clarence Snopes' political success casts a dark shadow over the idea that democracy is the best form of government, and explicitly exposes and condemns white Southern racism. Gavin Stevens, however, is on friendly social terms with "the country men who had elected him to his office" (429), and as an itinerant salesman V.K. Ratliff is even more at home with these rural southerners.