Unnamed People of Yoknapatawpha

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Unnamed People of Yoknapatawpha
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Unnamed People of Yoknapatawpha
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Elements of the (white) population of Yoknapatawpha are referred to in several ways in the story. Their most pervasive role is as a kind of audience: "the county watches" the actions of the main characters unfold "as the subscribers [to a magazine] read and wait and watch for the serial's next installment" (149). For example, the people whom Gavin Stevens calls "the Yoknapatawpha County spinster aunts of both sexes" share gossip and speculations about an unknown man who may have courted Mrs. Harris before her marriage to Mr. Harriss (151) and watch "by hearsay and supposition" as Mr. Harriss transforms his wife's home into a kind of show palace (161). Similarly, "the ladies of Yoknapatawpha County" evaluate the people who are hired to tutor the Harriss children as "the best of company" (145). The "neighbors" of Mrs. Harriss' father are part of this larger group (241), and when the U.S. enters the Second World War, this group becomes the "civilians" who need time to "get used to war" and men in uniforms (255). Their ability as an audience to understand the story is suspect; for example, "not half a dozen" of them "actually knew which one was the oldest" of Mrs. Harriss’ two children (141).

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