Yoknapatawpha Airfield (Location Key)


This airfield became a Yoknapatawpha location when Malcolm Cowley decided to include the story "Death Drag" in his 1946 Viking Portable collection of Faulkner's works, and recruited Faulkner to prepare a map like the one he had drawn ten years earlier for Absalom, Absalom! for inclusion in the book. The text of the story itself gives no hint that it takes place in the county. On his 1946 map, Faulkner places the "Airport," as he labels it, slightly south and east of Jefferson alongside the road that runs to Mottstown. "Airport" is also the word the story's narrator uses the first time he mentions the location (185). But the rest of the time the narrative refers to it as the "field" (186), and that is a much more accurate word. As the narrator acknowledges, Jefferson's airfield is "still in an embryonic state": a regraded cotton field "with an X-shaped runway into the prevailing winds" (186). The working farm on one side and the "grove of trees" on the other often make clearance difficult for the few planes that take off or land there. (Curiously, in the later novel The Mansion there is some talk about the U.S. government building a military airfield near this spot, but that may just be a ploy by Flem Snopes to fleece Jason Compson - in any case, "Death Drag" is the only text in which you can land a plane in Yoknapatawpha.)

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