Information for Journal #2

  

Flannery O’Connor Reads ‘A Good Man is Hard to Find’ in Rare 1959 Audio

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Information for Journal #2 (assignment at end ) William Faulkner created a fictional county, described as follows: Faulkner’s Yoknapatawpha Yoknapatawpha County: Pronounced “Yok ´ nuh puh TAW ´ fuh.” A county in northern Mississippi, the setting for most of William Faulkner’s novels and short stories, and patterned upon Faulkner’s actual home in Lafayette County, Mississippi. Its county seat is Jefferson. It is bounded on the north by the Tallahatchie River (an actual river in Mississippi) and its southern boundary is the Yoknapatawpha River. It consists of 2,400 square miles, the eastern half of which is pine hill country. According to the map included in Absalom, Absalom! (published in 1936), the county’s population is 15,611, of which 6,298 are white and 9,313 are black. Originally inhabited by the Chickasaw Indian tribe, white settlers first came to live in the area around 1800. Prior to the Civil War, the area was home to a number of large plantations, including Grenier’s in the southeast, McCaslin’s in the northeast, Sutpen’s (“Sutpen’s Hundred”) in the northwest, and Compson’s and Sartoris’s in the immediate vicinity of Jefferson. The name “Yoknapatawpha” is apparently derived from two Chickasaw words: Yocona and petopha, meaning “split land.” According to some sources, that was the original name for the Yocona River, also an actual river running through southern Lafayette County. According to Faulkner, Yoknapatawpha means “water flowing slow through the flatland.” Arthur F. Kinney, however, postulates an additional possibility for the origin and meaning of the name. In Go Down, Moses: The Miscegenation of Time, he suggests Faulkner might have consulted a 1915 Dictionary of the Choctaw Language in which the word is broken down as follows: ik patafo, a., unplowed. patafa, pp., split open; plowed, furrowed; tilled. yakni, n., the earth; …soil; ground; nation; …district…. yakni patafa, pp., furrowed land; fallowed land. Hence, Kinney suggests, the literal meaning of “Yoknapatawpha” in Choctaw would by “plowed or cultivated land or district” The map of this county, drawn by Faulkner himself, on the next page: Here’s your assignment: A Rose for Emily is set in Faulkner’s fictional town of Jefferson, from the late 1800s through the 1930s. Many of the references to people in the story refer to their positions in the townaldermen, etc., giving a strong sense of the structure of the town. The townspeople themselves are a collective narrator, helping to establish an identity for both them and Emily. What other factors, other than the setting, do you think help to tell the story? E.g., the order of the plot? It starts with her funeral, and then goes back to fill in Emily’s background. Also, there are five specific sections- how do these function in telling the story. Social positions (and the loss of their actual power) seem to be evident, as is the aftermath of the Civil War, which ties in somewhat with this sense of social “privileges” and expectations. Remember, Homer was a Northerner… These are just a few suggestions. You can also think about the whole notion of the Southern Gothic genre, of which Faulkner was one of the foremost writers. 2 (full) -3 pages; submit here

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