The Map


In Absalom, Absalom!, written in 1936, Faulkner published his first map of Yoknapatawpha County. He refers to himself as the “sole owner and proprietor,” to this map that was drawn; the reference to Yoknapatawpha County is only mentioned six times throughout the story where the map first makes its appearance.

Faulkner’s map had eighteen circles on it, all in red ink. Thirteen of those circles identified fictional events inside of Jefferson, and outside the town one circle marks the “Sartoris plantation and gin,” another marks “Sutpen’s Hundred” and third marks a church, the fourth circle identifies a bridge that washes away under the Bundrens Family, and the fifth marks the Old Frenchman place. Six places are marked by dots, all referring to As I Lay Dying or Sartoris. The red circles all marked within Jefferson refer to Sartoris, The Sound and the Fury, Sanctuary and Light in August. Jefferson is the primary spot for those novels. The map displays all kinds of mapmaking skills, but in all actuality, the map only helps the reader “see” the action – the map is a literary map and not a real map. When looking at the map, Jefferson itself has no boundaries and the roads radiate from the center of the town making it look like a wheel hub that is broken. This is symbolic because Faulkner writes about broken images that reoccur in his novels: The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying, and The Hamlet. Faulkner may have only made this map for his own use and only as a visual for where he had placed each family within Yoknapatawpha County and where there was land available (McHaney).

Published on May 5, 2009 at 12:25 am  Leave a Comment  

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