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William Faulkner and George Washington Harris: frontier humor in the Snopes triology Stilley, Hugh Morgan 1964

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WILLIAM FAULKNER AND GEORGE WASHINGTON HARRIS: FRONTIER HUMOR IN THE SNOPES TRILOGY by Hugh M. Stilley B.A., University of Southern California, 196l A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF MASTER OF ARTS in the Department of Engli sh We accept this thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA October, I964 In p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t o f the r e q u i r e m e n t s f o r an advanced degree a t t h e U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h C o l u m b i a , I a g r e e t h a t t h e L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e f o r r e f e r e n c e and s t u d y . I f u r t h e r a g r e e t h a t p e r -m i s s i o n f o r e x t e n s i v e c o p y i n g o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y p u r p o s e s may be g r a n t e d by t h e Head o f my Department o r by h i s r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s , , I t i s u n d e r s t o o d t h a t c o p y i n g o r p u b l i -c a t i o n o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l g a i n s h a l l not be a l l o w e d w i t h o u t my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n . Department o f E n g l i s h  The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Columbia Vancouver 8, Canada Date S e p t e m b e r 3. 1965. ABSTRACT The influence of the p r e - C i v i l War Southwestern humorists on the work of William Faulkner has long been hypothesized. But i t has received scant c r i t i c a l attention, much of i t erroneous or so general as to be almost meaningless. While Faulkner's t o t a l v i s i o n i s more than merely humorous, humor is a s i g n i f i c a n t part of that v i s i o n . And the importance of f r o n t i e r humor to Faulkner's art i s further substantiated by the fact that many of his grotesque passages derive from e l e -ments of t h i s humor. Frontier humor flourished from I83O to I860, and while a large group of men then flooded American newspapers with contributions, i t now survives in anthologies and the book-length c o l l e c t i o n s of i t s most prominent writers — Augustus Baldwin Longstreet, Joseph Glover Baldwin, Johnson Jones Hooper, William Tappan Thompson, Thomas Bangs Thorpe, and George Washington H a r r i s . Their writings i l l u s t r a t e the genre's growth from mere regionalism in eighteenth century d i c t i o n to the robust and masculine humor in the frontiersman's own language. Harris i s the best of these humorists because he has a better sense of incongruity and consistently t e l l s his stories in the earthy vernacular of the frontiersman; and Faulkner himself admires Sut Lovingood, p r i n c i p l e character-cum-raconteur of Harris's best work. Therefore, in th i s thesis I focus on i i Harris's Sut Lovingood in re l a t i o n to the Snopes t r i l o g y of Faulkner — h i s longest u n i f i e d work and a "chronicle* 1 of Yoknapatawpha County with much f r o n t i e r humor in i t . A major p a r a l l e l between Faulkner and Harris i s t h e i r similar use of the story-within-a-story device and t h e i r similar technical rendering of the highly f i g u r a t i v e and even in Harris's time somewhat s t y l i z e d language of the f r o n t i e r . Their common Southern heritage and the lack of change in the post-bellum Southern backwoodsman conduces to a similar m i l i e u . Harris's and Faulkner's recurrent theme of r e t r i b u t i o n derives from the frontiersman's individualism and from his concern for at least the rudiments of society. Both authors create a large number of f r o n t i e r characters; at and t h e i r p r i n c i p l e f r o n t i e r characters are at once superb story t e l l e r s and epitomize the best ideals of the American f r o n t i e r . The purpose of th i s thesis, then, i s to examine the ways in which Faulkner p a r a l l e l s Harris's f r o n t i e r humor. Having established Harris as the best writer in his group, I discuss the two authors' structures and techniques, t h e i r milieus and themes, and t h e i r characters. The t r i l o g y ' s s i m i l a r i t i e s with and deviations from Harris's Sut Lovingood help to illuminate Faulkner's a r t i s t r y as well as to suggest the strength of Harris's influence on Faulkner. i i i T a b l e of Co n t e n t s Page I I n t r o d u c t i o n 1 I I S o uthwestern Humor 11 I I I S t r u c t u r e and Technique 35 IV M i l i e u and Theme 72 V C h a r a c t e r 111 B i b l i o g r a p h y 149 I. Introduction In his novels there i s ample evidence that Faulkner i s well-acquainted with Southwestern humor in general. As early as 1927, in Mosquitoes, his admiration for t h i s humor i s at least t h e o r e t i c a l l y revealed in the words of F a i r c h i l d , who, having t o l d a story about swamp-bred 'half-horse h a l f - a l l i g a -t o r s , ' explains to a foreigner: We're a simple people, we Americans, kind of c h i l d - l i k e and hearty. And you've got to be both to cross a horse and an a l l i g a t o r and then f i n d some use for him. That's part of our national temperament.* Faulkner's l a t e r reply to an interviewer, "I was born in 2 1826 of a Negro slave and an alligator...** may indicate an even closer knowledge of the t a l l - t a l e species (for example, the legends of Mike Fink and Davy Crockett), a branch of the larger genre, f r o n t i e r or Southwestern humor. That Faulkner has been influenced by the e a r l i e r humor i s obvious. But to what extent this i s a " l i t e r a r y influence** per se i s almost impossible to determine. The humorists of the old Southwest depended on the oral t r a d i t i o n as well as on t h e i r keen perception of f r o n t i e r events f o r t h e i r material. The s i m i l a r i t y of th e i r f r o n t i e r and Faulkner's i s attested by C e c i l D. Eby: [The] conditions and scenes described by the humorists p e r s i s t s t i l l , and the up-country domain of the piny-woods and the red-neck i n Faulkner's As I Lay Dying and The Hamlet would 2 s t i l l be r e c o g n i z a b l e t o a r e s u r r e c t e d Joseph B. B a l d w i n o r a Johnson Hooper.3 And John C u l l e n n o t e s the p e r s i s t e n c e of the o r a l t r a d i t i o n i n N o r t h e r n M i s s i s s i p p i : In t h i s c o u n t r y t h e r e i e a k i n d of s a l t y , down-t o - e a r t h f o l k humor based on t a l l t a l e s and understatement and o l d f r o n t i e r s o u t h e r n c h a r a c -t e r . Because L a f a y e t t e County has remained so r u r a l as i t has, the e l e m e n t a l f r o n t i e r American c h a r a c t e r has been p r e s e r v e d more than i n most o t h e r s e c t i o n s of the c o u n t r y and the South....4 F u r t h e r , he comments on F a u l k n e r ' s remarkable s e n s i t i v i t y t o l o c a l e v e n t s : [ F a u l k n e r ] seems t o have remembered every o l d wartime s t o r y , every n o t o r i o u s and u n u s u a l c h a r a c t e r i n L a f a y e t t e County, every c a s u a l remark, and a l l the g o s s i p of a community. He has had the a b i l i t y and the keen mind t o look and l i s t e n , and t o use the most unu s u a l and i n t e r e s t i n g e v e n ts i n L a f a y e t t e County h i s t o r y and l i f e . 5 F a u l k n e r ' s m a t e r i a l , t h e n , i s s i m i l a r t o t h a t of t h e S o u t h -western h u m o r i s t s , and he i s e q u a l l y s e n s i t i v e t o i t . These s i m i l a r i t i e s , p l u s the s t a s i s of the South i n g e n e r a l , and N o r t h e r n M i s s i s s i p p i i n p a r t i c u l a r , might, then c o n t r i b u t e t o the w r i t i n g of s i m i l a r s t o r i e s . Thus, a common h e r i t a g e p a r t l y q u a l i f i e s the " l i t e r a r y i n f l u e n c e . " The s i m i l a r i t y of much of F a u l k n e r ' s humor t o Southwestern humor i n g e n e r a l i s o f t e n n o t e d , but r a r e l y examined. In f a c t , few c r i t i c s attempt more than a l i p - t r i b u t e t o F a u l k n e r as a h u m o r i s t . Those who do d e a l w i t h h i s humor g e n e r a l l y p r e f e r t o examine F a u l k n e r ' s more g r o t e s q u e i n c i d e n t s i n c o n j u n c t i o n w i t h t h e i r own p r e d i l e c t i o n s f o r some 'ism' o r a n o t h e r . While 3 these rather esoteric treatments may conform to the tone of much Faulkner c r i t i c i s m , a more basic point has been glossed over — Faulkner's debt to Southern regionalism i s at least one basis for his humor. This i s not to say that he, l i k e many of his predecessors in the South, i s a mere chronicler. In fact i t i s Faulkner's range of humor that often leads c r i t i c s astray. By devoting t h e i r energies to the extremes of Faulkner's humor and by p a r t i a l l y or wholly ignoring the more domestic, the more American roots of Faulkner's humor, c r i t i c s have often enlarged rather than diminished the popular misconception of Faulkner's perverse abstruseness. In a recent c r i t i c ' s opinion: One problem to be faced in dealing with the extensive and varied writings of the author [Faulkner] i s the mass of commentary from the past, much of i t obsessively wrong-headed; ... one of the most persistent forms of carping has been the assertion that the work i s obscure, d i f f i c u l t , p r o l i x , extravagant, or needlessly redundant. Worst of a l l i s the suspicion that he did i t a l l on purpose. ...Part of Faulkner's p r o l i x i t y can be put down to temperament, and th i s does him no d i s c r e d i t . Temperament i s one aspect of genius. Another aspect of such genius strongly aware of complexity i s that i t creates and uses ways of seeing and knowing which pedantry has not yet c l a s s i f i e d . 0 And "pedantry," in i t s zeal to c l a s s i f y Faulkner's humor, largely overlooks the extent to which i t can be related to f r o n t i e r humor — a comparison not as esoteric as that to surrealism, but one perhaps more germane to Faulkner's back-ground. 4 Of the c r i t i c s who have written book-length studies of Faulkner, Mary Cooper Robb and Lawrence Thompson are two who most consistently mislead in t h e i r comments on Faulkner's humor in general and more s p e c i f i c a l l y , on The Hamlet, per-haps Faulkner's greatest extended work in the t r a d i t i o n of regional humor. Miss Eobb, f o r instance, has d i f f i c u l t y recognizing the i n t e r - r e l a t i o n s h i p of the elements of f r o n t i e r humor — land, language, and people: "The humor [ i n Faulkner's s t o r i e s ] does not l i e in the words themselves, but in the 7 characters and the situations i n which they are involved." S i m i l a r l y , i n asserting Faulkner's a b i l i t y to delineate character and forg e t t i n g such type characters as Mrs. T u l l in The Hamlet and old Het in The Town, she again generalizes: "there i s no character who i s present in a book just to supply a laugh. Hone i s a caricature.™ Mr. Thompson writes with more assurance than c r i t i c a l acumen or appreciation of Southwestern humor. Indeed, he 9 finds that "the entire action of The Mansion i s boring," and that "throughout most of The Hamlet. Faulkner deliberately descends to low comedy."*^ In a rather obvious attempt to be more c o l o r f u l than judicious, Thompson pronounces that Faulkner's "revisions [of the short stories incorporated in The Hamlet] would seem to have been performed with a caval i e r l a z i n e s s . . . . " * * These c r i t i c a l remarks, chosen for t h e i r very ineptitude, reveal the uneven results of c r i t i c s who examine the whole of the Faulkner canon. 5 More accomplished c r i t i c s tend towards greater caution. Neither Irving Howe nor Cleanth Brooks neglects anything of major importance and both show genuine insight into those aspects of Faulkner they especially admire. Otherwise, they describe rather than examine Faulkner's work. Howe, for instance, says: "The talk [of The Hamlet] i s superb — r i c h l y idiomatic, v i r i l e , brimming with high humor,** and the book i t s e l f i s " d i s t i n c t l y American in idiom and observation, 12 heavily sprinkled with the sa l t of folk humor....** But he does not draw any s p e c i f i c p a r a l l e l to the language of fol k humor, cer t a i n l y a major element of that genre. That i s , he reveals his appreciation of the regional humor in The Hamlet. but almost ignores the s p e c i f i c elements of thi s humor. And in concluding his chapter on t h i s novel, he confesses the hardships of any c r i t i c a l examination of humor: Of a l l the l i t e r a r y modes, humor i s notoriously the most i n d i f f e r e n t to c r i t i c a l inspection, and in the end there i s l i t t l e to do but point and appreciate. Confronted with Faulkner's marvels the c r i t i c must f e e l that his task, though not irr e l e v a n t , i s a l l but hopeless; and may wish to cry out with the judge in the novel, "I can't stand no more. I won't! This court's adjourned. Adjourned! x3 Cleanth Brooks also notes the presence of f r o n t i e r humor: "...the tone of The Hamlet i s a compound of irony and wonder... The i r o n i c element frequently takes the form of a kind of folk humor, and the wonder tends towards the mythic extravagance of the t a l l - t a l e t r a d i t i o n . " 1 ^ But he prefers to discuss the elements of thi s humor in terms, of p a r a l l e l s in English 6 l i t e r a t u r e , rather than those of American o r i g i n . Faulkner's emphasis on the people, the land, and the things in t h i s land, a l l common to Southern regional humor, are discussed thus: Faulkner's pastoral mode i s , of course, more earthy and violent than Wordsworth's, and Faulkner's pastoral scene i s , much more than Wordsworth's, consciously set off from the dominant urban culture of i t s time. ...Faulkner has s t y l i z e d and formalized his world of Frenchman's Bend almost as much as Jonathan Swift s t y l i z e d and formalized the country of L i l l i p u t , but again l i k e Swift, he has ren-dered i t in almost microscopic detail.15 And however much more i n s i g h t f u l i t may seem to compare Faulkner's "pastoral mode1* and "microscopic d e t a i l " with the writings of Wordsworth and Swift than with the writings of Faulkner's Southern predecessors — say, those of George Washington Harris, for example — Brooks' comparison con-notes an influence for which there i s l i t t l e evidence. This i s not to say that Faulkner could not have been influenced by the romantic poets or by Swift; rather, that i n these s p e c i f i c aspects of Faulkner's work, i t i s far more l i k e l y that he was influenced by the regional humorists of h i s own background. Certainly, as a Southern writer, Faulkner could be expected to have read Southern works with special attention. And however much he might have known other writers in the genre of Southwestern humor, he does comment favorably on one writer i n p a r t i c u l a r — George Washington Harris. Faulkner s a i d : 7 And then I l i k e Sut Lovingood from a book written by George Harris about I84O or '50 in the Tennessee Mountains. He had no i l l u s i o n s about himself, did the best he could; at certain times he was a coward and knew i t and wasn't ashamed; he never blamed his misfortunes on anyone and never cursed God for them.16 Here, as elsewhere, Faulkner reduces the a n a l y t i c a l c r i t e r i a of l i t e r a t u r e to what was most important to him — the appraisal of character. And, while perhaps i t i s in terms of character that Faulkner was most influenced, there are other reasons than the character of Sut Lovingood f o r Faulkner to have admired Harris, just as there are other s i m i l a r i t i e s i n t h e i r works. Further, i t i s not unlikely that Faulkner knew some of the lesser writers in th i s t r a d i t i o n . The inadequacy of the scholarship which examines Faulkner's humor i n r e l a t i o n to that of the regional humorists of the South indicates at least two things: Faulkner's stature as a l i t e r a r y a r t i s t , and his range as a humorist. This same inadequacy may also indicate the tendency of Faulknerian c r i t i c i s m to emphasize the e s o t e r i c . S t i l l , Faulkner's humor i s but a small part of his entire v i s i o n , and his Southwestern humor i s an even more minute part of that v i s i o n ; but the humor of the regional t r a d i t i o n sets the tone for some of Faulkner's major works. To be sure, Faulkner i s a figure of f a r greater l i t e r a r y s i g nificance than the Southwestern humorists, and he would be acclaimed as a genius had he never written a l i n e of humor. However, his humor does enlarge h i s immense stature as an 8 a r t i s t ; and his acknowledgment of his close acquaintance with Sat Lovingood. the culminating work of the ante-bellum Southern humorists, i s noteworthy because much of Faulkner's best humor derives from the early American t r a d i t i o n of f r o n t i e r humor* In this t h e sis, for the purposes of examining Faulkner's connection with Southwestern humor, I focus on Faulkner's Snopes t r i l o g y and Harris's Sut Lovingood. While Faulkner uses f r o n t i e r humor sporadically throughout his canon (from Mosquitoes to The Reivers), the Snopes t r i l o g y contains some of Faulkner's best f r o n t i e r humor. Because i t i s a work uni-f i e d by character and event, the t r i l o g y i t s e l f helps to unify and l i m i t the study. And, as a lengthy work, written over a period of years, the t r i l o g y , for range of vision and expression, i s u n r i v a l l e d by any of Faulkner's single novels. The work contains both t r a g i c and humorous events; and the humor in i t i s of s i m i l a r l y wide range. Indeed, wit, s a t i r e , irony, and both modern and f r o n t i e r humor exist side by side. Moreover, many grotesque passages in the work derive from Faulkner's emphasis on single aspects of f r o n t i e r humor. And besides containing Faulkner's most lengthy and intimate study of the Southern backwoodsman, the t r i l o g y affords a good cross-section of Faulkner's generic range because each novel contains revised short s t o r i e s . Thus, the t r i l o g y , i t s e l f a u n i f i e d work of art, excels Faulkner's other works i n range of humor, range of tone, and range of genre. 9 Sut Lovingood deserves our attention for at least two reasons: Faulkner himself admires Harris's central character, and the book i s the best and the culminating work of ante-bellum Southwestern humor* This i s not to say that Faulkner was influenced only by Harris's Sut Lovingood: rather, the connection between Faulkner's t r i l o g y and the genre of South-western humor i s most v i v i d l y i l l u s t r a t e d by reference to p a r a l l e l s in Harris's work. S t i l l , while Faulkner's statement perhaps substantiates t h i s p a r t i c u l a r influence, an under-standing of the genre and the r e l a t i o n of Sut Lovingood to that genre w i l l serve to point out the elements of f r o n t i e r humor, to indicate why Harris was the most successful of t h i s group, and to suggest the scope of possible sources for Faulkner's f r o n t i e r humor. This background material, then, w i l l provide the knowledge necessary for an analysis of Faulkner's rel a t i o n s h i p to these f r o n t i e r humorists — an analysis that illuminates many p a r a l l e l s between Harris's and Faulkner's works. Although Faulkner i s Harris's superior in a l l a r t i s t i c matters, t h e i r s i m i l a r i t i e s in matters of structure, technique, theme, milieu, and characterization points towards Harris's influence on Faulkner. As Faulkner i s a r t i s t i c a l l y superior to Harris, Harris's work, in terms of f r o n t i e r humor, i s a r t i s t i c a l l y superior to those of the other Southwestern humorists. 10 FOOTNOTES: CHAPTER I. H f i l l i a m Faulkner, Mosquitoes (New York, 1962), p. 57. 2 Carvel C o l l i n s , "Faulkner and Certain E a r l i e r Southern F i c t i o n , " College English. XVI (November, 1954), P- 94« ^ C e c i l D. Eby, "Faulkner and the Southwestern Humorists," Shenandoah. XI (1959), 14. ^John B. Cullen, in collaboration with Floyd Watkins, Old Times in the Faulkner Country (Chapel H i l l , 1961), p. 130. $ I b i d . . p. 62. ^John Lewis Longley, J r . , The Tragic Mask: A Study of  Faulkner's Heroes (Chapel H i l l , 1963), pp. 16-17. 7 Mary Cooper Robb, William Faulkner: An Estimate of his  Contribution to the American Novel (Pittsburgh. 1963). P. 29. 8 I b i d . , p. 32. 0 'Lawrence Thompson, William Faulkner: An Introduction  and Interpretation (New York,1 9 6 3 ) , p. 14. 1 0 I b i d . . p. 135. My i t a l i c s . 1 1 I b i d . 1 2 I r v i n g Howe, William Faulkner: A C r i t i c a l Study (New York, 1962), p. 251. 1 3 I b i d . . p. 252. ^ C l e a n t h Brooks, William Faulkner: The Yoknapatawpha  County r (New Haven, 1963), p. 175. 1 5 I b i d . , p. 176. l 6 J e a n Stein, "William Faulkner: An Interview," in William Faulkner: Three Decades of C r i t i c i s m , eds. Frederick J . Hoffman and Olga W. Vickery (New York, 1963), p. 79. 11 I I . Southwestern Humor Southern regional humor and "Down East" humor became d i s t i n c t from one another in the early decades of the nine-teenth century. Together, they comprise an American humor, and t h e i r simultaneous b i r t h in p r i n t attests Americans* growing awareness of t h e i r p e c u l i a r i t i e s both as Americans (in contrast to Europeans) and as members of s p e c i f i c regions (in contrast to other regions of America). This i s not to say that Americans were not humorous in the preceding centuries, nor i s i t to assert that regional differences were not noted i n the e a r l i e r eras. In fact, exaggerating and emphasizing the p e c u l i a r i t i e s of l i f e , speech, and character in the new world was a salient aspect of a self-conscious eighteenth century America. A s t r i k i n g example, though not the f i r s t , * i s the song, "Yankee Doodle." The Revolutionary War, i t appears, f i r s t made Americans in general acquainted with t h e i r national p e c u l i a r i t i e s , and the B r i t i s h invaders evidently deserve credit f o r the discovery. The term, "Yankee," in widespread use to denote an. American dates back to about 1775, when i t was employed by invaders as a term of deri s i o n . "Yankee Doodle," a r o l l i c k i n g song which mysteriously emerged from the c o n f l i c t and be-came less of d e r i s i v e portrayal as the Yankees themselves perversely adopted i t , caught several q u a l i t i e s of the r u s t i c New Englander.... [The] d e t a i l s of a sketchy p o r t r a i t are made be l i e v -able partly because i t i s presented by the Yankee himself with a number of lapses into homely dialect.2 Americans* perception and l i t e r a r y representation of the d e t a i l s of t h e i r l i f e continued into the nineteenth century; 12 the accretion of these distinguishing, i n d i v i d u a l i z i n g d e t a i l s f i n a l l y resulted i n an American humor, a humor indigenous to America. When the indi v i d u a l uses common or t r a d i t i o n a l materials and does something indubitably his own with them, we c a l l t h i s genius. When the achievement i s that of a people we are j u s t i -f i e d . . . i n using the same word with the implica-tion of fresh creative energy which i t c a r r i e s . Whatever the common base, something incontestibly our own has been expressed in that highly mixed aggregation which we c a l l American humor. Twists have been given, strong colors added....3 In part, American humor arises from attempts to define America and Americans, f i r s t for the parent countries of Europe and, la t e r , for Americans themselves. And perhaps regional humor in the largest sense demands a foreign audience, an audience which i s not f a m i l i a r with the i n t r i c a c i e s of l i f e in the region. Should t h i s audience be unsympathetic to the region, the native*s assertion of a perverse pride in the p e c u l i a r i t i e s of his region can transform haughty scorn to an embarrassed in c r e d u l i t y and magnify the importance of the area by asserting the superiority of i t s values over those of the would-be c r i t i c s . This c o n f l i c t of values i s one incongruity at the heart of American humor. It i s manifested in the cases of Americans in contrast to the B r i t i s h and of Southerners i n contrast to Northerners. And as the Southwestern f r o n t i e r was i t s e l f comprised of microcosmic s o c i e t i e s , often antagonistic to one another, a s i m i l a r contrast must have existed on the f r o n t i e r i t s e l f . ^ 13 From th i s i s o l a t e d and sparsely s e t t l e d country emerged a group of Southwestern humorists. Among those who have 5 achieved l i t e r a r y s i gnificance are Augustus Baldwin Longstreet, Joseph Glover Baldwin, Johnson Jones Hooper, William Tappan Thompson, Thomas Bangs Thorpe, and George Washington Harris. To some extent, the growth of Southern humor i s revealed in t h e i r works. However, chronological arrangement cannot be considered very precise because much of these humorists' material o r i g i n a l l y derived from the pervasive oral t r a d i t i o n and appeared in newspapers before i t was c o l l e c t e d . ^ S t i l l , a pattern of growth can be detected. Not without exception, then, this l i t e r a t u r e through the pre-war decades moves towards greater i n d i v i d u a l i t y in character, more precise descriptions, and more and fa s t e r action i n the s t o r i e s . An apparent acceptance by l a t e r authors of f r o n t i e r values, such as speed, strength and cunning results in fewer squeamish apologies and tiresome moralizing. That i s , where Harris asserts his region's values, Longstreet apologizes for them, but both authors recognize them. Perhaps the most important tendencies of the genre's development are the increasing amount and quality of humorous backwoods f i g u r a t i v e speech and more and more emphasis on violence as an i n t e g r a l part of f r o n t i e r l i f e . The t r a d i t i o n i s not devoid of these elements at i t s inception; rather, the l a t e r authors become increasingly confident i n the humorous p o s s i b i l i t i e s of these elements. The t r a d i t i o n grows, then, from what might be loosely characterized as an essay tone to-wards one more highly f i c t i o n a l , more highly anecdotal and o r a l . 1 4 As might be expected, Augustus Baldwin Longstreet*s Georgia Scenes (I835), a seminal book in the t r a d i t i o n , r e f l e c t s a connection between the eighteenth century essay and the humor that was yet to come. Perhaps the most widely reprinted of the episodes in t h i s work i s "The Horse Swap," which i s notable among his episodes for i t s lack of polished d i c t i o n . But at the height of t h i s t a l e , when the two horse traders discover the f a u l t s of the horses they acquired in the trade, Longstreet describes the situation in the abstract rather than in concrete d e t a i l . "The p r e v a i l i n g f e e l i n g . . . was that of mirth. The laugh became loud and general at the old man's expense and r u s t i c witticisms were l i b e r a l l y be-7 stowed upon him and his late purchase." This i s the pre-v a i l i n g tone of the language in Longstreet*s work. His interpretation of f r o n t i e r language often incorporates the ungrammatical d i a l e c t , but lacks the f i g u r a t i v e language of the l a t e r humorists. The juxtaposition of the l i t e r a r y language and that of the f r o n t i e r i s incongruous, and t h i s incongruity can be used to humorous ends; but Longstreet*s pr e d i l e c t i o n to comment on the action of the story i s usually a tiresome hindrance to the progress of events. The old man's son t e l l s Blossom, the f l e e c e r , that the horse he now owns i s both b l i n d and deaf. The boy continues: "Yes, dod drot my soul i f he e i n ' t I You walk him and see i f he e i n ' t . His eyes don't look l i k e i t ; but he'd l i s t as leve go agin the house with you...." The laughs was now turned on Blossom, and many rushed to test 15 the f i d e l i t y of the l i t t l e boy's report. A few experiments established i t s truth beyond controversy.8 Whether consciously or unconsciously, in "An Interesting Interview," Longstreet does achieve a humorous effect from the incongruity of these two languages. The opening para-graph of a story of two drunken farmers contains h i s thoughts on drunkenness in such a sober tone that the reader may ques-t i o n Longstreet's in t e n t . I hope the day i s not f a r distant when drunkenness w i l l be unknown i n our highly favored country. The moral world i s r i s i n g in i t s strength against the all-destroying vice...*? He proceeds to describe the two farmers: Tobias was just c l e a r l y on the wrong side of the l i n e which divides drunk from sober, but Hardy was "r o y a l l y corned" (but not f a l l i n g ) a . a 1 This i s f a r more humorous than the use of r u s t i c language above because the tones, the p r e v a i l i n g emotions of the juxta-posed languages, are diametrically opposed, while the l i t t l e boy's speech i s merely ungrammatical and i s included more in the s p i r i t of a fa c t u a l report than that of the best f r o n t i e r humor, in which f r o n t i e r speech i s exaggerated into a homely sort of poetry. But as an early humorist of the f r o n t i e r , Longstreet catches as much of the f l a v o r of the expanding west as his st y l e permits. He t e l l s of a violent f i g h t between the "two best men i n the county which in the Georgia vocabulary means they could f l o g any other two men in the county."** But at the end of this episode he apologetically 16 moralizes thus: "Thanks be to the Christian r e l i g i o n , to schools, •••such scenes of barbarism and cruelty...are now of rare occurrence••.Wherever they p r e v a i l they are a d i s -12 grace to that community...." At his worst as a f r o n t i e r humorist, Longstreet descends to the depths of eighteenth century m o r a l i z i n g . ^ But at h i s best, Longstreet i s a f a i t h f u l reporter of the re a l language of the frontiersman, albeit sometimes a rather squeamish one, 1^ and a writer keenly aware of the ironies of comic re v e r s a l . His h i s t o r i c a l value l i e s in the fact that he was one of the e a r l i e s t f r o n t i e r humorists, and his best stories — admirable f o r t h e i r comedy, i f not comprised of the best elements of f r o n t i e r humor are among the best i n the genre. 15 But Joseph Glover Baldwin's Flush Times in Alabama ' (1854), a much l a t e r work, while entertaining as a sketch of the times, contains very l i t t l e f r o n t i e r humor. In f a c t , one c r i t i c finds Baldwin's work to be even more that of an essayist than Longstreet in Georgia Scenes.^ Baldwin's humor i s often more i n t e l l e c t u a l and sophisticated than that of h i s predecessors'. For instance, Baldwin says of Cave Burton's f a v o r i t e story: Ho mortal man had ever heard the end of t h i s story: l i k e Coleridge's s o l i l o q u i e s , i t branched out with innumerable suggestions, each i n i t s turn the parent of others, and these again breeding a new spawn, so that the further he t r a v e l l e d the less he went on. 17 17 But Baldwin was capable of writing f r o n t i e r humor, even of the quality that was published in The S p i r i t of the Times. In Flush Times, more nearly a chronicle than the other works in the genre, Baldwin occasionally writes of the f r o n t i e r in a comic mixture of f r o n t i e r language and p l a i n prose. When he relates the threat of a verbal bully to his lesser r i v a l , Baldwin describes the bully as: ...regretting that he did not have the chance of blowing a hole through his carcass with h i s 'Derringer* that 'a bull-bat could f l y through without tetching airy wing,* and giving him his solemn word of honor that i f he, (Sam) would only f i g h t him, (Jonas), he, (Jonas) wouldn't h i t him, (Sam), an inch above his hip bone — which was c e r t a i n l y encouraging.^ But the prevalent tone i n his book i s far too i n t e l l e c t u a l to be classed in any but the broadest d e f i n i t i o n of f r o n t i e r humor -- a humor which becomes more pure as i t approaches the o r a l humor of the frontiersman himself. Although the frontiersmen of the South would enjoy the hyperboles, par-t i c u l a r l y the understatement, he certainly would not consciously toy with figures in t h i s manner: This distinguished lawyer, unlike the majority of those favored subjects of the biographical muse, whom a p a t r i o t i c ambition to add to the moral treasures of the country, has prevailed on, over the i n s t i n c t s of a native and pro-f e s s i o n a l modesty, to supply subjects for the pens and pencils of t h e i r friends, was not quite, either in a l i t e r a l or metaphorical sense, a self-made man. He had ancestors. " Much of Baldwin's Flush Times f a l l s into the c l a s s i f i c a t i o n of f r o n t i e r humor, then, only because i t i s about the f r o n t i e r , and not because i t i s the f r o n t i e r . 18 And the most p r i s t i n e f r o n t i e r humor is. t n e South. That i s , the elements of the f r o n t i e r are ubiquitous within the s t o r i e s . To compare Longstreet and Baldwin with Johnson Jones Hooper i s to f i n d a pattern of development towards a l i t e r a r y realism that tends to fuse the frontiersman and his speech with the things he knows into a humor which he himself would accept. P a r t i a l l y derived from an oral t r a d i t i o n fostered by the men on the f r o n t i e r , the essence of f r o n t i e r humor seems to be within the characters' speech. Three, i f not more, developments to be seen i n Hooper's masterpiece, Simon  Suggs (1845), apparently conduced to increase the amount of t h i s language. These developments are: Hooper's intensive treatment of one cla s s , the southern poor white; his inven-tion of a strong central character, Simon Suggs; and the author's s t r i c t adherence to a theme of economic a c t i v i t y , implying, even necessitating the interaction of characters, and this verbally, i f not in other ways. Hooper consistently excels Longstreet and Baldwin i n comic plot and de t a i l e d descriptions of f r o n t i e r l i f e , or perhaps more accurately, what became the d e t a i l s of the stereotyped f r o n t i e r l i f e . Hooper, unlike Longstreet, whose stated desire was to write about "the manners, customs, amusements, wit, d i a l e c t , as they appear in a l l grades of society to an ear and eye 20 witness to them," sensed that i t was the middle group, not the planter or slave, but the poor white which would provide the best material f o r humor. An oddity i n himself, fettered by poverty and freed by his color, t h i s frontiersman became 19 the staple of successive f r o n t i e r humorists. Further, Hooper's characters speak more and speak more t y p i c a l l y the speech of f r o n t i e r humor than those of Longstreet or Baldwin. F i n a l l y , while those humorists have no strong central character in t h e i r episodes. Hooper has a very strong, although not neces-s a r i l y consistent character, Simon Suggs — a scoundrel of the f i r s t order. Having cheated his father at cards for a horse and con-cealing with tobacco the pinch of gun powder he l e f t in his mother's pipe bowl, Simon leaves home to make his way to Atlanta. He l i v e s up to his motto, " I t i s good to be s h i f t y 2 1 i n a new country," by actually disappearing f o r twenty years during which time he perfects himself in the art of l i v i n g "as merrily and as comfortably as possible at the 22 expense of others...." Thus, Simon i s a mature and experienced scoundrel for most of the book. His talents are c h i e f l y those of preying on those weaknesses of human nature which are heightened by the abnormalities of f r o n t i e r l i f e , and he would more than l i k e l y perish in any other society. That i s , Simon's exploits are those of f r o n t i e r scoundrels. He i s " s h i f t y " in both senses of the word. He i s a dishonest wanderer, a fortune-seeking picaro, a figure common to much f r o n t i e r humor. To f i n d the American picaro we must follow the American pioneer; the f r o n t i e r i s the natural habitat of the adventurer. The q u a l i t i e s fostered by the f r o n t i e r were the q u a l i t i e s indispensable to the picaro: nomadism, i n s e n s i b i l i t y to danger, shrewdness, non-chalance, gaity. 2 3 20 While Davy Crockett or Mike Fink might have a l l of these q u a l i t i e s , Simon most decidedly does not. Rather, h i s inordinate shrewdness and self-concern leads him to be extremely sensitive to the remotest p o s s i b i l i t y of danger. His nomadism i s therefore not that of the adventurer but that of a man f l e e i n g pursuit. And his gaiety i s short-l i v e d and without depth. He i s reported to be a r e v e l l e r , but the reader rarely sees t h i s aspect of him. What Simon's fellows might take for nonchalance i s usually the detachment of a man following the machinations of his scheming mind. As Hooper*8 characterization of Simon serves to further the development of the humorous f r o n t i e r picaro in l i t e r a t u r e , so does his use of language reveal his s k i l l f u l comic tech-nique. Here, as i n other aspects of f r o n t i e r humor per se. Hooper proves to have far more genius than either Longstreet or Baldwin. Like those humorists. Hooper uses a t h i r d person point of view, but he can mix standard English and the frontiersman's language for comic e f f e c t . For instance, when he explains Simon's reasoning about f i n a n c i a l matters. Hooper says, "As for those branches of the business [of land specula-t i o n ] , he [Simon] regarded them as only f i t for purse-proud clod-heads. Any f o o l , he reasoned, could speculate i f he had 25 / money.™ But even more successful as f r o n t i e r humor (and less frequent) i s Simon*s own speech. At his best. Hooper's o manifest s e n s i t i v i t y to the incongruities of f r o n t i e r f i g u r a -t i v e language i s almost u n r i v a l l e d by his contemporaries. 21 For example, c a l l i n g for people to pray at a camp meeting which he l a t e r b i l k s , Simon says, "Ante upl ...don't back out! Here am J , the wickedest... of sinners...now come in on narry p a i r and won a p i l e . ...the b l u f f game ain't played herel ...Everybody holds four aces, and when you bet you win!1* Even more c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of what becomes the s t y l i z e d f i g u r a t i v e language of the best f r o n t i e r humor are references to f r o n t i e r objects and animals. Simon, describing his bravery as he gives his q u a l i f i c a t i o n s for leadership of the motley "Tallapoosy Volluntares,*» uses just such an incongruous but e f f e c t i v e s i m i l e : "Let who run [away from danger], gentle-men, Simon Suggs w i l l a l l e r s be found thar s t i c k i n g thar, l i k e 27 a t i c k onder a cow's b e l l y . " The incongruity of describing bravery in terms of the stubborn tenacity of a t i c k provides the humor — the juxtaposition of heroism and a blood-sucking parasite may, indeed, serve to comment on Simon's character as well. Further, Hooper, l i k e Longstreet and Baldwin, often 28 juxtaposes Latinate language and f r o n t i e r terminology for humorous e f f e c t . Thus, Hooper writes, " I t was...an early hour; in fact — speaking according to the chronometrical standard in use at Fort Suggs — not more than 'fust-drink 29 time....'" More often, however. Hooper achieves a less masculine, less racy humor by going in the opposite d i r e c t i o n , from p l a i n prose to euphemised terms. "The widow Haycock desired...a certain 'plug' of tobacco...to supply her pipe." 22 But, having gotten t h i s "plug*, she returns to Fort Suggs 30 "with the weed of comfort i n her hand." As these examples might indicate. Hooper often uses the Incongruities of language to effect f r o n t i e r humor and t h i s more purposefully than Longstreet or Baldwin. Hooper's repetitious theme of embezzlement enables him to gain concrete and sometimes humorous examples of the poor 31 whites' independence and poverty. The frontiersman's s e l f -reliance ( s p e c i f i c a l l y , his code's a r t i c l e which v i r t u a l l y prohibited him from i n t e r f e r i n g with another man's business) lends c r e d i b i l i t y to Simon's fraudulent escapades — escapades which indicate the fast tempo of f r o n t i e r l i f e . Certainly, the speed with which Simon turns any si t u a t i o n to his advantage and the rapid transference of money in his deals tend to give Hooper's stories the tone of more and faster action that the s t o r i e s of Longstreet and Baldwin. In Simon Suggs. Hooper, through the creation of his picaresque hero, h i s regionalism, and his stories of action, combines many elements of the best f r o n t i e r humor. His work lacks but one element of the best f r o n t i e r humor -- the frontiersman's narration. Perhaps Hooper i n t u i t i v e l y recog-nizes the real source of the autocthonic American and the most laughable humor in his book, when he laments the inadequacy of his own pen for the task of recording such a memorable event as Simon's m i l i t a r y career. Hooper decides that u l t i -mately Simon would be his own best biographer: "Would that. 2 3 l i k e Caesar, he [Simon] could write himselft Then, indeed, 32 should Harvard y i e l d him honors, and his country — justice!""^ Indeed, the best and most p r i s t i n e f r o n t i e r humor i s , l i k e the r e a l "orature," t o l d by the frontiersman in his inimitable speech. William Tappan Thompson, in Major Jones's  Courtship ( I 8 4 3 ) , thus uses the epistolary form. In t h i s form — popularized by Seba Smith, the Northerner who created Jack Downing i n the 1830*s — the central character unwittingly characterizes himself. While Major Jones i s a believable character and uses f r o n t i e r figures as a means of expression, these l e t t e r s are about the domestic a f f a i r s i n s e t t l e d areas and consequently lack the furious action common to the best f r o n t i e r humor. In f a c t , B l a i r finds that " t h e i r greatest merit may be...in t h e i r limning of P i n e v i l l e , • . . [ t h e ] depic-33 tion of community and domestic existence."*^ Thus, although Jones's l e t t e r s perhaps describe l i f e in a Southern town more than on the Southern f r o n t i e r , they may represent the humorists* growing awareness of the comic value of the frontiersman's character and language. Certainly Thomas Bangs Thorpe, in his "The Big Bear of Arkansas" (I841), focuses on the "Big Bar," a frontiersman of the f i r s t order. In the story, a l i t e r a t e and interested narrator reports h i s experience aboard a M i s s i s s i p p i steam-boat. This narration includes a verbatim story t o l d by the "Big Bar" himself. At least as old as Chaucer*s Canterbury  Tales, t h i s narrative device, the mock oral tale (known also 24 as the framework narrative, story-within-a-story, and the box-like structure), i s of immense value to the f r o n t i e r humorists. Through i t s use they developed multifarious lev e l s of i n c o n g r u i t y , 3 ^ long known to be the sine qua non of comedy. But whatever humor arises from these incongruities, the most important value of the mock o r a l tale in r e l a t i o n to f r o n t i e r humor i s that i t provides for an abundant quantity of humorous f r o n t i e r speech. In Thorpe's story, the narrator describes the n B i g Bar,1* **who walked into the cabin, took a chair, put his feet on the stove, [and proceeded to extol the g l o r i e s of Arkansas] ... the creation state,..*a state where the s i l e runs down to the centre of the *arth...It*s a state without f a u l t , i t is.** 35 [And one passenger's retort] "Excepting mosquitoes,*"^ predi-cates the "Big Bar's" rambling comments on Arkansas mosquitoes. Thus, the raconteur figure, the "Big Bar," continues to relate short anecdotes about' h i s home state. The culminating yarn i s about a mysterious, giant bear who, after successfully eluding the "Big Bar" and his dogs for three years, submits to his end by walking into the "Big Bar's" f i e l d s the day before the "Big Bar" had vowed to hunt him. With the "Big Bar's" reverent opinion (that this p a r t i c u l a r bear "was an unhuntable bar, and died when hi s time come." ) ringing in t h e i r ears, the whole group i s depicted by the o r i g i n a l narrator. They s i t , s i l e n t l y contemplating the mysteries of the story f o r a few moments before the "Big Bar" "asked a l l 25 present to • l i q u o r , 1 [and] long before day, I [the o r i g i n a l narrator] was put ashore and...can only follow...in imagina-37 t i o n our Arkansas f r i e n d . . . . " ^ Indeed, the n B i g Bar** i s a memorable character. His language, his manner, the attention of his auditors, and his mysterious story r e f l e c t t h i s boisterous, fun-loving, super-s t i t i o u s braggart's character. Thorpe also sketches a scene indigenous to the American f r o n t i e r — a cabin f u l l of men who proudly d i s t o r t i n the i r own language the merits of l i f e i n t h e i r regions. Thorpe portrays both character and scene through the framework narrative. But "The Big Bear of Arkansas" i s Thorpe at his best. In f a c t , B l a i r says, "Unfortunately the t a l e i s not t y p i c a l of him. More often, he wrote passably good but e s s e n t i a l l y d u l l essays about various aspects of the 38 f r o n t i e r . . . . " J George Washington Harris, however, uses the box-like structure consistently; and thi s was at least a p a r t i a l reason f o r h i s success. "He learned to employ the best method for t e l l i n g a story..., making the most of the framework technique 39 f o r setting forth a mock oral tale."-' In the "Preface" to Sut Lovingood. the t y p i c a l format of the best tales i n the book i s established: 'You must have a preface, Sut; your book w i l l then be ready. What s h a l l I write:' 'Well, i f I must, I must... Sometimes, George I wished I could read and write just a l i t t l e . . . If I could write myself, i t would then r e a l l y been my book.*40 26 Thus, George, the writer, w i l l record Sut's tales as he t e l l s them. Through the use of t h i s device, Harris consistently bridges the gap between the printed page and the i l l i t e r a t e , h e l l - r a i s i n g backwoodsman. Sut Lovingood d i f f e r s from the other figures examined in t h i s chapter. His love of sheer d e v i l t r y and his very human f o i b l e s separate him from Simon Suggs and the "Big Bar..1* Sut's youth and i l l i t e r a c y separate him from Major Jones; and no character in Longstreet»s or Baldwin's works approaches the stature of Harris's-raconteur. Sut's down-to-earth p r a c t i -c a l i t y i s pervasive; and the subjects of his thoughts range extensively — from s e x ^ (a topic almost foreign to the other humorists) to writing a preface to a book. Sut finds the l a t t e r to be: ...a l i t t l e l i k e c u t t i n of the Ten Commandments into the rind of a watermelon: i t ' s just slashed open and the inside et outen i t , the rind and the Commandments broke a l l to pieces and flung to the hogs and never thought of once't — them nor the tarnal f o o l what cut 'em there. (SL xxxi) His human spitefulness and f r o n t i e r prejudices are revealed in one c r i t i c ' s long l i s t of Sut's antipathies. These are: "Yankee peddlars, Yankee lawyers, Yankee scissor-grinders, any kind of Yankee, s h e r i f f s , most preachers, learned men who use big words, tavern keepers who serve bad food and reformers." Himself a reformer, Sut i s also a hick philosopher and an ardent Southerner. Through his independence, he becomes perhaps the epitome of Jacksonian democracy; and through his insights, a vehicle for his creator's i d e a s . ^ As a prankster. 27 Sat i s often the catalyst that starts the riotous confusion of h i 8 s t o r i e s ; and beyond whatever appeal his actions may give him, Sut's language makes him more l i v e l y , more humanly manscullne, and more humorous than any other character in the genre* The staple of humorous f r o n t i e r language i s the incon-gruity of hyperbolic figures; and generally, the humor of these d i s t o r t i o n s i s proportionate to the contrast between the object and the image. Harris's mastery of these incon-g r u i t i e s in t h i s speech i s perhaps the best in the genre. Indeed, one c r i t i c finds, "If his [Harris's] writings were better than the rest [of the f r o n t i e r humorists'], they were better because he had more sense of incongruities, more exuberance, more imagination...."^ In terms of incongruity per se and the large number of f r o n t i e r figures i n his speech, Sut Lovingood i s unrivaled. His description of S i c i l y Burns*s bosom substantiates Harris's "sense of incongruities.** Sut says, "Such a bosomt Just think of two snow b a l l s with a strawberry stuck butt-ended into both on *em." (SL 3 5 ) And in describing Bake Boyd*s suggestion that the Yankee razor-grinder give public lectures, Sut uses an unusually large number of f r o n t i e r figures — more than one i s l i k e l y to f i n d in a whole story by Baldwin or Longstreet. Bake dwelt long onto the crop of dimes to be gathered from the f i e l d [ l e c t u r i n g ] ; that he*d [the razor-grinder] make more than there.were spots onto forty fawns in July, not to speak of the big gobs of 28 reputation he'd tote away — a-shinin a l l * over his clothes l i k e l i g h t n i n bugs onto a dog fennel top. (SL 28) In t h i s story, as in almost a l l of his s t o r i e s , Sut plays a prank on a deserving person. Here, Sut and Blake arrange the lecture for the avaricious Yankee razor-grinder, clownishly prompt him too quietly and then too loudly (in a language that sounds l i k e Cherokee), and, at the height of the lecturer's embarrassed confusion, they shoot a cannon and douse him with a "half b a r r e l f u l of water outen a puddle where a misfortunate dead sow had been f l o a t i n f o r ten days.1* (SL 29) The movie-house cartoon i s made of just such s t u f f . What i s humorous i s the utter chaos, the confusion of things, and the pain of the v i l l a i n who i s never permanently disabled. Sut's pranks involve a l l of these elements; and the f r o n t i e r d i a l e c t in which they are t o l d might be seen as a p a r a l l e l to the strange scene created by the animator's pen, for both help to remove the action from r e a l i t y . Yet Sut's own r e a l i s t i c thoughts and emotions render his stories something more than simple parables. Frontier humor i s at i t s most humorous when speedy action i s being related by a capable and witty raconteur. Detailed and figurative- descriptions of confusion, breakage, and humorously p a i n f u l and dangerous circumstances are the raconteur's stock-in-trade. His incongruous language heightens the incongruous chaos in t o the unreal but altogether j u s t i f i e d l o g ic of comedy in the world of fantasy. In Sut Lovingood. Harris combines the best elements of f r o n t i e r humor to produce a wealth of anecdotal farce. He 29 draws his characters quickly and makes e s s e n t i a l l y t r i t e themes and d u l l plots i n t e r e s t i n g . To a large extent Harris* unquestionable superiority derives from his consistent use of the framework narrative. Through i t , Sut speaks, and through Harris's v i v i d imagination, Sut becomes fa r more than an untutored bumpkin. In f a c t , Sut's diverse and innumerable bucolic figures make him the best s t o r y - t e l l e r of a book-length work and h i s quick and r e t r i b u t i v e mind make him the strongest character in the works examined in t h i s chapter. At once he i s precise and poetic; simultaneously, he i s i n s i g h t f u l and ac t i v e . In him the growth from genus American to an i n d i v i d u a l , a Southern, devil-may-care mountaineer of immense proportions, culminates. His values are those of the f r o n t i e r and in his presentation, the reader accepts them. As a f i r s t - r a t e raconteur, Sut has at least one quality of the Southern orator — "'What orator,' said a Kentuckian, 'can deign to r e s t r a i n his imagination within a vulgar and s t e r i l e state of f a c t s ? " * 4 5 The growth from an essay to an oral humor culminates in Sut Lovingood. Indeed, Walter B l a i r finds that " i n Sut Lovin  good the antebellum humor of the South reaches i t s highest l e v e l of achievement before Mark Twain. And Faulkner i s , I think, the best f r o n t i e r humorist since Mark Twain. 30 FOOTNOTES: CHAPTER I I . F. 0 . Matthie8sen finds that "frozen-faced exaggera-tion had been a part of our t r a d i t i o n at least as f a r back as Fr a n k l i n . When confronted in London (1765) with a mass of misinformation and falsehood about America, instead of denying them he i r o n i c a l l y vouched for t h e i r truth by capping them with others of his own invention. In a l e t t e r to a news-paper he spoke of the cod and whale f i s h i n g in the upper Lakes, and added: 'Ignorant people may object that the upper Lakes are fresh, and that Cod and Whale are Salt Water F i s h : but l e t them know. S i r , that Cod, l i k e other Fish when attack'd by t h e i r Enemies, f l y into any Water where they can be safest; that Whales, when they have a mind to eat Cod, pursue them wherever they f l y ; and that the grand Leap of the Whale in the Chase up the F a l l of Niagara i s esteemed, by a l l who have seen i t , as one of the f i n e s t Spectacles in Nature.*'" (F. 0. Matthiessen, American Renaissance: Art and Expression in the  Age of Emerson"and Whitman (New York. 1941). p. 639. o Walter B l a i r , Native American Humor (San Francisco, 1960), p. 17. ^Constance fiourke, "Examining the Soots of American Humor," American Scholar. IV (Spring, 1935), 252. 4Eby comments: " i n the Southwest a man from the next county was a stranger, one from the next state a foreigner, and one from north of the Ohio was an inhabitant of a d i f f e r e n t c e l e s t i a l world." (Eby, p. 14-) ^Others who are s i g n i f i c a n t figures in t h i s genre are: Madison Tensas, M.D. (pseudonym), Sol Smith, Joseph M. F i e l d , and John S. Robb. The quantity and popularity of t h e i r material warranted the publication of c o l l e c t i o n s of t h e i r work. There i s an immense number of men within the peripheries of t h i s f i e l d , through t h e i r contributions of single l e t t e r s or stories to the backwoods newspapers and The S p i r i t of the  Times, the most widely read and largest single source f o r regional humor. In th i s chapter I present a s i m p l i f i e d history of the genre's growth; my major conclusions, however, are sub-stantiated by such eminent c r i t i c s in t h i s f i e l d as Walter B l a i r , Franklin J . Meine, and Bernard De Voto. ^John J . H e f l i n says, "A rather vast oral l i t e r a t u r e , an 'orature,* must be recognized as having existed on the f r o n t i e r . ...Yarn spinning and the r e l a t i o n of anecdotes found t h e i r way into preaching; the a b i l i t y to t e l l a good story was a prime r e q u i s i t e in e c c l e s i a s t i c a l promotion. P o l i t i c a l orators delighted in l e t t i n g t h e i r imaginations soar, pouring forth thundering metaphors in highly i n f l e c t e d 31 language. Corollary o r a l arts which must be mentioned are the b a l l a d and song in which the f r o n t i e r folk l i t e r a t u r e abounded.** (John J . H e f l i n , J r . . George Washington Harris  (*»Sut Lovingood**): A Biographical and C r i t i c a l Study. Vanderbilt University Master»s Thesis (Nashville, 1934), p. 56. Franklin J . Meine finds that the growth of American humor, p a r t i c u l a r l y i n the Southwest, p a r a l l e l s the growth of the newspaper. "American humor has always been a spon-taneous part of everyday American l i f e ; and so the newspaper, chronicler of daily doings and l o c a l l i f e , has offered a quick and easy vehicle for a l l manner of humorous anecdotes, stories and t a l l t a l e s . The American newspaper as we know i t today — the *penny press* — began gathering momentum shortly after I83O; and during the period I83O-6O, especially in the South and Southwest, i t s growth was notably rapid.** (Franklin J . Meine, ed.. T a l l Tales of the Southwest (New York, 1930), x x v i i . ) [Augustus Baldwin Longstreet], Georgia Scenes (New York, 1897), P- 32. g Ibid.. p. 33. Many of the f r o n t i e r humorists use i t a l i c s , misspellings and emphatic punctuation to represent the o r a l humor of untutored frontiersmen. 9 I b i d . , p. 220. 1 0 I b i d . . p. 221. U I b i d . . P. 65. 1 2 I b i d . . p. 81. *^In "The *Charming Creature* as a Wife," a young Georgian lawyer receives a l e t t e r from his industrious mother i n the country, not unlike those Richardson's Pamela received from her parents at Squire B...*s. The opening lines of t h i s l e t t e r w i l l give clear i n d i c a t i o n of Longstreet*s c a p a b i l i t i e s in t h i s vein. "We a l l admit...the value of industry, economy — in short, of a l l the domestic and s o c i a l virtues; but how small the number who practice themt Golden sentiments are to be picked up anywhere."(Ibid.. p. 121.) ^He footnotes Ned Brace's expletive, "d—n the man," with this apology: "I should cer t a i n l y omit such expressions as t h i s , could I do so with h i s t o r i c f i d e l i t y ; but the p e c u l i a r i t i e s of the times of which I am writing cannot be f a i t h f u l l y represented without them. In recording things as  they are, truth requires me sometimes to put profane language into the mouths of my characters." (Ibid.. p. 51.) 32 15 Joseph 6. Baldwin, The Flash Times of Alabama and  Mis s i s s i p p i A Series of'Sketches (New York. 185it). Here-after referred to as Flush Times. * ^ B l a i r , Native American Humor, p. 78. 1 7Baldwin, p. 161. 1 8 I b i d . . p. 195-1 9 I b i d . . p. 121. 20 Bishop 0. P. Fitzgerald, Judge Longstreet: A L i f e  Sketch (Nashville, 1891), PP. 164-166, as quoted by B l a i r i n Native American Humor, p. 65 • 21 Johnson Jones Hooper, Adventures of Captain Simon  Suggs together with Taking the Census and other Alabama  sketches (Philadelphia. 18L&). p. 12. While Simon Suggs i s Hooper's l i t e r a r y masterpiece, some of his other works are: A Ride with Old Kit Kuncker (1849), Dog and Gun (1856), Read  and Circulate (1855). and Woodward's Reminiscences (185sY» 22 ' " i b i d . 2 3 L u c y L. Hazard, "The American Picaresque," The Trans-M i s s i s s i P P i West (Boulder, 1930), p. 198 as quoted by B l a i r in Native American Humor, p. 87. 2 4Simon*s emotional responses are often mechnical. In one episode, Simon's "tears r o l l e d down his face, as naturally as i f they had been c a l l e d forth by r e a l emotion, instead of being pumped up mechanically to give effect to the scene." (Hooper, p. 62.) 2 5 I b i d . , p. 35. 2 6 I b i d . . pp. 129-130. 2 7 I b i d . , p. 88. 28 This s i m i l a r i t y may result from the fact that Longstreet, Baldwin and Hooper were lawyers. 29, Hooper, p. 97. 1 . 3 1 , 3°Ibid.. p. 90. Perhaps somewhat grim by modern standards, but undoubtedly humorous to the frontiersmen of Hooper's time i s a woman who i s : "accounted wealthy in consideration of the fact that she 33 had a hundred d o l l a r s in money, and was the undisputed owner of one entire negro." (Ibid.. pp. 85-86.) 3 2 I b i d . . p. 82. 3 3 B l a i r , Native American Humor, p. 89. 3 ^ I b i d . . p. 92. B l a i r finds "the method was p a r t i c u l a r l y r i c h in i t s underlining of three types of i n c o n g r u i t i e s . " These are quoted in Chapter I I I , pp. 4 1 - 4 3 of t h i s t h e s i s . •^Thomas Bangs Thorpe, "Big Bear of Arkansas," in Franklin J . Meine, T a l l Tales of the Southwest (New York, 1930), pp. 9, 11-12. 3 6 I b i d . . p. [21]. 3 7 I b i d . 3 8 B l a i r , p. 95-3 9 I b i d . . p. 101. ^George Washington Harris, "Preface", Sut Lovingood. ed. Brom Weber (New York, 1954), xxxi. Hereafter referred to as SL with page references in parentheses. In the "Preface" Sut reverses the mock epic sentiments of Longstreet's lament: "Most book weavers seem to be scary f o l k s , for generally they comes up to the slaughter pen shinin and waggin t h e i r t a i l s , a-sayin: they 'knows they i s imperfect,' that 'fou'd scarce expect one of my f i t , ' and so fo r t h , so on, so along. Now, i f I i s a-rowin in that boat I ain't aware of i t , I ain't; for I knows the tremendous g i f t I has for breedin scares among durned f o o l s . . . " (SL x x x i i i ) ^*"But then, George, gals and ole maids ain't the things to f o o l time away on. It's widders, by g o l l y , what am the rea l sensible, steady-goin, never-scarin, never-kickin, w i l l i n , s p i r i t e d , smooth pacers. They come close't up to the hoss-block, standin s t i l l with t h e i r purty, s i l k y ears playing and the neck-veins a-throbbin, and waits for the word.... Give me a w i l l i n widder the earth over: what they don't know ain't worth l e a r n i n . They has a l l benn to Jamaicy and learnt how sugar's made, and knows how to sweeten with i t .... Widders am a s p e c i a l means, George, f o r ripenin green men, k i l l i n off weak ones, and makin 'ternally happy the sound ones." (SL 178-179) ^ 2 B l a i r , Native American Humor, p. 97-34 43 Brom Weber finds that, in part "Sut obviously functions as a device to carry forward a s a t i r i c a l discussion of p o l i t i -c a l and economic a f f a i r s , as well as Harris's thought about such matters as r e l i g i o n , temperance, women, and sentimentality. These wide-ranging intentions of Harris's overlapped, inevitably so because he was unable to devote himself exclusively to either f i c t i o n or journalism." (SL x x i i i ) H e f l i n explains, "A man of ambition in the Tennessee of that day was very l i k e l y to f i n d himself busily engaged in p o l i t i c s . The South's best minds were notoriously turned in that d i r e c t i o n . " (Heflin, p. 22.) 4 4 B l a i r , Native American Humor, p. 101. 4 5Constance Rourke, American Humor: A Study of the  National Character (New York, 1953), P» 58. 4 ^ B l a i r , Native American Humor, p. 101. Meine i m p l i c i t l y substantiates t h i s : "For v i v i d imagination, comic p l o t . Rabelaisian touch, and sheer fun, the Sut Lovingood Yarns surpass anything else in American humor." (Heine, p. xxiv) And Twain himself attested Harris's genius i n a review of Sut Lovingood (1867): " I t contains a l l of h i s early sketches, that used to be so popular in the West, such as his story of his father ' a c t i n ' hoss,' the l i z a r d s in the camp-meeting, etc., together with many new ones. The book abounds in humor .... It w i l l s e l l well in the West, but the Eastern people w i l l c a l l i t coarse and possibly taboo i t . " (Mark Twain, "Letter from 'Mark Twain'," No. 21. Quoted in Hennig Cohen, "Mark Twain's Sut Lovingood." The Lovingood Papers (1962), P« [19]*) T n « relationship of Mark Twain to Southwestern humor i s c l e a r . B l a i r says, "But most important of a l l [other influences, such as Down East humor] was the influence in Mark's writing of the humor of the old Southwest. He grew up with that humor. It adorned the newspaper and p e r i o d i c a l exchanges which came to his brother's newspaper, for which he set type. He heard oral versions of i t in Hannibal where he l i v e d as a boy and on the r i v e r steamboats where he worked as a young man. It followed him to the P a c i f i c Coast, where i t was published, sometimes in i t s old forms, sometimes i n newly adapted forms, in the newspapers. To i t , he was greatly indebted." ( B l a i r , Native American Humor, p. 153). Further-more, Twain did influence Faulkner, which suggests the p o s s i -b i l i t y that Southwestern humor influenced Faulkner through Twain, rather than d i r e c t l y . In my discussion of Faulkner's r e l a t i o n to Southwestern humor I concentrate on Harris because Faulkner has expressed admiration for him, because Twain's influence on Faulkner i s i t s e l f worthy of a study larger, than t h i s t h esis, and because while Harris's Sut Lovingood i s pure f r o n t i e r humor. Twain i s , l i k e Faulkner, much more than a f r o n t i e r humorist. 35 I I I . Structure and Technique Although a writer whose s e n s i b i l i t y encompasses extremes in both tragedy and comedy and whose pred i l e c t i o n for incon-gruity per se leads him to be especially e f f e c t i v e in such anomalies as tragi-comedy and the grotesque, Faulkner often p a r a l l e l s the structures and techniques of the Southwestern humorists in general, and Harris i n p a r t i c u l a r . T y p i c a l l y , the work of these regional humorists was f i r s t published in newspapers and c o l l e c t e d at a la t e r date. Between news-paper publication and t h e i r appearance in book form, these essays and "yarns** might be widely reprinted or revised. As a consequence, t h e i r books are c h a r a c t e r i s t i c a l l y episodic and sometimes inconsistent. The ostensible relationship between the structure of these co l l e c t i o n s of yarns and essays and the structure (in the largest sense) of Faulkner's t r i l o g y i s indeed s l i g h t . Faulkner himself claimed that he conceived the whole t r i l o g y at one moment i n the 'twenties.* Asked in 1957 whether he had The Town (at that time unpublished) " i n mind for a long time," Faulkner answered: Yes, I thought of the whole story at once l i k e a bolt of lightning l i g h t s up a land-scape and you see everything but i t takes time to write i t , and t h i s story I had in my mind for about t h i r t y years, and the one which I w i l l do next — i t happened at that same moment, t h i r t y years ago when I thought of i t , of getting at i t . * And in a l a t e r interview (after the publication of The 36 Town) Faulkner speaks even more d i r e c t l y about conceiving the t r i l o g y as a t r i l o g y : I discovered then that to t e l l the story [of the Snopeses] properly would be too many words to compress into one volume. It had to be two or three. ... I would have to keep on writing about these people u n t i l I got i t a l l told, and I assume that one more book w i l l do i t , although I don't have any great hopes that i t w i l l . 2 But, as his ambivalent expectations of t e l l i n g the whole story might indicate, the t r i l o g y was indubitably expanding in i t s implications at t h i s time; and while Faulkner may have seen the "entire landscape" t h i r t y years before, his execution of the t r i l o g y as a t r i l o g y was anything but orderly. In fact, his f i r s t expressions of that v i s i o n are in the short story genre, and each novel of the t r i l o g y 3 does include revised versions of these short s t o r i e s . How-ever, Faulkner executed many of his novels in a si m i l a r fashion and speaks about The Hamlet as i f transgressing genre d i s t i n c t i o n s was a matter of l i t t l e importance to him. "I wrote i t in the late twenties. . . . I t was mostly short s t o r i e s . In 1940 I got i t pulled together."^ In his foreword to The Mansion. Faulkner indicates what enables him to speak of the various forms -- short story, novel, and t r i l o g y — as i f they were allhpart of the same work of a r t : ...the author has already found more d i s -crepancies and contradictions than he hopes the reader w i l l — contradictions and d i s -crepancies due to the fact that the author 37 has learned, he believes, more about the human heart and i t s dilemma than he knew t h i r t y - f o u r years ago; and i s sure that, having l i v e d with them that long time, he knows the characters in th i s chronicle better than he did then. Indeed, Faulkner's p r e d i l e c t i o n to view his work in terms of character rather than form (he says of The Sound and the  Fury: W I was just t r y i n g to t e l l a story of Caddy, the l i t t l e g i r l who muddied her drawers..."^) indicates that his e a r l i e r v i s i o n of the t r i l o g y was more than l i k e l y one of character rather than of structure. Thus, the process from which the structure of the Snopes t r i l o g y evolves i s p a r a l l e l to the process of evolution of c o l l e c t e d editions of the f r o n t i e r humorists. While Harris's and Faulkner's works have a s i m i l a r s t r u c t u r a l genesis (written f i r s t as short s t o r i e s , and l a t e r collected into larger works), Sut Lovingood purports to be no more than a c o l l e c t i o n of t a l e s , whereas the t r i l o g y i s an organic work of a r t . Thus, t h e i r works of f r o n t i e r humor are s i m i l a r l y episodic. But Faulkner, an unquestionably superior l i t e r a r y a r t i s t , excels his pre-decessor in the subtle i n t r i c a c i e s of r e l a t i n g the episodes to the large super-structure of the whole t r i l o g y , to the structure of the novels, and to other episodes in the i n d i -vidual novels and the t r i l o g y . Harris relates episode to episode by simple verbal references; in his t r i l o g y , Faulkner makes an a r t i s t i c use of what has been c a l l e d the "episodic 7 looseness™ of such a work as The Hamlet. From Ab's horse 38 trade to Linda's purchase of the new car, Faulkner encourages the reader to seek p a r a l l e l s in incidents. The free associa-tion of just such episodes throughout the t r i l o g y can be i r o n i c and humorous. Moreover, a sort of l i t e r a r y realism may evolve from t h i s free association. Indeed, Olga Vickery finds that " t h i s simple device of repetition with v a r i a t i o n . . . becomes in Faulkner's hands an astonishingly e f f e c t i v e means for suggesting the quiddity of experience as well as the con-g t i n u i t y of certain t r a d i t i o n s in the midst of change." Thus, the number of p a r a l l e l s and the irony and humor and realism in these comparable incidents i n the t r i l o g y are indications of one way in which Faulkner's genius for s t r u c t u r a l orchestra-tion surpasses H a r r i s ' s . Faulkner's i n d i v i d u a l novels are s t r u c t u r a l l y more com-plex than any of the f r o n t i e r humorists* works partly because of his tendency to experiment, especially with the i n t r i c a c i e s of d i f f e r e n t points of view, and partly because his novels have large casts of characters. His s h i f t i n g of points of view i s in part responsible for the varying amounts of f r o n t i e r humor in the three novels as well as t h e i r success as novels. For instance, his emphasis on such serious characters, whether q u i x o t i c a l l y philosophic (as Gavin Stevens in The Town) or b i t t e r (as Mink Snopes in The Mansion), tends to l i m i t his f r o n t i e r humor as the themes and milieus of these l a t e r books l i m i t i t s appropriateness. The Town i s s t r u c t u r a l l y the weakest of the three novels. Miss Galbraith finds that "the 39 major weakness of the novel l i e s in the lack of integration of structure and symbolic pattern. ...This i s partly due to o the narrative method of The Town.** Faulkner's l i m i t e d point of view in the novel leads him to make his characters comment d i r e c t l y on p a r a l l e l incidents, a somewhat less commendable a r t i s t i c device (and one used by the Southwestern humorists) than that of The Hamlet, where, l e f t to make his own estimate, the reader i s overwhelmed by the p a r a l l e l s and multifarious i n t e r r e l a t i o n s h i p s and variations of similar incidents. Each of the three novels contains i n t e r e s t i n g relationships of sub-plot to plot as well as sub-plot to sub-plot; and The Hamlet*^ i s f a r superior to the other novels in the t r i l o g y in i t s a r t i s t i c rendition of these rela t i o n s h i p s . In a l l matters of structure, Faulkner i s more an a r t i s t than his predecessor. The greatest s i m i l a r i t y of structure between Faulkner and Harris l i e s in t h e i r p a r a l l e l use of the box-like struc-ture for humorous purposes. Faulkner does not l i m i t his use of this device to humorous ends alone. In Absalom, Absalom!, by no means a comic novel, he adroit l y transcends the barriers of time and place by using t h i s structure. However, i t i s not unlikely that his e a r l i e s t use of t h i s device was for humorous purposes, for some of the comic short stories (such as "Spotted Horses") which are incorporated into the Snopes t r i l o g y were written before 1931, when the publication of his •pot-boiler,* Sanctuary, increased the demand for his work. But whatever the purposes of his e a r l i e s t use of t h i s structur 40 device, Faulkner's use of the framework narrative in the t r i l o g y i s remarkably si m i l a r to Harris's use of i t i n Sut Lovingood. And, as in his other st r u c t u r a l accomplishments, Faulkner's use of t h i s device i s more a r t i s t i c , more complex, and in the creation of a r e a l i s t i c l i t e r a t u r e , more e f f e c t i v e than Harris's nineteenth century use. In Sut Lovingood. Sut t e l l s a l l the t a l e s ; but i n Faulkner's t r i l o g y , many characters p a r t i c i p a t e as raconteurs of major or minor importance. And each novel has a d i f f e r e n t basic point of view. That of The Hamlet i s omniscient, a l -though characters often t e l l s t o r i e s . In The Town there are three people, R a t l i f f , Gavin, and Charles Mallison, t e l l i n g the s t o r i e s . These characters incorporate parts of what the other two say and relate other characters' versions of the events. The point of view in The Mansion s h i f t s from the omniscient and Montgomery Ward Snopes's points of view in "Mink" to R a t l i f f ' s , Gavin's and Charles Mallison's in "Linda** and back to the omniscient in **Flem.** This omniscient point of view also enables Faulkner to make characters t e l l a story. The p r i n c i p l e f r o n t i e r raconteur i s , of course, R a t l i f f ; but the action passage i n "Centaur in Brass" in The Town 1 1 i s t o l d by Charles Mallison (though he, l i k e Sterne*s Tristram Shandy, i s yet to be born when the incident takes place), who reports what his cousin, Gowan Stevens, heard about i t from the b o i l e r watchman, Mr. Harker. The st r u c t u r a l complexities of the t r i l o g y , then, derive from both the d i f f e r e n t basic points of view in the separate novels 41 and from the fact that some stories from The Hamlet are reto l d in The Town and stories from both of these are re-t o l d in The Mansion, from a point of view perhaps d i f f e r e n t from those of e a r l i e r versions. Faulkner's use of the box-like structure shows the same three types of incongruity B l a i r finds i n the f r o n t i e r humorists* use of i t . The "incongruity between the s i t u a -tion at the time the yarn was t o l d and the si t u a t i o n i n the 12 yarn i t s e l f * * i s used often by Faulkner i n the t r i l o g y . Certainly, S a t l i f f * s vision of Flem haggling about his soul with the Devil in The Hamlet and Charles's account of what K a t l i f f t e l l s Gavin about Tug Nightingales's battle with Skeets in The Mansion o f f e r superb examples of the comic necessity of detachment that Faulkner derives, l i k e Harris, 13 through t h i s incongruity. J Faulkner's most complex use of the device for the sake of detachment i s in The Town. In th i s novel Faulkner's use of the structure and the incongruity between the action and t e l l i n g of the episodes conduces to both bourgeois humor*4 and f r o n t i e r humor. Charles's account of Eck Snopes's death i n the explosion of the o i l tank i s heightened by a kind of grim humor when he uses Mr. Nunnery's words and suddenly gives comic r e l i e f from an es s e n t i a l l y t r a g i c event, the untimely death of the only "good**, mature Snopes. Thus, the pain and tragedy of the si t u a t i o n i s somewhat mitigated: 42 ...she sai d she was s t i l l running when the explosion (she said she never heard i t , she never heard anything, or she would have stopped) knocked her down and the a i r a l l around her whizzing with pieces of the tank l i k e a swarm of bumble bees. (T, 109) This episode, which occurred when Charles was four so that he himself (not Charles v i a Gowan) can t e l l i t , i s t o l d in the past tense u n t i l Charles, as raconteur, chooses to make the action immediate and close. By moving through various characters' versions, Faulkner renders variations of perspec-t i v e and detachment and, hence, of incongruity in the episodes. Indeed, the action of The Town makes thi s incongruity especially important in that novel. For The Town lacks the exuberance of language and numerous c o l o r f u l incidents of The Hamlet and the intensity of Mink's character i n The  Mansion. While The Town i s surely i n f e r i o r to the other two novels in many respects, perhaps i t s lack of action i s more true to the r e a l tone of l i f e in the South than the l i t e r a r y realism Faulkner achieves in the rest of the t r i l o g y . And i t i s in t h i s novel that Faulkner emphasizes incongruity not only between event and raconteur, but also between raconteur and raconteur. To a great extent, then, Faulkner emphasizes the t e l l i n g of the t a l e and not the tale i t s e l f in The Town. For instance, Charles Mallison's description of Gavin's tendency to see things d i f f e r e n t l y than others would see them i s in i t s e l f humorous and i s a key to the bourgeois humor i n the novel. Emphasizing the importance of narrator to event, Charles says: 43 . . . u n t i l now he sounded a good deal l i k e I sounded sometimes. But Gavin stood.•.[with] the eyes and the face that you never did quite know what they were going to say next except that when you heard i t you r e a l i s e d i t was only a l i t t l e cranksided thatanobody else would have said i t quite that way. (T 182) Thus, the incongruity, more evident in the varied points of view, deriving more from point of view per se than from language, and more useful in detaching the reader from the events of a small bourgeois town and focusing his attention on the r e l a t i o n of t e l l e r to tale and t e l l e r to t e l l e r , i s p a r t i c u l a r l y important for Faulkner's humor in The Town. In his emphasis on the t a l e - t e l l e r relationship, Faulkner uses the same incongruity of the framework narrative that merely provides detachment from the event in Southwestern humor. But Faulkner also uses t h i s incongruity for another sort of detachment — one which allows him to treat the more mundane aspects of h i s region and more bourgeois Jeffersonians in a r e a l i s t i c i f not uproariously humorous way. By deviating from Harris's emphasis on the t a l e to his own emphasis on the t e l l e r - t a l e incongruity, as well as through other devia-tions from Southwestern humor, Faulkner gains range of expression without s a c r i f i c i n g any of the necessities f o r the more riotous f r o n t i e r humor. The other two incongruities B l a i r finds in the box-like structure are incongruities of language: Incongruity between the grammatical, highly r h e t o r i c a l language of the framework on the 44 one hand and, on the other, the ungrammatical racy d i a l e c t of the narrator. ...Incongruity between realism -- discoverable in the framework wherein the scene and the narrator are r e a l i s t i c a l l y portrayed, and fantasy, which enters into the enclosed narra-t i v e because the narrator selects d e t a i l s and uses figures of speech, epithets, and verbs which give grotesque coloring. 15 Both Harris and Faulkner make use of these language incongruities in t h e i r works. In such a novel as The Hamlet, their language s i m i l a r i t i e s are manifestly evident. Faulkner's p r i n c i p l e raconteur, V. K. R a t l i f f , i s as well acquainted with the technique of f r o n t i e r language as Sut Lovingood. And in the reworked version of *»Fool About a. Horse,1* the story of Ab Snopes's horse trade with Pat Stamper, R a t l i f f ' s knowledge of f r o n t i e r hyperbole and figure predicates much of the humor. For instance his ungrammatical d i c t i o n and homely similes occur in his description of Ab and his f i r s t horse leaving French-man* s Bend. [The horse was].. .kind of half walking and half r i d i n g on the double tree and Ab*s face looking worrieder and worrieder every time i t f a i l e d to l i f t i t s feet high enough to step, when a l l of a sudden that horse popped into a sweat. It flung i t s head up l i k e i t had been touched with a hot poker and stepped up into the c o l l a r , touching the c o l l a r for the f i r s t time since the mule had taken the weight of i t when Ab shaken out the whip i n the l o t , and so we come down the h i l l . . . w i t h that horse[*s]...eyes r o l l i n g white as darning eggs and i t s mane and t a i l swirling l i k e a grass f i r e . (H 34) After he trades Pat Stamper f o r the two mules and proceeds to Jefferson, Ab finds his new team outside Cain's hardware 45 store. R a t l i f f 1 s narration offers a good example of the comic hyperbole possible through the use of f r o n t i e r f i g u r e s : "They [the mules] were laying down*..with t h e i r heads snubbed up together and pointing straight up and th e i r tongues hanging out and t h e i r eyes popping and t h e i r necks stretched about four foot and t h e i r legs doubled back under them l i k e shot rabbits.** (H 40) Thus, R a t l i f f proves to be as capable of detailed description as Sut Lovingood; and they have a common interest i n the incongruity between subject and image. In fact, Sut uses very nearly the same image when he brags about his new horse to the men in front of Pat Hash's grocery. "You never seed a r e a l hoss t i l l I r i d up. You'se p'raps stole or owned shod rabbits, or sheep with borrowed saddles on...." (SL 4) R a t l i f f often achieves a comic effect by describing one kind of f r o n t i e r animal by comparing i t to another. Perhaps even more humorous than the mules that looked l i k e "shot r a b b i t s " i s Ab's new horse which was, R a t l i f f says, "...hog fat,....not l i k e a horse i s fat but l i k e a hog: fat right up to i t s ears and looking tight as a drum." (H 41) Sut and R a t l i f f also use f r o n t i e r figures to describe people and t h e i r p e r s o n a l i t i e s . Sut says: "Bake Boyd... were nigh onto as clever a fellow as ever were borned. There were durn l i t t l e weavil in his wheat, mighty small chance of water in his whiskey... (SL 2 7 ) Ab's predicament, that of having f i e l d s to plow and no team to do i t with. 46 would only be solved, R a t l i f f t e l l s b i s l i s t e n e r s , i f Ab "walked up to Old Man Anse's and borrowed a span of mules which would be just l i k e going up to a rattlesnake and borrowing a r a t t l e . " (H 45) Sut and R a t l i f f can give t h e i r own or other characters* moods through a well-chosen f r o n t i e r f igure. Sut»s exaggerated praise for S i c i l y Burns r e f l e c t s the exuberance of his puppy love for her. When George men-tions that she i s a handsome g i r l , Sut explodes: 'Handsome!* That-there word don*t cover the case. It sounds sorta l i k e c a l l i n good whiskey 'strong water* when you are ten mile from a s t i l l - h o u s e , i t * s a-rainin, and your flask only h a l f - f u l l . She shows among women l i k e a sunflower among dog fennel, or a hollyhock in a patch of smart-weed. (SL 35) R a t l i f f * s and Ab*s dejection after the horse trade i s expressed in R a t l i f f * s description of Ab's empty l o t . "It had never been a big l o t and i t would look kind of crowded even with just one horse i n i t . But now i t looked l i k e a l l Texas." (H 47) But while Sut rarely changes moods — he i s always exuberant — R a t l i f f increases the f e e l i n g of dejection he and Ab share when Mrs. Snopes trades the cow for the separator. Accordingly, R a t l i f f says, " I t [the l o t ] looked l i k e i t would have held a l l Texas and Kansas too." (H 48) In another major episode t o l d by, or rather thought by, R a t l i f f in The Hamlet, he embellishes the fantasy of the backwoods poetry by creating a setting of fantasy when he envisions Flem i n H e l l . R a t l i f f * s Imagined biographical sketch of the present "Prince" includes perhaps the best 47 f a n c i f u l d e t a i l s in Faulkner's Southwestern humor, i f not in the genre. S a t l i f f , l i k e Faulkner, thinks in terms of family and upbringing. Thus, the "Prince 1* has one of h i s early tutors, perhaps i n about the same capacity as old family servants in other Faulkner novels, as an advisor. The d e v i l and his advisor argue v i o l e n t l y about the r e l a t i v e merits of the current "Prince** and his father. S a t l i f f then imagines the "Prince's" momentary sentimentalism thus: But he [the Prince] remembered them old days  when the old fellow was smiling fond and proud  on his crude youthful inventions with BB size  lava and brimstone and such, and bragging to  the old Prince at night about how the boy done  that day, about what he invented to do.. .that  even the grown folks hadn*t thought of yet. In addition to t h i s extremely f a n c i f u l v i s i o n , the incongruity of R a t l i f f ' s c o u n t r i f i e d narration and the backwoods d i c t i o n of Flem, as well as of the d e v i l in H e l l , combine to create one of the most r i s i b l e of episodes in Faulkner's canon. Faulkner's use of the framework narrative in ".-"Fool About a Horse" and a device very close to i t in the Flem-Oevil passage i s s i m i l a r to Harris's use of the structure i n that both authors have a p a r a l l e l , i f not the same apprecia-t i o n of the possible incongruities between realism and fantasy. Both raconteurs do t e l l s t o r i e s of fantasy, but R a t l i f f also p a r t i c i p a t e s in the action of a complex novel. R a t l i f f , as a character, discusses l o c a l events with such men as Bookwright and W i l l Varner. These chats also provide much f r o n t i e r humor, but i t i s a humor akin to wit. Further, (H 152-153 48 almost a l l of the male characters at least can understand and many of them do speak in t h i s language with varying degrees of comic success. The reason that R a t l i f f seems to be respon-s i b l e f o r th i s language i s that he i s apparently the reader's source of information, for again and again in The Hamlet Faulkner returns to R a t l i f f , who speaks in t h i s c o u n t r i f i e d language. Almost a l l the events in the novel are either part of R a t l i f f ' s experience, or other characters t e l l him about them, at which times he often analyzes the significance of these events. The language techniques of f r o n t i e r humor are used, then, by Faulkner in the speech of many characters. While the incongruity of t h i s f i g u r a t i v e speech i s generally humorous, the frontiersman can be witty. Indeed, R a t l i f f ' s purposefully •ague and non-committal f i g u r a t i v e answer to Jody Varner's question about the Snopes's barn burning habits i s a splendid example. **I dont know as I would go on record as saying he set ere a one of them a f i r e . I would put i t that they both taken f i r e while he was more or less associated with them. You might say that f i r e seems to follow him around, l i k e dogs follow some f o l k s . " (H 1 3 ) This contains both the i n t e l l e c t u a l d i s t i n c t i o n s (which usually center on the precise meanings of words) common to wit and a superb example of f r o n t i e r understatement. Other examples of f r o n t i e r speech are even attributed to anonymous characters. One such i s a l i s t e n e r to R a t l i f f ' s t a le of the Snopes-Stamper episode. Before R a t l i f f has started t e l l i n g 49 the story, the l i s t e n e r asks incredulously, **You mean he [Ab] locked horns with Pat Stamper and even had the b r i d l e l e f t to take home?" (H 3O) This p a r t i c u l a r comment i s ostensibly Faulkner's reason for giving a short sketch of t h i s horse trader and his Negro h o s t l e r - a r t i s t , who became a legend within t h e i r own l i f e - t i m e . The culminating remark in a comic discussion two anonymous frontiersmen have at the auction sums up Flem's secretive nature: "Flam Snopes don't even t e l l himself what he i s up to. Not i f he was laying i n with himself i n an empty house in the dark of the moon.1* (H 284) In addition to anonymous comments, Bookwright's steadfast reduction of a l l things to his own earthy point of view i s often e f f e c t i v e in s e t t i n g the tone of the f r o n t i e r or poor-white l i f e in The Hamlet. For instance, when T u l l orders steak at R a t l i f f ' s restaurant, Bookwright orders thus: **I won't. ...I been watching the dripping sterns of steaks for two days now.** (H 69) But the use of the f r o n t i e r language i s not l i m i t e d to humorous purposes in The Hamlet, and Book-wright again provides a good example of a more serious use. When R a t l i f f i s f i n a l l y exasperated about the Snopes family and says that he w i l l do no more to help the inhabitants of Frenchman's Bend or his larger cause -- rightness and freedom — Bookwright answers him, **Hook your drag up, i t aint nothing but a h i l l . * * (H 326) These examples by no means exhaust the profusion of f r o n t i e r f i g u r a t i v e language i n the speech of the characters 50 (other than the raconteur, R a t l i f f ) in The Hamlet. Rather, these are merely representative instances of characters r e l a t i n g t h e i r thoughts to the l i f e at hand. This phenomenon of backwoods language pervades The Hamlet, in which (to judge from the language) characters continually search for humorous figures of speech. The characters, then, either through the framework narra-t i v e or when merely speaking to each other, o f f e r good examples of f r o n t i e r language. R a t l i f f , as both raconteur and ubiquitous character, seems to be the source of much of t h i s language, as indeed he i s . But the casual reader of The Hamlet probably would be amazed to learn that the Snopes-Stamper episode and the Flem-Devil passage are the only major episodes of The  Hamlet which are actually narrated by R a t l i f f . For we look to him for the ra t i o n a l man's opinion about the events of the novel and connect most of the f r o n t i e r language with his character. But in The Hamlet. Faulkner often deviates from the s t r i c t box-like structure of the Southwestern humorists and uses an omniscient point of view, by which he gains freedom and range of expression. Further, Faulkner's desire to make R a t l i f f the primary protagonist against Flem Snopes again l i m i t s R a t l i f f from actually t e l l i n g many of the t a l e s . The "Spotted Horses" passage i s a case in point. R a t l i f f (Suratt) does t e l l the e a r l i e r short story version but Faulkner's love for the incongruities posed by the juxtaposition of numerous languages could not be yoked to such a limited point of view in The Hamlet version. 51 The "Spotted Horses" passage i s more than a good example of Faulkner's genius for f r o n t i e r humor for there i s an immense range of language in th i s episode — from Mrs. LittleJohn's profanity to the highly romantic description of the pear tree. Malcolm Cowley says: The version of "Spotted Horses" used in The  Hamlet . . . i s nearly three times as long as the magazine version printed ten years e a r l i e r in Scribner* s. as well as being nearly three times as good. I don't think i t would be too much to c a l l i t the funniest American story since Mark Twain.16 Cowley's enthusiasm i s e n t i r e l y j u s t i f i e d , both in terms of the language and the action in the episode. The Hamlet i t s e l f has a wide and e f f e c t i v e range of language, but in the "Spotted Horses" section, t h i s range i s integrated b r i l l i a n t l y in a short piece; and the incongruities of the various language styles are an indication of Faulkner's genius f o r the incongruity of language. We have seen that Harris and his contemporaries reacted with varying success against the Latinate language of the eighteenth century. Fred Lewis Pattee characterizes the l a t e r , post-bellum s p i r i t of f r o n t i e r humor thus: Everywhere there was a swing toward the wild and unconventional, even toward the coarse and repulsive. The effeminacy of early Tennysonianism, the cloying sweetness of the mid-centural annual, Keatsism, Hyperionism...had culminated in reac-t i o n . There was a craving for the acr i d tang of uncultivated things i n borderlands and f i e l d s unsown.17 One of Faulkner's major achievements in language technique i s , I think, h i s successful integration of the two f i g u r a t i v e 52 languages, a feat that could not have been r e a l i z e d through the s t r i c t use of the box-like structure. Faulkner incor-porates both romantic description and realism to suit his purposes and to s a t i s f y his love of incongruity per se in the following: The pear tree across the road opposite was now in f u l l and frosty bloom, the twigs and branches springing not outward from the limbs but standing motionless and perpendicular above the horizontal broughs l i k e the separate and upstreaming hair of a drowned woman sleeping upon the uttermost f l o o r of the windless and t i d e l e s s sea.18 **Anse McCallum brought two of them horses back from Texas once,** one of the men&on the steps said. (H 281) This and s i m i l a r n o n - r e a l i s t i c images give the episode a fantasy-like super-reality. In r e l a t i o n to the humor of the story, these passages have at least two purposes: they stop and pace the motion and violence of the humorous passages, and they present a further incongruity, that of the s t i l l night and the utter confusion of the men chasing the horses. Variously using the poetic languages of romantic poets and f r o n t i e r humorists, Faulkner himself uses the f i g u r a t i v e language of the f r o n t i e r i n t h i s episode. He describes the horses, momentarily motionless, as being, ...larger than rabbits and gaudy as parrots.... Calico-coated, small-bodied, with delicate legs and pink faces in which t h e i r mismatched eyes r o l l e d wild and subdued, they huddled, gaudy motionless and a l e r t , wild as deer, deadly as rattlesnakes, quiet as doves. (H 275) The contrast of the image and the object, the incongruity of the poetry and i t s subject i s what provides humor. Precise counterpointing of concepts i s one of Faulkner's f a v o r i t e 53 devices for humorous as well as serious writing. Thus, the horses* eyes are at once "wild and subdued." Another element of f r o n t i e r humor, p a r t i c u l a r l y Harris's, appears in Faulkner's "Spotted Horses" section. This i s the furious confusion, motion, and violence which i s the staple of Sut Lovingood's humor, for Sut has a keen eye for detailed description of breakage and damage. By rapidly l i s t i n g those things which are broken in the melees that are c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of what Sut finds humorous, he gives the reader some in d i c a -tion of furious speed and confusion. For instance, when the Burns's b u l l , "Old Sock," backs into the house, he crashes into a cupboard in one backward lunge. 'Pickle crocks, preserve jars, vinegar jugs, seed bags, herb bunches, paregoric bottles, egg baskets, and delf ware — a l l mixed damn promiscuously and not worth the s o r t i n by a d o l l a r and a h a l f . ' (SL 51) And in the next lunge he makes a holocaust of the wedding feast. 'Tatars, cabbage, meat, soup, beans, sop, dumplins and the truck you wallers 'em i n . . . milk, plates, pies,...and every durned f i x i n you could think of in a week were there, mixed and mashed l i k e i t had been thru a threshin-machine.* (SL 52) Faulkner's description of the horses* escape i s as de-t a i l e d as Sut*s description of the damage "Old Sock" did at the wedding. The herd [was] sweeping on across the l o t , to crash through the gate which the l a s t man through i t neglected to close...carrying a l l of the gate save upright to which the hinges were na i l e d with them, and so among the teams and wagons which choked the lane, the teams 54 springing and lunging too, snapping h i t c h -reins and tongues. Then the whole inextricable mass crashed among the wagons... (H 3 O 6 - 3 O 7 ) And Faulkner describes Eck's " f r e e " horse crashing into T u l l ' s w wagon both i n d e t a i l and with the aid of a f r o n t i e r s i m i l e . The horse neither checked nor swerved. It crashed once on the wooden bridge and rushed between the two mules which waked lunging in opposite directions in the traces, the horse now apparently scrambling along the wagon-tongue i t s e l f l i k e a mad s q u i r r e l and scrab-b l i n g at the end-gate of the wagon with i t s f o r e f e e t . . . (H 3 0 8 - 3 0 9 ) Faulkner's omniscient narration in these passages of action has obvious p a r a l l e l s to Sut Lovingood*s. Both describe the d e t a i l s of f r o n t i e r animals and objects in confusion. Their descriptions are dominated by nouns and verbs to repre-sent the motion, mess, and noise of these comic events. Their use of f i g u r a t i v e language of the f r o n t i e r enables both to sum up and heighten the preceeding action in a single v i v i d image. And both Faulkner and Sut f i n d noise and damage conducive to h i l a r i o u s humor. Although the "Spotted Horses" passage i s not pure f r o n t i e r humor ( i t ranges through too many dif f e r e n t languages to f i t into t h i s pigeon-hole) the episode i s perhaps Faulkner's most b r i l l i a n t l y kaleidoscopic passage of f r o n t i e r humor in The Hamlet. i f not in his canon. His achievement here i s the result of his successful juxtaposition of multifarious incon-g r u i t i e s . For instance, in the language alone, he combines such a n t i t h e t i c a l elements as high poetry and low comedy 55 through his use of the omniscient narrative. His own poetic description of the pear tree, Eula, and the swirling masses of horseflesh i s contrasted with the earthy speech of the characters during the confusion and t h e i r swapping of ind i v i d u a l accounts of the event afterward on W i l l Varner's porch. In addition, there are somewhat less r e a l i s t i c elements — Faulkner's own f r o n t i e r f i g u r a t i v e language and the peasants' semi-poetic superstitions about the moon's effect on growing things. Thus, rapidly changing the tone of the story by juxtaposing these various languages, Faulkner indeed heightens the atmosphere of swi r l i n g per se. and t h i s , l i k e Sut Lovingood, with an extraordinary eye for d e t a i l and s e n s i t i v i t y to the comic effects of fast action. In The Town and The Mansion there are, I think, three major episodes that are cl e a r l y in the t r a d i t i o n of f r o n t i e r humor, and, l i k e Sut Lovingood's st o r i e s , a l l contain passages of action. These are "Centaur i n Brass," "Mule in the Yard," and "By the People." A l l were o r i g i n a l l y short stories and a l l are t o l d by more than one person. In these l a t e r novels Faulkner finds that t e l l i n g a story through more than one person's eyes increases the range of figur a t i v e language he can use in any one s i t u a t i o n . None of these minor narrators are as important as R a t l i f f , and some of them, old Het for example, seem to exist solely for the comments they make. As raconteurs or p a r t i a l raconteurs they might be considered as extensions of R a t l i f f ' s s e n s i b i l i t i e s as they can enhance. 56 or detract from R a t l i f f ' s i n s t i n c t i v e l y excellent story-t e l l i n g s k i l l . "Centaur in Brass" and "Mule i n the Yard" benefit from r e v i s i o n . In the former story the anonymous narrator, as well as Faulkner, R a t l i f f , and Chick in other novels, describes 19 Flam's eyes as the color of stagnant water, but in The Town. Harker, a man well acquainted with machinery, describes Flem thus: "him standing there chewing, with his eyes looking 20 l i k e two gobs of cup grease on raw dough...P (T 22) In the o r i g i n a l , the chase i s described thus: ...the two of them a strange and furious beast with two heads and a single pair of legs l i k e an inverted centaur speeding phantomlike just ahead of the board-like streaming of Tom-Tom's s h i r t - t a i l and just beneath the s i l v e r g l i n t , of the l i f t e d knife}... (Collected S t o r i e s . I64) and by Harker in The Town: "Jest exactly as on time as two engines switching freight cars. Tom Tom must a made his jump jest exactly when Turl whirled to run, Turl jumping out of the house into the moonlight with Tom Tom and the butcher knife r i d i n g on his back so that they looked jest l i k e — what do you c a l l them double-jointed half-horse f e l l e r s in the old picture books?" "Centaur," Gowan said, "-looking jest l i k e a centawyer running on i t s hind legs and try i n g to ketch up with i t s e l f with a butcher knife about a yard long in one of i t s extry front hoofs..." (T 26) Faulkner's addition of Harker's description i s not only con-sistent with Harker's character; i t has converted t h i s passage into regional humor. The centaur image, presented in Harker's uncertain manner, i s f a r more believable and for that matter, v i v i d than in the previous passage. And Faulkner has increased 57 the humor of thi s image by means of the framework narrative and the language technique of f r o n t i e r humor — r e l a t i n g the event to a character's experience. In another episode Faulkner achieves a range of tone through his technique i n using t h i s device. Charles Mallison introduces the "Mule in the Yard" passage: "This i s what fiatliff said happened up to where Uncle Gavin could see i t . " (T 231) As he t e l l s the Hait family history and the story of the mules getting into Mrs. Hair's yard, R a t l i f f ' s narra-t i v e ends with the hypothetical s i m i l e : " i t [the mule] probably looked t a l l e r than a g i r a f f e rushing down at Mrs. Hait and old Het with the halter-rope whipping about i t s ears." (T 237) A mule which looks l i k e a g i r a f f e i s incon-gruous enough, but Faulkner now has old Het narrate (through R a t l i f f and Charles) in terms far more humous than R a t l i f f ' s . Her superstitions make f o r the best image in the passage: Old Het said i t looked just l i k e something out of the Bible, or maybe out of some kind of hoodoo witches' B i b l e : the mule that came out of the fog to begin with l i k e a hant or goblin, now kind of soaring back into the fog again borne on a cloud of l i t t l e winged ones;... (T 238) And a new, although minor raconteur i s born. In this passage, however, Faulkner also exhibits a carelessness about the cor-respondence of imagery to the narrator's probable experience when old Het describes Mrs. Halt's plunge into the drove of mules: 58 [Mrs. Hait] rush[ed] right into the middle of the drove, after the one with the f l y i n g h a l t e r - r e i n that was s t i l l vanishing into the fog s t i l l in that cloud of whirling loose feathers l i k e c o n fetti or the wake behind a speed boat. (T 239) This p a r t i c u l a r inconsistency might result from a hurried revision of the short story, where the only reference to a boat i s that of "the cow...with her t a i l r i g i d and raked s l i g h t l y l i k e the stern s t a f f of a boat." (Collected Stories 256) Generally, Het*s descriptions are more detailed (at least in a bucolic way) than those in the short story. For instance, when I. 0. f a l l s , the narrator describes him thus: He lay f l a t on his stomach, his head and shoulders upreared by his outstretched arms, his coat t a i l swept forward by i t s own arrested momentum about his head so that from beneath i t his slack-jawed face mused in wild repose l i k e that of a burlesqued nun. (Collected Stories 256) Het's description i s : He was l y i n g f l a t on his face, the t a i l of his coat flung forward over his head by the impetus of his f a l l , and old Het swore there was the p r i n t of the cow's s p l i t foot and the mule's hoof too in the middle of his white s h i r t . (T 240) Both are humorous passages. Old Het's i s i n the regional t r a d i t i o n and, I think, more humorous. Her description of I. 0. i s far less incongruous to the tone of the story. In The Mansion, the best example of f r o n t i e r humor i s R a t l i f f ' s outwitting Senator Clarence Egglestone Snopes. The passage i s introduced by Faulkner: "Then i t was September, Charles was home again and the next day his uncle ran R a t l i f f 59 to earth on the Square and brought him up to the o f f i c e . . . " (M 315) And R a t l i f f t e l l s of a victory as decisive as Sut Lovingood's victory over Parson John Bullen. The humor of Snopes's elimination from the senatorial race i s derived more from the story i t s e l f , than from the language. R a t l i f f i s a far more sober character in The Mansion than in the e a r l i e r novels; and indeed The Mansion i s a more sober novel. Certain elements of f r o n t i e r humor are there in the embittered but blunt up-country language of Mink, in the incongruity of Goodyhay and h i s church, and i n Meadowfill's cantankerous fury; but these elements exist alone and the ef f e c t s are far from h i l a r i o u s . R a t l i f f ' s story i s a story of f r o n t i e r humor; but his language i s that of f r o n t i e r humor only in a few places. R a t l i f f , having been to New York, explains the location of the "dog t h i c k e t " as being"jest above Varner's millpond where i t w i l l be convenient for customers l i k e them c i t y hotels that keeps a reservoy of fountainpen ink open to anybody that needs i t right next to the writing room." (M 316) This i s not the R a t l i f f of The Hamlet or The Town. While he retains h i s regional grammar and pronunciation through h i s description of the thicket, he selects far more sophisticated and euphemis-t i c images than he would have i n e a r l i e r years: "a dog way-station, a kind of dog post o f f i c e . . • • Every dog in the congressional d i s t r i c t . . . h a s l i f t e d h is leg there...and l e f t h is v i s i t i n g card." (M 3I6) But as the story unfolds R a t l i f f t e l l s i t in increasingly c o l o r f u l terms: 60 Clarence f e l t his britches legs getting damp or maybe jest cool, and looked over his shoul-der to see the waiting line-up...them augmenting standing-room-only customers strung out behind him l i k e the knots i n a kites t a i l . . . t h e n f r u s -trated dogs c i r c l i n g round and round...like the spotted horses and swan boats on a f l y i n g jenny, except the dogs was t r a v e l l i n g on three legs, being already loaded and cocked and aimed. (H 317) Faulker, in passages of action in the f r o n t i e r humor t r a d i t i o n , follows Harris's method. But Faulkner i s usually careful (and t h i s with a large number of characters) to keep the image consistent to the character, and has found by using a comment-within-a-story-within-a-story he can achieve a wide range of f i g u r a t i v e speech, and Het's "hoodoo witches' B i b l e " i s a superb example of t h i s technique. Harris often uses a profusion of figures leading towards the most emphatic one. For instance, in one paragraph John Bullen stops preaching: . . . a - l i s t e n i n . . . s o r t a l i k e a ole sow does when she hears you a-whistlin for the dogs ...(slaps himself) about the place where you cut the best steak outen a beef...(rubs himself) where a hoss t a i l sprouts.... Then he spread his big legs and give his back a good, r a t t l i n rub agin the p u l p i t , l i k e a hog scratches h i a s e l f agin a stump, leanin to i t pow'ful, and twitchin and squirmin a l l over as i f he'd slept in a dog bed, or onto a pissant h i l l . (SL 85) Thus, the way in which the characters t e l l these stories i s no small part of enticing the reader to l i s t e n to a mountain h i l l - b i l l y or an i t i n e r a n t M i s s i s s i p p i sewing machine sales-man. Sut i s a man who has seen a l l the f r o n t i e r has to show; R a t l i f f has seen most of i t , but knows with unerring 61 consistency when to l e t a poor-house Negro speak for him. Het, more than l i k e l y i l l i t e r a t e , and Sut, admittedly so, relate the things of the f r o n t i e r to the events they describe. As an examination of these passages of action would indicate, Faulkner and Harris usually d i f f e r in the number of f r o n t i e r images they use — not in the technique or s p i r i t of that use. A further s i m i l a r i t y i s t h e i r representation of the r e a l language of the f r o n t i e r , a language common to sharecroppers 21 and planters a l i k e . Speaking of t h i s oral f r o n t i e r humor, OeVoto says: It i s the f r o n t i e r examining i t s e l f , recording i t s e l f , and entertaining i t s e l f . . . . I t was enormously male -- emphatic, coarse, v i v i d , violent...22 The folk everywhere are bawdy and obscene. The verbal humor of copulation and other physiological functions i s eternal and i t i s the least d i l u t e d form of folk art.23 And what got into print almost cer t a i n l y does not indicate the extent to which these c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s apply to the oral t r a d i t i o n which both-Faulkner and Harris knew. Mcllwaine reminds us that only "the most sanitary [storiesJ...now and then appeared in the l o c a l newspapers or the Spi r i t of the Times." Indeed, Brom Weber, the editor of Sut Lovingood. notes in his "Introduction** that he was forced by propriety to delete "three lines of an extremely offensive nature," (SL x x v i i i ) and in some uncollected Sut st o r i e s , Sut indicates a re a l love for the instance' of profanity per se. While waiting for dinner under extremely adverse circumstances. 62 (the road-house was flooded and the passengers were standing in the mire around an i n e f f e c t u a l stove), Sut t e l l s about but does not record t h i s real language of the f r o n t i e r . "••.sum[were] a cussin wun another, sum a cussin thersefs, sum a cussin Bull's Gap, sum a cussin wun ta v r i n , sum a cussin fur supper, sum a cussin the str i k e nine snake Whisky, an a l l a cussin thar l e v i l best."25 While Faulkner does not write slapstick of thi s variety, the s p e c i f i c circumstance of women cursing i s real and humorous to both Harris and Faulkner. They never f a i l to provide suitable provocation for i t . As a frightened mule runs through her yard, Mrs. Hait answers the avaricious I. 0 . Snopes who wants his half of Mr. Halt's and the mules' com-bined, assessed value with "Catch that big son of a bitch with the h a l t e r . " (T 239) S i c i l y Burns i s provoked by Sut's r e t r i b u t i o n . F i n a l l y , angered by Sut's suggestion that she cool off the rampaging bees with "a mess of SODA,...she l i f t e d the crock so she could flash her eyes at me [Sut], and said, 'You go to h e l l ! ' just as p l a i n . " (SL 55) In general, Faulkner l i m i t s the earthy speech of the f r o n t i e r to old women and men. And Harris, whose S i c i l y Burns would be as much of a goddess as Eula, had Sut been l i t e r a t e , also invents a tough old lady who speaks in f r o n t i e r language. Sut describes Mrs. Yardley as "a great noticer of l i t t l e things that nobody else ever seed. She'd say, right in the middle of somebody's serious t a l k : 'Law sakes! Thar goes that y a l l e r slut of a hen, a - f l i n g i n straws over her shoulder.'" (SL 172) However, 63 Faulkner does not l i m i t his use of this language to humorous ef f e c t s , as the "Mink** section of The Mansion, among many other examples in the t r i l o g y , would indicate; but, l i k e H a rris, he often employs th i s language for humorous ends and to represent the r e a l i t y of an earthy f r o n t i e r . There can be l i t t l e doubt about the h i s t o r i c a l accuracy of Harris and Faulkner's treatment of the folk-speech. Mcllwaine finds both Tennessee and northern Mi s s i s s i p p i to be one of the "haunts ofp plain people. There the squires very l i k e l y possessed the rough forthrightness of a certain mythical Senator Jones of Arkansas who, in beginning his harangue about changing the name of his state stormed at the presiding o f f i c e r : 'Mr. Speakeh, God damn you, Sah, I been 26 t r y i n ' for half an hour to get yo' eye...*" Both Harris and Faulkner f i n d such language i n high places humorous. Certainly, when Wirt Staples throws a leg of venison at a judge in a courtroom, Wirt's cursing him adds to an already h i l a r i o u s event. "Thar's a dried subpoena for you, you damn ole cow's paunch." (SL 147) And when Faulkner's character, Henry Best, yells,"'Wait, god damn i t , ' so loud that they did hush..." (T 86) , the confusion of the Alderman's board meeting momentarily ceased. A less oral and perhaps less humorous language technique that Faulkner and the Southwestern humorists share i s that of giving t h e i r characters peculiar names. Ty p i c a l l y , such names are suggestive of dominant q u a l i t i e s within the character. 64 "Sut Lovingood," then, would perhaps suggest "smut" and sexual prowess — a phase of h i s character not remarkably well-developed. "Suggs" perhaps i s a better example. This i s remarkably s i m i l a r to the word "s l u g , " in Simon's case, i n d i c a t i v e of the slimy, skulking s n a i l rather than the hard punch or b u l l e t that the word also means. Of Faulkner's character-naming, Foster and Campbell say: Caricature, a sa l i e n t c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of f r o n t i e r humor, [ i s ] . . . apparent i n what might be c a l l e d Faulkner's name humor. ...'Snopes,* then, i s a caricature of a l l "Sn-ishness" in human nature. ...Most important of a l l i s Flem Snopes — the bellwether of the clan. The name suggests two things to us. In the terminology of I. A. Richards, Flem as a "sense" metaphor, suggests "phlegmatic;" as an emotive metaphor, i t suggests phlegm (phonetically spelled "flem" in the d i c t i o n -ary). Both f i t Flem's character. The medieval humor, phlegm, when predominant, made a person cold, apathetic, unemotional — so Flem — phlegmatic. As a mucous d i s -charge from the mouth, i t bears further r e v o l t i n g connotations. The name-humor i s further complicated by the introduction of animal nicknames, sug-gesting Aesopian animal c h a r a c t e r i s t i c , and grandiose Christian names negated by the incongruous nicknames.27 Indeed, Faulkner's clan have more humorous names than any of those in the writings of the early Southwestern humorists, perhaps partly because Faulkner paid more attention to t h i s sort of d e t a i l and perhaps partly because the Southern and Midwestern phenomena of odd names was not very well developed in the ante-bellum era in which these humorists wrote. For H. L. Mencken says: 65 Excessive inbreeding among the mountain people may be responsible in part for this vogue for strange given names "when forty-seven persons in one hollow...possess i d e n t i c a l surnames, the given name becomes the common distinguishing f actor.. ."28 And this inbreeding more than l i k e l y was a post-war phenomenon. Thus, in both structure and language Faulkner p a r a l l e l s the Southwestern humorists i n general and Harris in p a r t i c u l a r . Obviously, Faulkner's use of t h e i r structures and techniques i s more a r t i s t i c and more complex than Harris's. As his nar-ration of the "Spotted Horses" section in The Hamlet would indicate, he often achieves a diff e r e n t (in that case, heightened, super-real) comic effect by deviating from the formulated practices of the best and purest f r o n t i e r humor — that of George Washington Harris. These deviations are conducive to Faulkner's range of tone in the t r i l o g y . Often the humor i s heightened by his changes, but i n other passages the results are far from humorous. Two examples of his devia-tion from t r a d i t i o n a l Southwestern humor may serve to indicate some of the ways in which Faulkner's deviations increase his range of tone. Both deviations are changes i n language. The p r e v a i l i n g language i n the best Southwestern humor i s oral and f i g u r a t i v e . This i s generally true of Faulkner's most humorous passages. But in humor derived from language Faulkner does not r e s t r i c t himself to the f r o n t i e r t r a d i t i o n and regional d i a l e c t . In fa c t , when Jody takes Eula to school, his " v i s i o n of himself transporting not only across the v i l l a g e ' s horizon but across the embracing proscenium of 66 the entire inhabited world l i k e the sun i t s e l f , a kaleidoscopic convolution of mammalian e l l i p s e s " (H 1 0 0 ) i s humorous because of the poetic language in contrast to what we expect from Frenchman's Bend in general and Jody Varner in p a r t i c u l a r . T r a d i t i o n a l l y , the humor of the f r o n t i e r emphasizes the incon-gruity of the hick's language in juxtaposition to r e l a t i v e l y p l a i n prose. Faulkner has reversed the emphasis of thi s structure by contrasting t h i s exaggerated poetic prose to the 29 facts of the hick's world. This same pattern, as we have seen, i s sometimes humorous in Longstreet's works, but while we may question the e a r l i e r regionalist»s conscious intent, Faulkner obviously intends humor in his passage. Indeed, Faulkner has a passion for the incongruities of language in r e l a t i o n to the event. And although incongruity i s at the heart of comedy, incongruity per se does not insure a humorous e f f e c t . Nowhere in his canon i s t h i s better shown than in Faulkner's Ike-cow passage in The Hamlet. Incongruously enough, Faulkner took this passage from the v a l i d but unprintable s t r a i n that Southwestern o r a l humor often was. Faulkner's frie n d , P h i l Stone, reportedly claimed: The story came to Faulkner as a vulgar anecdote of r u r a l sodomy t o l d by a professional p o l i t i -cian campaigning through Oxford. As the p o l i t i c i a n t o l d i t to a few male hangers-on, i t was simply a b r i e f , b r u t a l l y pornographic joke.30 But through Faulkner's treatment, th i s "joke" becomes a story of love, perhaps the fi n e s t example of Faulkner's counter-pointing incongruities. Of the many superb scenes of Ike,and 67 the cow, the one most promising of humor i s that of Ike, who, (having rescued her from a f i r e and tumbled down a ravine), " l y i n g beneath the struggling and bellowing cow, received the violent relaxing of her fear constricted bowels." (H 176) This scatology offers every p o s s i b i l i t y of bawdy humor, and i t i s instantaneously humorous and pathetic. Aft e r he attempts to console her for " t h i s violent v i o l a t i o n of her maiden's delicacy," (H 176) she becomes "maiden medi-tant, shame f r e e . " (H 177) And in thus deviating from the language of the f r o n t i e r , Faulkner renders t h i s tale of "stock-diddling" a story of love which i s more in the realm of the grotesque and extravagant than i n that of earthy, o r a l humor. The difference between th i s episode and other episodes in the f r o n t i e r t r a d i t i o n i s the absolute incongruity of the language in r e l a t i o n to the event, and the perfect reversal of the methods of f r o n t i e r humor. Faulkner's poetry here renders the reader's detachment an i m p o s s i b i l i t y , whereas the f r o n t i e r humorists' emphasis on backwoods language almost guarantees t h i s detachment. While to some extent the poetic language in "Spotted Horses" increases the humor of that passage, here a s i m i l a r , i f more prolonged use of that language renders t h i s episode equidistant between the uproariously funny and the absolutely pathetic. The facts remain that i t i s a deviation, a change in emphasis on what was o r i g i n a l l y the stuff of o r a l f r o n t i e r humor to which both Harris and Faulkner are manifestly indebted. 68 Both authors are geniuses in the f r o n t i e r humor genre. Harris was the best of the early f r o n t i e r humorists because of his a r t i s t i c use of the best device for t e l l i n g a tale and for his superb sense of the incongruities of f r o n t i e r speech. But Faulkner, i f f o r merely his a r t i s t i c innovations on the structures and techniques of Harris, i s an even greater genius. His successful integration of the f a r c i c a l episodes in the complex t r i l o g y attests to a part of t h i s genius. Another aspect of i t i s evident within the episodes where his close p a r a l l e l s and reversals of the t r a d i t i o n a l techniques of f r o n t i e r humor give ample evidence for his kinship with Sut's inventor and a s e n s i b i l i t y d i s t i n c t from and greater than George Washington Harris's. Faulkner as a f r o n t i e r humorist surpasses Harris in the same way Harris surpassed his contemporaries. As B l a i r finds Harris better than they were, I f i n d Faulkner better than H a r r i s : Faulkner's f r o n t i e r humor i s better because he has "more sense of incongruities, more exuberance, more imagina-ti o n and because he has greater genius for tra n s f e r r i n g the 31 unique a r t i s t r y of the oral narrative to the printed page."^ Thus, in matters of structure and technique in the t r i l o g y , Faulkner incorporates Harris's methods for a somewhat deriva-t i v e and yet manifestly greater a r t i s t i c e f f e c t . 69 FOOTNOTES: CHAPTER III Faulkner in the University: Class Conferences at the University of V i r g i n i a 1957-1958, eds. Frederick L. Gwynn and Joseph L. Blotner ( C h a r l o t t e s v i l l e , 1959), P. 90. 2 I b i d . , p. 193-3 •'The Hamlet contains revised versions of "Fool About a Horse,* "The Hound," "Spotted Horses," "Lizards in Jamshyd's Courtyard," "Barn Burning," and "Afternoon of a Cow." The  Town includes revisions of "Centaur in Brass," "Mule in the Yard," and "The Waifs;" and The Mansion includes "By the People." ^Faulkner in the University, pp. 14-15-^William Faulkner, The Mansion (New York, 1959). Here-after c i t e d in t h i s text as M with page references in paren-theses • ^Faulkner in the University, p. 17. 7 'Brooks, p. 175-g Olga Vickery, The Novels of William Faulkner: A C r i t i c a l Interpretation (Baton Rouge. 1959). P. 167. O r i g i n a l l y i n reference to The Hamlet, th i s passage applies equally to the t r i l o g y as a whole. ^Margaret Edith Galbraith, Faulkner*s T r i l o g y : Tech-nique as Approach to Theme. University of B r i t i s h Columbia Masters Thesis (Vancouver, 1962), pp. 56-57-l 0 W i l l i a m Faulkner, The Hamlet (New York, Vintage Edition), Hereafter c i t e d in thi s text as H with page references in parentheses• 1 1 W l l l i a m Faulkner, The Town (New York, 1961). Hereafter c i t e d in the text as T with page references in parentheses. 12 B l a i r , Native American Humor, p. 92. * 3The whole of The Reivers i s t o l d some f i f t y years afterward but the use of thi s device for detachment i s not so e f f e c t i v e because the f i r s t person narrative of Lucius Prie s t dominates the book and the reader tends to forget the opening sentence, "GRANDFATHER SAID:" (William Faulkner, The Reivers (New York, 1962), p. 3-) 7 0 ^The term bourgeois humor, as I use i t in t h i s thesis, indicates that humor which, in contrast to f r o n t i e r humor, tends to be more feminine than masculine, more learned than blunt, and which focuses on subjects that are more concerned with s o c i a l consciousness than with individualism. While f r o n t i e r humor involves highly f i g u r a t i v e language and often derives from violent action, the language of bourgeois humor i s often p l a i n or euphemistic and i t s action i s usually with-out violence. It i s tame and quixotic. Gavin Stevens and the Mallisons are often the characters of Faulkner's bourgeois humor and perhaps the most laughable example of i t i s "the Rouncewell Panic." (T 7 0 - 7 2 ) 15 ' B l a i r , Native American Humor, p. 92. This last incon-gruity (that between realism and fantasy) because the "narrator selects d e t a i l s " [ i t a l i c s mine] implies character revelation — one subject of Chapter V of t h i s t h e s i s . l 0The Portable Faulkner, ed., Malcolm Cowley (New York, 1946), p. 366. 17 Fred Lewis Pattee, A History of American Literature  since 1870 (New York, 1915), P. 83. 18 Indubitably romantic, t h i s image resembles one in Shelley's "Ode to the West Wind" which Faulkner might have known• ...there are spread On the blue surface of thine aery surge. Like the bright h a i r u p l i f t e d from the head Of some f i e r c e Maenad.... [l l - 1 8 - 2 1 ] 19 'William Faulkner, "Centaur in Brass," in Collected  Stories of William Faulkner (New York, 1950), p. 152. Here-after c i t e d as Collected Stories with page references in parentheses. 20 *wMy i t a l i c s . 21 Mcllwaine says: " A l l but the most refined planters had one l i t e r a r y standard for books read in the family c i r c l e and anecdotes related to guests on the veranda, another for the yarns swapped on the courthouse square, at the l i v e r y s t a b l e . . . . " (Shields Mcllwaine, The Southern Poor White (University of Oklahoma, 1939), p. 41-) 2 2Bernard De Voto, Mark Twain's America (New York, 1933), P. 92. 23 Ibid., p. 153-71 24 Mcllwaine, p. 4 1 . 25 George Washington Harris, "Sut Lovengood at Bull's Gap," The Lovingood Papers ( 1 9 6 2 ) , p. 3 9 . 2 6McIlwaine, p. 4 1 . 27 Harry Campbell and Ruel Poster, William Faulkner; A C r i t i c a l Appraisal (Oklahoma, 1 9 5 1 ) , PP. IO4-IO5. ~ 28 H. L. Mencken, The American Language (New York, 1 9 3 7 ) , p. 5 2 3 . (Mencken quotes Miriam M. Sizer, "Christian Names in the Blue Ridge of V i r g i n i a , " American Speech ( A p r i l , 1 9 3 3 ) . ) 29 See Chapter II, page 15 of thi s thesis. 30 ^ P h i l Stone as guoted by Campbell and Foster, p. 9 9 . 31 ^ B l a i r , Native American Humor, p. 101. A-72 IV. Milieu and Theme To arrive at a balanced view of the South i s a task beset at the outset with complications. Writings about the South are notorious f o r being more an indication of the writers' prejudices than t h e i r facts because accounts other than mere s t a t i s t i c s (and even those sometimes) are doomed to attack from other vantage points. Much of the confusion stems from attempts to c l a r i f y the whole South and much stems from too hasty generalizations from too few pa r t i c u -l a r s . Further confusion arises from the South's r e l a t i v e i n s u l a r i t y both before and after the C i v i l War. This i n s u l a r i t y , besides greatly hindering the development of any universally acceptable description of the South, gave sus-tenance to the South's regional consciousness, which was born in the f i r s t decades of the nineteenth century and became especially acute in the l a t t e r half of that century. The rest of the country, as Howe says, "was becoming a s e l f -conscious nation... [while] the South, because i t was a pariah region,...struggled desperately to keep i t s e l f i n t a c t . Through an exercise of the w i l l , i t i n s i s t e d that the regional memory be the main shaper of i t s l i f e . " ^ " And the cultured, often romanticized South i s a part of this memory. As the rest of the nation became increasingly urbanized and indus-t r i a l i z e d , t h i s romanticized South, as well as the somewhat less romantic backwoods areas, did in fact become a "pariah region." 73 As observers and historians from Frederick Law Olmsted to C. Vann Woodward have pointed out, the c l a s s i c a l and c u l -tured old South, while to some extent a fact in V i r g i n i a , i s largely a myth i n r e l a t i o n to the facts of almost any other Southern state. W. J . Cash finds that " i t was actually 1820 before the plantation was f u l l y on the march, s t r i d i n g over 2 the h i l l s of Carolina to M i s s i s s i p p i . . . . " He further explains the chronology of the South*s growth thus: From 1820 to 1860 i s but forty years — a l i t t l e more than the span of a single generation. The whole period from the invention of the cotton gin to the out-break of the C i v i l War i s less than seventy years — the l i f e t i m e of a single man. Yet i t was wholly within the longer of these periods, and mainly within the shorter, that the development and growth of the great South took place.... The inference i s p l a i n . It i s impossible to conceive the great South as being, on the whole, more than a few steps removed from the f r o n t i e r stage at the beginning of the C i v i l War. It i s imperative, indeed, to conceive i t as having remained more or less f u l l y in the f r o n t i e r stage for a great part — maybe the greater part — of i t s ante-bellum history.3 And t h i s i s the South that the antebellum re g i o n a l i s t s write about. In general, frontiersmen as a group were bound together by a common closeness to and struggle with the land. This struggle largely dictated t h e i r everyday l i v e s . And the fact that they chose to grow cotton to the exclusion of other crops, and t h i s at a time when "cotton was king," when only a f o o l or a dunce would grow anything less 74 pr o f i t a b l e , had a great effect on the l a t e r Southern f r o n t i e r s -men — in fact, t h i s , along with the i n s u l a r i t y of the South, i s perhaps another reason many l a t e r Southerners remained v i r t u a l frontiersmen, or at least "red-neck farmers," too poor even to leave the "pariah region." The f i n a n c i a l burden of the cotton monopolies and the natural burden of cotton's tendency to deplete and erode the s o i l effected disaster for generations of Southerners. Another common denominator of this f r o n t i e r i s the nature of i t s i n s t i t u t i o n s . By comparison with those of the North and the seabord states, the s o c i a l i n s t i t u t i o n s of t h i s f r o n t i e r — i t s r e l i g i o n , education, and government — were at best inchoate. They were growing, but they were anything but stable. The camp meeting, the school which met only when a teacher was available and then only when the children were not needed by t h e i r parents in the f i e l d s , and a t r a v e l l i n g l e g a l system were the s o c i a l i n s t i t u t i o n s of t h i s f r o n t i e r . This i s not to say that there was no common meeting ground for f r o n t i e r s -men. Their meeting place was the store, the inn, wherever they might speak to one another. But they constituted perhaps the most heterogeneous group of peoples since the Tower of Babel. "It was as i f a l l the world had gone on a picaresque journey by general consent in various quarters, and at the chance roundup for nightly rest and refreshment f e l l to t e l l i n g what, and especially whom, they had met with."4 75 The frontiersmen, in spite of t h e i r g a r r u l i t y , were anything but homogeneous. As t h e i r i n s t i t u t i o n s and hetero-geneity might f o r e t e l l , the pervasive common denominator and the r e a l core of t h e i r existence was t h e i r individualism: ...even at the best and f u l l e s t , the idea of s o c i a l r e s p o n s i b i l i t y which grew up i n the South remained always a narrow and purely per-sonal one. The defect here was fundamental in the primary model. The Virginians themselves, i f they had long since become truly a r i s t o c r a t i c , had nevertheless never got beyond that brutal individualism — and for a l l the Jeffersonian g l o r i f i c a t i o n of the idea, i t was brutal as i t worked out i n the plantation world — which was the heritage of the f r o n t i e r : that i n d i -vidualism which, while w i l l i n g enough to ameliorate the s p e c i f i c instance, r e l e n t l e s s l y l a i d down as i t s basic s o c i a l postulate the doctrine that every man was completely and wholly responsible for himself.5 Although there i s t h i s "brutal 1* i n d i v i d u a l i s t i c aspect of the frontiersman's nature, there also i s at least a hint of r e f i n ment. Because he shared the planters* acceptance of the V i r g i n i a n a r i s t o c r a t as a model worthy of imitation, the common yeoman farmer gained a certain degree of g e n t i l i t y . Cash speaks about these farmers as having n a kindly courtesy, a level-eyed pride, an easy quietness, a barely perceptible f l o u r i s h of bearing, which, for a l l i t s obvious angularity and fundamental plainness, was one of the finest things the Old South produced.**^ And further, even the poor white gaine something of t h i s q u a l i t y . Indeed, A l l the way down the l i n e there was a softening and gentling of the heritage of the backwoods. In every degree the masses took on, under t h e i r slouch, a sort of unkempt politeness and ease of port, which rendered them d e f i n i t e l y superior. 76 in respect of manner, to t h e i r peers in the rest of the country.7 As Cash's words might indicate, the pervasive, relentless individualism governed every aspect of the common whites' l i v e s . Theoretically i t explains much of t h e i r provincialism. Further, this individualism i s at the core of the f r o n t i e r l s enigmatic paradoxes — for instance, the paradox of b r u t a l i t y and courtesy or the apparent oxymoron of a slouching p o l i t e -ness. And these paradoxes indicate the variety of ways in which t h i s f r o n t i e r may be described. And thus, there are multifarious f r o n t i e r milieus of which the f r o n t i e r humorists' i s but one. And c e r t a i n l y , these f r o n t i e r humorists created — by emphasizing certain r e a l i t i e s of this f r o n t i e r — a s t y l i z e d and, to the eye of the modern reader, perhaps a romanticized m i l i e u . There are, then, three f r o n t i e r milieus which are r e l e -vant to f r o n t i e r humor: the stereotyped romanticized South, i f only because i t i s generally absent i n the best of f r o n t i e r humor; the h i s t o r i c a l Southern f r o n t i e r ; and the f r o n t i e r of the Southern humorists, the l i t e r a r y f r o n t i e r . The South, as portrayed by both Faulkner and Harris, does have a h i s t o r i c a l relevance, and the h i s t o r i c a l v a l i d i t y of t h e i r writings i s , in some instances, an illuminating way to come to t h e i r works; but of more importance, I think, i s the s i m i l a r i t y they achieve in the creation of a l i t e r a r y f r o n t i e r — especially for the purposes of f r o n t i e r humor. In other words, to what extent Faulkner's and Harris's f r o n t i e r s are h i s t o r i c a l l y accurate 77 i s of less importance to a study of t h e i r f r o n t i e r humor than the fact that these f r o n t i e r s , as they present them, are s i m i l a r . Thus, the p a r a l l e l s between nineteenth century Knoxville and twentieth century Oxford are not r e a l l y as important as the p a r a l l e l s between Pat Nash's grocery and W i l l Varner's store. Both authors achieve a certain degree of realism by t h e i r emphasis on the land and i t s objects. Not only do t h e i r characters tend to view l i f e in terms of t h i s land, but the authors themselves emphasize the things (the animals and objects) of the f r o n t i e r in t h e i r descriptions of the land and the people. Technically, t h i s i s f a r more true of Faulkner than of Harris, for in Sut Lovingood nearly a l l of the des-cr i p t i o n s are Sut's. Nevertheless, in introducing Sut to the public, Harris describes his p r i n c i p a l character as being: .•.hog-eyed, funny sort of a genius — fresh from some bench-legged Jew's clothing store; mounted on Tearpoke, a n i c k - t a i l e d , bow-necked, long, poor, pale s o r r e l horse, half-dandy, h a l f - d e v i l , and enveloped in a perfect net-work of b r i d l e , reins, crupper, martingales, straps, surcingles, and red f e r r e t i n g — who reined up in front of Pat Nash's grocery among a crowd of mountaineers f u l l of fun, foolery, and mean whiskey. This was Sut Lovingood. (SI 3 -4) Faulkner's attention to d e t a i l i s even more thorough than Harris's, and in the f i r s t two pages of The Hamlet Faulkner describes Frenchman's Bend and i t s people. The land was: ...parcelled out now into small s h i f t l e s s mortgaged farms for the directors of Jefferson 78 bank8 to squabble over before s e t t l i n g f i n a l l y to W i l l Varner,... [One of the things of this land i s an old plantation house which these people] had been p u l l i n g down and chopping up — walnut newel posts and s t a i r spindles, oak fl o o r s — ...for firewood. [The s e t t l e r s o r i g i n a l l y came to th i s land] in battered wagons and on mule-back and even on foot, with f l i n t l o c k r i f l e s and dogs and children and home-made whiskey s t i l l s and Protestant psalmbooks...They brought no slaves and no Phyfe and Chippendale highboys; indeed, what they did bring most of them could...carry in t h e i r hands. They took up land and b u i l t one- and two-room cabins and never painted them... (H 3-4) Both Harris and Faulkner, then, sense that the basic r e a l i t y of the backwoodsman l i e s in what he does with what he has. And Faulkner, following his p r e d i l e c t i o n for showing the other side of the coin, achieves a heightened realism by explaining what they do not have. ("They brought no slaves and no Phyfe and Chippendale highboys...™) And thus, he himself repudiates the myth of an aristocracy (at least in r e l a t i o n to the world of Frenchman's Bend). Another way in which these two authors* l i t e r a r y fron-t i e r s are similar i s through Faulkner*s lack of emphasis on twentieth century mechanization. C e c i l Eby may be generous in his estimate of how long the f r o n t i e r was unaffected by modern technology, and his implied date of the cotton gin's invention i s late ( i t was invented in 1793), but he does comment on the s i m i l a r i t i e s between th i s backwoods South and the antebellum South. "Although the time [of The Hamletl i s about 1890, [Faulkner said 1907 8] i t could well be I84O 7 9 of 1940 f o r with the exception of a cotton gin and the sewing machine, there i s nothing which depends upon technological 9 orientation within a p a r t i c u l a r period.™ Thus, Faulkner presents a l i t e r a r y f r o n t i e r in which his emphasis on the things and general lack of anachronisms render his f r o n t i e r p a r a l l e l to Harris's f r o n t i e r . Faulkner does, however, in some instances (such as the old Frenchman's place) portray a post-bellum f r o n t i e r , but his poor whites show a provincialism p a r a l l e l to that which Harris himself expresses in his comment on the "bench-legged Jew" and comparable sentiments which appear freguently in uncollected Sut episodes.*^ For example, Faulkner's poor whites would have considered that "...anyone speaking the tongue with a foreign f l a v o r or whose appearance or even occupation was strange, would have been a Frenchman regardless of what n a t i o n a l i t y he might a f f i r m . . . . " (H 3) With the exception of Faulkner's portrayal of Mink i n The Mansion, neither Harris nor Faulkner consciously emphasize the pathos of the poor whites* poverty. But the p a r a l l e l instances of Sut's father "playin hoss," albeit for comic eff e c t , and the report from an anonymous bystander that "• when t h e i r [the Armstid's] mule died three or four years ago, him and her broke t h e i r land working time about i n the traces with the other mule'" (H 318) are i n d i c a t i v e of the lack of work animals and a general poverty as well as the struggle against the land that pervades th i s l i t e r a t u r e about the f r o n t i e r . Both Harris's and Faulkner's lack of emphasis 80 on the pathos of the poverty of t h e i r characters tends to make the modern reader accept this poverty as a sort of elemental condition against which to some extent a l l the characters struggle. And indeed some c r i t i c s would argue that Faulkner's frontiersmen are not poverty-stricken. For instance. Brooks makes a v a l i d point when he argues that not a l l of the characters are "poor white trash.** They are white people, many of them poor, and most of them l i v i n g on farms; but they are not to be put down necessarily as *poor whites.* ...[The unwary reader] may too e a s i l y conclude that the McCallums and the T u l l s are simply poor white trash.-11 Sut's poverty i s never acknowledged by Harris in direct statements and perhaps, by modern standards, his ubiquitous flask would make him anything but poverty-stricken. While Sut i s too busy running away from and into trouble to have any job, a l l of the people of Frenchman's Bend (with the exception of W i l l Varner) work at something — although for much of The Hamlet they s i t (true to t h e i r backwoods g a r r u l i t y ) carving and chatting on the porch of W i l l Varner's store. But i f Harris and Faulkner f a i l to emphasize the poverty of the f r o n t i e r , they do not f a i l to exaggerate i t s other aspects. Both emphasize action in t h e i r humor, and the action of the frontiersman has long been exaggerated for comic e f f e c t . This and another common element of f r o n t i e r humor — the motley men the f r o n t i e r was often supposed to attract — are substantiated by Boatright, who quotes an early Texas newspaper: 81 "They have a l i t t l e town out West...which is ' a l l sorts of a s t i r r i n g place.* In one day they recently had two street f i g h t s , hung a man, rode three men out of town on a r a i l , got up a quarter race, a turkey shooting, a gander p u l l i n g , a match dog fi g h t , and preaching by a circus r i d e r , who afterwards ran a foot race for apple jack a l l around, and, as i f thi s was not enough, the judge of the court, after losing his year's salary at single-handed poker, and whipping a person who said he did not understand the game, went out and helped lynch his grandfather for hog stealing.**12 Neither Harris nor Faulkner write episodes with t h i s much action in them. They both prefer to give detailed descrip-tions of single moments of extremely fast action and Faulkner even carr i e s this d e t a i l e d description into the development of tableaus where the result i s not the possible suspended abstraction but a reaffirmation and heightening of his l i t e r a r y f r o n t i e r . That the real f r o n t i e r had moments of fast action can hardly be doubted, but that they were as universally comic as Faulkner and Harris render them i s quite questionable. But here the reader's ignorance or w i l l i n g suspension of d i s b e l i e f i s part of th e i r c r e d i b i l i t y . Brooks finds that the setting of The Hamlet . . . i s one that few modern urban and suburban Americans know anything about at f i r s t hand and about which they are perfectly w i l l i n g to believe anything p a r t i c u l a r l y because i t i s set in the South and populated by poor whites. The association that most c i t i z e n s have with such a community i s l i k e l y to be through A l Capp's cartoons of Dogpatch.13 Henry Watterson, writing of Sut Lovingood, romantically i n d i -cates a further distance from our modern world — that of 82 time. The Southwestern humorists wrote in an era when the i n t r i c a c i e s of l i f e were more homely and uncomplicated. Wat t e rs on s ay s : They flourished years ago in the good old time of muster days and quarter-racing, before the camp-meeting and the barbecue had lost t h e i r power and t h e i r charm; when men led simple, homely l i v e s , doing t h e i r love-making and the i r law-making as they did t h e i r f i g h t i n g and th e i r plowing, in a straight furrow; when there was no national debt multiplying the dangers and magnifying the expenses of d i s t i l l a t i o n in the h i l l s and hollows, and pouring in upon the log-r o l l i n g , the q u i l t i n g , the corn-shucking, and the f i s h - f r y an i n q u i s i t o r i a l crew of tax-gatherers and detectives to s p o i l the sport and d u l l the edge of p a t r i o t i c husbandry• And the men who inhabit these l i t e r a r y f r o n t i e r s are just as removed as the sett i n g and time in which they are placed. For, as Howe says, "none of the conspicuous actors in Faulkner's world come from the major s o c i a l groups we are 15 accustomed to meeting in l i f e or l i t e r a t u r e . " Thus, there i s actually a second l e v e l of the l i t e r a r y f r o n t i e r , a l e v e l of fantasy which arises from exaggeration and d i s t o r t i o n of action and values and i s predicated by the reader's u n f a m i l i a r i t y and naivete. Such a legendary figure as Davy Crockett i s a product of thi s sort of fantasy on the f r o n t i e r where emphasis, exaggeration, d i s t o r t i o n and implica-tions of un i v e r s a l i t y a l l combine to portray a character that i s larger than l i f e . But where the gargantuan fantasy-figure of Crockett remains t o t a l l y removed from r e a l i t y . 83 Faulkner's and Harris's figures o s c i l l a t e between fantasy and r e a l i t y . Brooks finds that Fulkner's (and certainly the same would apply to Harris's) use of t h i s o s c i l l a t i o n gives the effect of a " d i s t o r t i o n mirror." ...The folk community...is so far removed from our own that i t seems simple to the point of fabulousness, and yet we continue to believe in i t . Perhaps i t i s r e a l l y a d i s t o r t i o n mirror which turns our faces into grotesquely comic caricatures...[and] returns to us...the image of ourselves.1" Harris's and Faulkner's settings are also s i m i l a r . Both authors* passages of action are often placeless. It i s as i f they viewed t h e i r scenes through telephoto lenses for indeed they focus on s p e c i f i c things and present only the rudiments of a complete scene. By pinpointing t h e i r attention on d e t a i l s , they increase the reader's sense of speed and confusion to the minimizing of his sense of i d e n t i f i a b l e place. For a l l of Harris's s p e c i f i c i t y about the things of the f r o n t i e r , for a l l his emphasis on traces, reins and h a l t e r s , mules and horses, l i z a r d s , bees, and whiskey, there i s no sense of s p e c i f i c place in his passages of action because his comic episodes could happen anywhere — anywhere on the f r o n t i e r , that i s . Perhaps th i s placelessness in Harris's episodes indicates a sort of u n i v e r s a l i t y , for Brom Weber notes that "the geography...is scrambled together so that Sut...is everywhere at once. The physical background i s vague, though Sut i s f u l l y capable of precise d e s c r i p t i o n . " (SL xxiv) And while Faulkner's The Hamlet i s set in the mythical world of Frenchman's Bend, The Town i s set in Jefferson and The  Mansion has various settings. This would perhaps indicate that the l a t t e r two novels ought to contain less f r o n t i e r humor of action than The Hamlet, as indeed The Mansion does. But though Faulkner's episodes, l i k e Harris's, are t y p i c a l l y placeless, both authors* episodes seem r e a l to some extent because they are permeated with things of the f r o n t i e r . As an examination of his episodes w i l l reveal, Faulkner t y p i c a l l y sets these passages of action outside of Jefferson, i n a place where, for example, the chase i t s e l f , as well as the fa n t a s t i c image of Tom Tom and Turl looking l i k e **them double-jointed half-horse f e l l e r s in the old picture books1* (T 26) becomes credible. Placelessness may also exist within Jefferson in such an episode as a **Mule in the Yard.** Here, the furious tangle of mules, people, and barnyard animals extends into the realm of fantasy by Faulkner*s careful attention to boun-daries and atmosphere. The result i s that the minute yard, enveloped by a thick fog, becomes microcosmic and indeed placeless during the melee. Faulker and Harris, besides exaggerating the action of th e i r l i t e r a r y f r o n t i e r s , exaggerate and perhaps even d i s t o r t for comic effect the frontiersman's values and attitudes. For instance, while Sut and R a t l i f f often have penetrating insights of a r e a l i s t i c nature, they are both humorous in t h e i r exaggerated f r o n t i e r evaluations of the r e l a t i v e worth of those two elements which play such an important part in 85 the comedy of The Hamlet — horses and women. Sut, in describing Parson Bullen's breach of confidence explodes, '•[that].. .stinkin ole ground-hog! He'da heap better a-stole some man's hoss [than reveal to the cuckolded husband Sut and his camp-meeting friend's love making]; I'da thought more of him." (SL 82) But while Sut implies the f r o n t i e r s -man's higher esteem f o r a horse than a woman, R a t l i f f (in his comment on Flem's acquisition of Jody's horse) magnifies th i s esteem beyond c r e d i b i l i t y when he says, "A man takes your wife and a l l you got to do to ease your feelings i s to shoot him. But your horse. 1* (H 85) Thus, the humor i s heightened by R a t l i f f ' s thinking in the terms of t h i s fantasy f r o n t i e r where present-day values are topsy-turvy. And fur-ther comedy may result from our uncertainty as to whether th i s i s the thought of R a t l i f f , the frontiersman, or R a t l i f f , the bachelor. On the subject of Yankees, p a r t i c u l a r l y the men of Northern industry, we f i n d Sut to be the more f a n t a s t i c ; true to the l i t e r a r y fantasy of Harris's f r o n t i e r , Sut speaks with blatant exaggerations and well-chosen d i s t o r t i o n s . He [the Yankee] were hatched in a crack — in the frosty rocks where nutmegs am made outen maple, and where women paints clock-faces and paints shoe-pegs, and the men invents rat-traps, man-traps, and new-fangled doctrines for the aid of the D e v i l . (SL 69) And i f the reader should have any doubts as to Sut's attitude toward an intruder, especially a Northerner, he more than c l a r i f i e s t h i s when George asks whether Bake Boyd's man was 86 a Negro. "Worse nor t h a t . He was a mighty mean Yankee razor-grinder....™ (SL 2 6 ) , But R a t l i f f t a k e s a more r e a l i s t i c a t t i t u d e : [ N o r t h e r n e r s ] . . . d o e s t h i n g s d i f f e r e n t from us. I f a f e l l o w i n t h e c o u n t r y was t o s e t up a goat r a n c h , he would do i t p u r e l y and s i m p l y because he had t o o many goats a l r e a d y . He would j u s t d e c l a r e h i s roof or h i s f r o n t p o rch ...a g o a t - r a n c h and l e t i t go at t h a t . [ B u t ] when [ a N o r t h e r n e r ] does something, he does i t w i t h a o r g a n i z e d s y n d i c a t e and a book of p r i n t e d r u l e s and a g o l d - f i l l e d d i p l o m a from the S e c r e -t a r y of S t a t e at J a c k s o n . . . . (H 80) Both c h a r a c t e r s see the c o n f l i c t s between the i n d u s t r i a l N o r t h and the a g r a r i a n S o u t h . R a t l i f f ' s statement i s o b v i o u s l y more t r u e of what we might expect from a S o u t h e r n e r ; and i f h i s statement i s l e s s v i n d i c t i v e than S u t ' s , i t i s not any l e s s s t r o n g l y f e l t . That R a t l i f f , h i m s e l f a country-man, makes h i s l i v e l i h o o d from s e l l i n g sewing machines i s a t y p i c a l , a l t h o u g h i n t h i s case not n e c e s s a r i l y a c o n s c i o u s , F a u l k n e r i a n i r o n y , which stems from the i n c o n g r u i t i e s of h i s l i t e r a r y f r o n t i e r — a m i l i e u , l i k e H a r r i s ' s , which i s a p e r f e c t jumble of the r e a l and the f a n c i f u l . Both m i l i e u s , by v i r t u e of t h i s o s c i l l a t i o n between the r e a l and the f a n c i f u l , p r o v i d e i d e a l comic i n c o n g r u i t i e s f o r b o t h w r i t e r s ; but i n F a u l k n e r ' s h a n d l i n g , t h e s e i n c o n g r u i t i e s a r e , as we have seen, a n y t h i n g but s t r i c t l y comic. Indeed, h i s o b s e s s i o n w i t h i n c o n g r u i t y per se i s one source of the marvelous c o m p l e x i t i e s of the t r i l o g y . In c r e a t i n g t h e i r l i t e r a r y m i l i e u s , t h e n , H a r r i s and F a u l k n e r make the i n c r e d i b l e seem c r e d i b l e , and the c r e d i b l e , the r e a l , seem somewhat 87 marvelous. And in t h e i r l i t e r a r y f r o n t i e r s , the state of flux, both re a l and f a n c i f u l , i s conducive to humor and inordinately complex incongruities of e f f e c t . The f r o n t i e r f l u x i s that between government and anarchy, between ethnic groups, classes and clans who are remarkable for t h e i r pro-v i n c i a l outlook at once more rea l and d i s t o r t e d than that of, or even acceptable to, the p r e v a i l i n g culture outside t h i s "pariah region," which was inhabited by hyper-rindi v i d u a l i s -t i c people who are simultaneously brutal and somewhat reserved and who are motivated by t h e i r need for money and fun in a generally drab but by no means motionless land where the crop i s one which requires hard work at planting and harvesting and no work between those times. This f l u x and confusion and i n s u l a r i t y , plus the reader's ignorance of the region, gives the writer a poetic license, a horizon of imaginative freedom, the boundaries of which remain undiscovered. II The complexities and incongruities in t h e i r l i t e r a r y milieu and in the t r a d i t i o n of f r o n t i e r humor, then, provide fo r the use of simple c o n f l i c t s and themes. In the largest sense, Harris's Sut Lovingood i s b u i l t on the simplest of a l l c o n f l i c t s -- that between good and e v i l . The same con-f l i c t permeates Faulkner's Snopes t r i l o g y . And both writers are masters at varying this c o n f l i c t . Their l i t e r a r y f r o n t i e r s provide highly regionalized values — values that imply strange 88 new goods and e v i l s . But Faulkner's superior variation on t h i s c o n f l i c t stems from his creation of o s c i l l a t i n g thematic characters (such as Tomey's Turl) who represent r e l a t i v e goods and e v i l s . Harris, by having Sut t e l l his own story and by making him his own moral judge and the protagonist against e v i l , d e f t l y captures his reader's suspension of d i s b e l i e f . Sut's language and i n s i g h t , as well as his cleverness in arranging "big scares'* for those he considers evil-doers, gains him the reader's sympathies. We never guestion John Bullen's hypoc-17 r i s y . It i s fact — Sut says so — and Bullen r i c h l y deserves what treatment he gets. Just as excessive in his invective and declamatory statements as he i s in his e f f o r t s against his enemies, Sut portrays his enemies as i f they were Satan's henchmen on the f r o n t i e r . For example, S t i l l y a r d s , the former schoolmaster, was, Sut says, ...as o i l y , slippery a lawyer as ever took a fee...[who] practiced on a l l the misfortunate d e v i l s round that c i r c u i t t i l l he got sassy, got niggers, got rich,...got r e l i g i o n and got to Congress. The f i r s t thing he did there were to p r o f f e r to tend the Capitol grounds in onions and beans on shares; ...when he dies h e ' l l make the fastest trip to the center of soot, sorrow, and smoke on record, not even exceptin ole Iscariot's fast time. (SL 70) Rarely does Faulkner draw such an e v i l f i gure. Rather, by his tendency to complicate characters and themes by v a r i a -tions in point of view, he often draws more than one side of a character, and the reader may be faced with the dilemma of deciding which of the multifarious r e a l i t i e s i s most r e a l . 89 One need only contrast Mink Snopes of The Hamlet with Mink in The Mansion to see what remarkable changes Faulkner i s capable of. In short, Faulkner avoids drawing characters who are, throughout the t r i l o g y , consistently and absolutely e v i l , and his sense of incongruity effects some r a d i c a l changes in character. And many of his figures (such as Turl) are caricatures, capable of being presented again and again in the Yoknapatawpha books with a d i f f e r e n t emphasis on t h e i r character — good or e v i l — as Faulkner requires. Besides presenting the same basic c o n f l i c t , a further s i m i l a r i t y in Harris's and Faulkner's episodes of f r o n t i e r humor i s t h e i r p a r a l l e l use of an equally simple theme — that of r e t r i b u t i o n . . Certainly this theme i s consistent with both authors* milieus and i t does indeed r e f l e c t the "brutal individualism** of the r e a l f r o n t i e r . There, the violence such a theme might imply could even be considered a pastime or entertainment. Eby explains, "The f i g h t , l i k e the quarter race or the hunt was accepted as a competitive sport, an affirmation of manhood. [And] violent personalized action, detached from vindictiveness or meanness, was a 18 favori t e subject of the regi o n a l i s t s . .. But violence per se i s hardly humorous; and i t i s through the confusion of men, beasts, and things in Harris*s Sut Lovingood that this f r o n t i e r commonplace becomes humorous. Having j u s t i f i e d his r e t r i b u t i o n to the reader, Sut i s unusually regular in meting 90 out one variety of punishment — pain. In fact, there i s hardly an episode of r e t r i b u t i o n in which Sut's adversary i s not at least in physical pain, and often the embarrassing circumstances which accompany many of Sut's pranks might be considered mental pain. The redundance of t h i s theme and the r e s u l t i n g violence i s , in fact, one of the defects of Sut Lovingood as a book-length work, for the s i m p l i c i t y of Harris's s t o r i e s , combined with the r e p e t i t i v e confusion, violence, noise and damage can be quite tiresome. While the whole of the t r i l o g y might also be considered a story of r e t r i b u t i o n , no such defect mars Faulkner's work. One of his greatest a r t i s t i c achievements i s his meaningful treatment of simple themes; and indeed, while r e t r i b u t i o n as a theme i s pervasive in the t r i l o g y , Faulkner's shading of p a r a l l e l incidents, his a b i l i t y to vary the outcome, the motivation, and the mode of r e t r i b u t i o n and to present the f r u s t r a t i n g lack of r e t r i b u t i o n heightens the already complex language and s t r u c t u r a l incongruities in the work as a whole. For instance, Faulkner's treatment of the a l l too f r u s t r a t i n g lack of meaningful r e t r i b u t i o n in The Hamlet, besides i n d i -cating T u l l ' s (indeed, Frenchman's Bend's) f r o n t i e r attitude of "It aint none of our business," (H 72) gives r i s e to much of the tension in the novel. This i s even more true of The  Town, for Jefferson's bourgeois morality hinders the towns-people from taking even such s o c i a l l y acceptable retributions as R a t l i f f ' s mainly economic and i n t e l l e c t u a l attacks on Flem in The Hamlet. A l l but Tom Tom and Turl's victory over Flem 91 in The Town and R a t l i f f ' s e f f e c t i v e r e t r i b u t i o n on Clarence Snopes in The Mansion produce somewhat hollow r e s u l t s . These hollow results perhaps r e f l e c t the twentieth century confusion of ethics with s t a b i l i t y and of r e s p e c t a b i l i t y with the d o l l a r . For instance, by worsting I. 0. Snopes, Mrs. Hait unwittingly helps Flem remove one more obstacle towards his goal of gaining r e s p e c t a b i l i t y in Jefferson. Even more irony l i e s in the fact that i t i s Flem Snopes and not Gavin Stevens (the most vocal of Faulkner's anti-Snopes triumverate) that rids Jefferson of the rapacious family in The Town. That The Mansion contains a huge range of effects (from murder to R a t l i f f ' s comic victory) which evolve from the simple theme of r e t r i b u -tion i s additional proof of Faulkner's l i t e r a r y a r t i s t r y in varying his treatment of t h i s theme. Faulkner's humorous episodes, although far more complicated than Harris's, have a si m i l a r tendency towards this recurrence of r e t r i b u t i o n as a theme. But what complicates Faulkner's humorous episodes thematically i s his p r e d i l e c t i o n to t e l l more than one story at a time, to use a large number of charac-ters, and more importantly, to extend the simplest form of re t r i b u t i o n , violence, into realms of a more bourgeois nature, among which one of his favorites i s that of business. In fact, the variety of ways in which Faulkner's characters get back at evil-doers i s one reason that the world of The Hamlet seems more rea l than that of Sut Lovingood. And thus, Faulkner, by varying the forms of r e t r i b u t i o n and by presenting 92 r e a l i s t i c h a l f - v i c t o r i e s , complicates a simple theme. The effect i s one of c r e d i b i l i t y ; and the reader's reaction i s l i k e l y to be incredulous wonder that so much might be wrought from so l i t t l e . Faulkner and Harris, in the i r use of ret r i b u t i o n as a theme, f i n d various reasons for this human act. Both writers make use of the most obvious of a l l reasons for getting back at someone — s e l f - i n t e r e s t . This personal r e t r i b u t i o n , personal because i t i s primarily motivated by s e l f - i n t e r e s t , i s perhaps the most r e a l i s t i c of f r o n t i e r r e t r i b u t i o n s . And certainly i t i s not one, especially i n the South, conducive to the peaceful settlement of guarrels. For, as one c r i t i c points out, "recourse to legal aid to redress a wrong was often a confession of cowardice, for the Southernerfelt a 19 man should f i g h t his own b a t t l e s . " And Sut and Wirt Staples, whose fear of law of any sort i s overcome by whiskey, do just that. Many of Faulkner's characters s i m i l a r l y avenge them-selves on those who have wronged them. Excellent examples of t h i s type of re t r i b u t i o n are Harris's " S i c i l y Burn's Wedding" and Faulkner's "Centaur in Brass™ episode in The Town. Neither Faulkner nor Harris f a i l to give suitable reasons for t h e i r character's r e t r i b u t i o n ; but sur p r i s i n g l y , Harris, who i s usually overly generous in finding reasons for Sut to r e t a l i a t e , presents Sut with a very human reason for taking 93 r e t r i b u t i o n on the Burns family — he i s hurt by t h e i r s o c i a l s l i g h t . Sut's motivation for t h i s r e t r i b u t i o n r e f l e c t s one attribute more in d i c a t i v e of him as a human than as a stereo-typed frontiersman. As he thinks of the Burns's snobbery, he remembers S i c i l y ' s prank, "I were sloungin round the house for they hadn't had the manners to ask me i n . . . I were pow'fully hurt 'bout i t and happened to think —'SODA!' So I set in a-watchin for a chance to do somethinl** (SL 49) What he does do brings pain to everyone inside the house. He puts a basket over the b u l l ' s head; the b u l l backs against the beehive, and continues to back into the wedding feast, by which time the b u l l , Sut says, "were the leader of the biggest and the maddest army of bees in the world.** (SL 50) The people who are hurt are so riotously humorous in t h e i r antics, at least as Sut describes them, that we never consider t h e i r pain. For instance, "Missis Clapshaw** i s described on top of the table, " a - f i g h t i n bees l i k e a mad windmill with her c a l i c o cap in one hand fo r a weapon and a cracked frame in t'other; and a-kickin and a-spurrin l i k e she were r i d i n g a lazy hoss after the doctor; and a-screamin "Rape," 'Fire,* and *Murder* as fast as she could name *em over.** (SL 52) As might already be indicated, the pain of the wedding guests i s removed through Sut*s language and the fast action. Moreover, his own nonchalance about the event tends to further remove us from any real sense of pain. For instance, he describes the wedding as the most **mis fortunate... since Adam married that h e i f e r — what 94 were so fond of t a l k i n to snakes and eatin apples.... 1* (SL 5 5 ) Further, Sut says, S i c i l y ' s wedding **were the worst one for noise, disappointment, scare, breakin things, hurtin, trouble, vexation of s p i r i t , and general swellin.™ (SL 5 5 - 5 6 ) The humorous way in which Sut admits his mean-ness — **If I were just as smart as I am mean and ornery, I'd be President of a wildcat bank in less'n a week** (SL 5 6 J — removes the last traces of any conceivable disapproval, for Sut knows his own f o i b l e s . Faulkner's treatment of the theme of personal r e t r i b u t i o n in the "Centaur in Brass™ passage in The Town i s far more com-plex. Rarely content to t e l l a single story, here he combines two stories of r e t r i b u t i o n so that there i s a s p l i t in the forces for good; and, c h a r a c t e r i s t i c a l l y , Flem stands in s t a t i c opposition to t h i s divided force. The chase i s a minor episode in the whole story of Flem's defeat as power plant superintendent. Turl's adultery with Tom Tom's young bride offers more than enough motivation for Tom Tom's attack on T u r l ; and Turl's shock, i f not necessarily his fear, i s mitigated by an element of fantasy which arises from the fact that Charles narrates Gowan's narration of Barker's mere supposition of what happened when Turl climbed in the window and found ™to his h o r r i d surprise...Tom Tom lying f u l l y dressed beneath the g u i l t with a naked butcher knife in his hand.™ (T 2 6 ) Only on t h i s h a l f - r e a l f r o n t i e r would no one get hurt i n a si t u a t i o n such as t h i s . In the ditch after 95 t h e i r furious chase the two Negroes confederate when they r e a l i z e what has happened and, as Gavin t e l l s Chick, they reach "a r a t i o n a l i t y of perspective" and re a l i z e that "Tom Tom's home [was] not vio l a t e d by Tomey's Turl but by Flem Snopes; Turl's l i f e and limbs put into jeopardy not by Tom Tom but by Flem Snopes." (T 28) And with this r e a l i z a t i o n , t h e i r inordinately clever r e t r i b u t i o n on Flem proceeds. Having joined forces (in i t s e l f a victory over Flem, who well knows that he can not r e s i s t the power of concerted e f f o r t of any opposition), they put the brass where Flem o r i g i n a l l y said he wanted i t — in the water tower. Thus, they successfully r e t a l i a t e against Flem. But here, where Faulkner, by giving a sign of Flora's human emotion at the news of his defeat, could have i l l u s t r a t e d any aspect of Flem's warped humanity, he chooses to leave him at an abstract l e v e l by understating the r e s u l t s : "Though by the time water...would begin to taste brassy enough for someone to think about draining the tank, . . . i t wouldn't be Mr. Snopes. Because he was no longer superin-tendent now...." (T 29) The implications of the p a r a l l e l between Flem's and Tom Tom's cuckoldry are clear; Tom Tom i s an active agent for good. Tu r l , by virtue of his humanity (one indicat i o n of which might be his sexual appetite in contrast to Flem's s t e r i l i t y ) joins the forces for good, and Flem's inhumanity i s challenged in a meaningful way by the two Negroes, who are motivated to r e t a l i a t e by Flem's actions against them. 96 The theme, as i t i s used for humor by Faulkner and Harris, provides for comic reversal. The Negroes are, at least in Flem's scheming mind, too stupid to grasp his design and in t h e i r furious chase we laugh .at them and thus, since they are subject to r i d i c u l e i n the sub-plot, t h e i r ultimate victory i s a comic reversal. Sut's v i c t o r i e s are universally those of the t h e o r e t i c a l underdog. While his language alone reduces him to a bumpkin, his v i c t o r i e s prove him to be equally as clever and imaginative as Tom Tom and T u r l . Surprisingly, neither Faulkner nor Harris use t h i s type of r e t r i b u t i o n very much. Although t h e i r f r o n t i e r milieu i s a place where we would expect to f i n d abundant personal r e t r i b u t i o n , in t h e i r humorous episodes, neither writer emphasizes th i s theme. Faulkner, of course, prefers to use i t in such serious s t o r i e s as Mink's two murders; and had Harris consistently used th i s theme, Sut's c h a r a c t e r i s t i c good-naturedness and f a n t a s t i c speed in outrunning trouble would have been much less credible. Other reasons fo r r e t r i b u t i o n might be described as a l t r u i s t i c , for they involve the recognition of and a desire to protect something other than oneself. The object may be another person or some p r i n c i p l e the protagonist admires. Harris's and Faulkner's humorous use of t h i s version of the r e t r i b u t i o n theme usually stems from a situation involving a wronged f r i e n d or a broken code. The works of both authors 9 7 contain good examples of the wronged fr i e n d motif as both writers f i n d i t conducive to heightened humor in that they can make the wrong which i s i n f l i c t e d seem humorous. Cer-tainly, "Rare Ripe Garden Seed," the story of Mary Mastin's early c h i l d , i s in i t s e l f humorous. Two more sto r i e s , "Contempt of Court — Almost" and "Trapping a S h e r i f f , " provide the even more humorous retributions that Sut and Wirt Staples take on She r i f f John Dolton. In Faulkner's "Mule in the Yard" passage, the instance of Mr. Hait's business ventures with I. 0. Snopes (the former drives I. O.'s team of mules across the path of oncoming freight t r a i n s in order to get the r a i l r o a d company's indemnity) heightens the humor of the episode i t s e l f . When Mr. Halt's miscalculations lead to his untimely death, Mrs. Hait receives the money for both her husband and I. O.'s mules by claiming that theonules were her husband's property. By d r i v i n g his mules through her yard, I. 0. i s r e t a l i a t i n g on what he finds a personal injury — that Mrs. Hait w i l l not give him the assessed value of the mules — and Mrs. Hait, for both I. O.'s odiousness and Mr. Hait's death, s t i l l seeks revenge. Indeed, part of Mrs. Hait's e f f e c t i v e r e t r i b u t i o n on I. 0. Snopes (shooting his mule) adds another p a r a l l e l to Faulkner's symbolic opposition of horses and mules and women, a symbolic theme which i s pervasive in his f r o n t i e r m i l i e u . 98 The theme of a l t r u i s t i c r e t r i b u t i o n i t s e l f provides precisely the type of story Faulkner enjoyed t e l l i n g — a single story which necessitates at least one incident within another. No one need doubt that Faulkner's temptation to t e l l more than one story was indeed satiated by the use of this theme. Flem's dishonesty, i t s e l f the subject of "Centaur in Brass," provides the s u p e r f i c i a l reason for Gavin taking Manfred De Spain to court. And Gowan's attack on De Spain's EMF roadster i s motivated by De Spain's rash teasing of Gavin, while the tire-puncture incident i t s e l f heightens the De Spain-Stevens r i v a l r y and thus partly conduces to both the "Rouncewell Panic," perhaps the most l i v e l y and t r u l y laughable of Faulkner's bourgeois humor, and Gavin's f i s t f i g h t with De Spain. This l a s t incident also provides a good example of the broken code as motivation for r e t r i b u t i o n . One of the reasons for Gavin's attack on De Spain i s the mayor's and Eula's amorous dancing, which c o n f l i c t s with Gavin's p r i n c i p l e that "chastity and virtue in women s h a l l be defended whether they exist or not." (T 76) Already we see that one aspect of t h i s theme i s the necessity of value judgments. And value judg-ment involves both a code and an individual who follows that code. In this incident both Gavin's code and his consistency in following that code are humorous as they are signs of his guixotic, abstracting nature and his bourgeois consciousness, which i s perhaps the best, at least the most f u l l y r e a lized 99 one in Faulkner's canon. But far more humorous (outside of Gavin's values and often outside of Jefferson i t s e l f ) are the values of the f r o n t i e r m i l i e u . And as f r o n t i e r humorists, both Harris and Faulkner use the aspects of t h i s theme not only to predicate riotous confusion but also to illuminate and f i n d humor in the people who follow variations of t h i s code. As a device for revealing strange values, the adherence to which i s apt to make the character at the outset of the story seem r i d i c u -lous, the broken code i s certainly a superb theme. Although somewhat more than usually cruel when he i n f l i c t s pain on the slovenly, lazy son of a preacher, Sut uses the boy as an object of one of his pranks because he broke the f r o n t i e r code of a c t i v i t y per se. Another object of Sut's scorn i s the c i t y - s l i c k e r , usually a Yankee. Perhaps generally r e f e r r i n g to the stupid outsiders who sometimes annoy Sut while he t e l l s his tales and in s p e c i f i c reference to the Yankee razor-grinder, Sut praises the f r o n t i e r (in his terms, Knoxville) for taking r e t r i b u t i o n on those who break the code. Part of the f r o n t i e r ' s r e t r i b u t i o n , Sut says, i s : "sweepin out the inside of stuffed-up f e l l e r s ' s kulls clean of a l l ole rusty, cobweb, bigoted ideas." (SL 27) Rather than leave a job half done, the frontiersman replaced these ideas, Sut says, with "somethin new and active, ... one king idea sure...: .If I g i t s away al i v e , durn i f ever I come here again." (SL 27) Faulkner's most humorous use of t h i s theme in f r o n t i e r humor may be in R a t l i f f ' s version of "Fool About a Horse™ in 100 The Hamlet. For, by explaining Ab fs motivation, R a t l i f f illuminates the eldest Snopes's regional code. ...that Pat Stamper...had come in and got actual Ybknapatawpha County cash dollars to rattling....When a man swaps horse for horse, that's one thing and let the d e v i l protect him i f the d e v i l can. But when cash money star t s changing hands, that's something else. . . . i t ' s l i k e when a burglar breaks into your house and f l i n g s your things ever which way even i f he dont take nothing. It makes you twice as mad. (H 34-35) And Ab's furious adherence to th i s code reduces him to the figure of a v i r t u a l automaton. R a t l i f f explains the "pure f a t e " which involves two chance facts — Pat Stamper's camping in Jefferson on that day and Ab's having money — plus Ab's motivation to revenge the broken code, "...the entire honor and pride of the science and pastime of horse-trading in Yoknapatawpha County depending on him [Ab] to vindicate i t . " (H 35) Ab's ridiculousness in following t h i s code and the tools of his trade, "a dimes worth of salt peter...and a number ten f i s h hook," provide more than enough detachment f o r an e f f e c t i v e comic reversal and this p a r t l y through the theme of a l t r u i s t i c or s o c i a l r e t r i b u t i o n . The theme of r e t r i b u t i o n for the broken code i s e f f e c t i v e for both parody and s a t i r e . By describing Ab's motivation in r i d i c u l o u s l y high flown English ("to vindicate the honor and pride"), Faulkner, or rather R a t l i f f , r i d i c u l e s Ab him-sel f and to some extent parodies the simple motivation, as well as the language of the backwoodsman in the t r a d i t i o n of regional humor as exemplified by Harris's Sut Lovingood. 101 And Harris, by giving Sut such human emotions as fear and sexual desire and making him follow a code at least somewhat less mythical than that of man in the wilderness, may be 20 parodying the e a r l i e r r e g i o n a l i s t s . In f a c t , Bernard DeVoto notes the wide range of ultimate effects derived from the Southwestern humorists* curious mixtures of fact and f i c t i o n . In t h e i r works, he finds, "fantasy and realism exist side by side. In the same way, burlesque and extravaganza, which are t h e o r e t i c a l l y derived from fantasy, are hardly to 21 be separated from s a t i r e , a derivative of realism." Both Harris's Sut Lovingood and Faulkner*s t r i l o g y exhibit such wide ranges of e f f e c t . In part t h i s range derives from the fact that there are numerous f r o n t i e r milieus and thus almost any statement might be considered some sort of d i s t o r t i o n of one of these milieus. Harris and, to an even greater extent, Faulkner, although his d i s t o r t i o n s are less consistently humorous than his predecessor's, manifestly delight in t h i s wide range of e f f e c t s . Harris uses the theme of re t r i b u t i o n , both s o c i a l and personal, as a vehicle for s a t i r e . The Yankees, lawyers, s h e r i f f s , and lazy boys that Sut r e t a l i a t e s against represent people and human t r a i t s that Harris scorned. In Sut Lovin-good Harris generally achieves a comic effect as well as s a t i r i c propaganda. He presents his hatred for these people in both the concrete d e t a i l s of t h e i r wrongs, as Sut describes them — a tavern keeper served him food which he says "A hungry dog wouldn*t have smelt...nor a experienced buzzard 102 even l i t onto i t . . . * * (SL 197) — and in the more subjective value judgments of Sut — **He were a mighty mean Yankee razor-grinder....** (SL 26) A post-war sketch which did not appear in Sut Lovingood indicates how v i t r i o l i c Harris's 22 sa t i r e might be. In **Sut Lovengood, on the Puritan Yankee,tt Sut merely r a i l s against the Northeners, and the only element of humor in t h i s sketch i s Sut's down-to-earth language. And in Sut Lovingood. whenever the reader recognizes Harris's more direct d i a t r i b e s , as in Sut's t r i p with "old Abe Linkhorn** — *»0ur f o o l - k i l l e r s have done t h e i r duty, and consequently the South have seceded1* (SL 227) — Sut himself becomes some-what less humorous. In general, however, Harris, in his use of r e t r i b u t i o n as a theme in Sut Lovingood. achieves both comedy and s a t i r e . Where he does not use such a theme to provide him with a story, he i s less humorous, and to the modern reader, perhaps less e f f e c t i v e as a s a t i r i s t . Faulkner also uses the theme of s o c i a l r e t r i b u t i o n for s a t i r i c e f f e c t s . His **By the People1* passage in The Mansion might well be considered s a t i r e on the Southern p o l i t i c i a n s in general and perhaps on those of northern Mississ i p p i in p a r t i c u l a r . And, l i k e Harris, in treating the p o l i t i c i a n s of his age, Faulkner emphasizes Clarence Snopes's hypocrisy — a favorite theme of Southern p o l i t i c a l s a t i r i s t s . In The  Town De Spain's laughable act of r e t r i b u t i o n on the "old mossbacks,1* Mayor Adams and Colonel S a r t o r i s — that of hanging the i r law which prohibited automobiles on the streets of 103 Jefferson on the walls of the courthouse — i s perhaps mildly s a t i r i c . Further, in the "Spotted Horses" section of The  Hamlet. the peasants* desire to get something for nothing which, i r o n i c a l l y , i s the same e v i l they think Flem g u i l t y of, i s perhaps a s a t i r i c statement about the poor whites* dog-eat-dog economics and the progress of Snopesism in Frenchman's Bend. While Faulkner i s less consistently s a t i r i c in his stories of s o c i a l r e t r i b u t i o n than Harris, both writers do r e a l i z e the s a t i r i c p o s s i b i l i t i e s of the theme• Both authors are masters at combining the personal and s o c i a l motivation of r e t r i b u t i o n . In "The Widow McCloud's Mare," S t i l l y a r d s deserves Sut's retribu t i o n from both a personal and s o c i a l point of view. Sut more than l i k e l y takes as a personal injury his r i d i c u l o u s l y meager offer of "a g i l l of whiskey** as payment for helping him. And he com-mits the s o c i a l sin of being a Yankee and a lawyer who got r i c h p r a c t i c i n g on the "misfortunate devils™ with whom Sut i d e n t i f i e s . Thus, Sut i s personally and s o c i a l l y motivated to r e t a l i a t e . R a t l i f f ' s vision of Flem in H e l l i s also predicated by more than one motivation. Flem's shady note handling in the goat trade might be grounds for R a t l i f f ' s personal r e t r i b u t i o n . And his desire to see Eula marry some-one who i s more deserving of her might be the basis for the wronged fr i e n d motif. Further, his sense that Flem i s economically ruthless might provide R a t l i f f with a l t r u i s t i c grounds for his i n t e l l e c t u a l and a l l too f r u s t r a t i n g vision 104 of Flem amidst f i r e and brimstone. Of the two authors, Harris consistently combines the dif f e r e n t a n a l y t i c a l types of r e t r i -bution far more than does Faulkner. This indicates perhaps how much Harris's polemical journalism affected his thematic considerations. The same fact also indicates that Faulkner represents motivation for r e t r i b u t i o n in a more r e a l i s t i c way than Harris. That Harris takes great pains to stack the cards against Sut's adversaries becomes obvious when one considers how often one meets a Yankee-cum-avaricious lawyer-cum-Congressman who "proffers to tend the Capital grounds in shares" in American l i t e r a t u r e . But in t h e i r attitude towards r e t r i b u t i o n , especially as a comic theme, Faulkner and Harris have a p a r a l l e l admira-ti o n for the necessary assertion of individualism in an act of r e t r i b u t i o n . This i s not to say they admire violence or violent r e t r i b u t i o n . Rather, Harris and Faulkner create a comic effect by t h e i r use of the violence that r e t r i b u t i o n provides; and moreover, both condone in comic passages the ret r i b u t i o n consistent with t h e i r milieus. One f e e l s , as he reads t h e i r works, that both authors have a romantic love for, and a l i t e r a r y s k i l l in presenting, the l i f e of the f r o n t i e r . Perhaps the essence of what both authors present in t h e i r comic episodes i s the backwoodsman's perennial assertion of his sturdy individualism. While we laugh with him and .at him, we rarely can bring ourselves to steadily d i s l i k e the mythical poor white. 105 While Harris uses his squabbles for comedy and s a t i r i c purposes, Faulkner surpasses Harris's e f f o r t s by magnifying t h i s e s s e n t i a l l y simple theme into a complex orchestration of human response in a h a l f - r e a l , half-imaginary world. Part of Faulkner's a r t i s t r y l i e s in his a b i l i t y not only to achieve complex and varied effects from this theme, but in his a b i l i t y to deal with many di f f e r e n t themes in imaginative and meaning-f u l ways. While the complexities of his treatments of the themes of love and power are less conducive to humor than the theme of r e t r i b u t i o n , they indicate the magnitude of the a r t i s t r y in his t r i l o g y . Even in the complexities of laugh-able humor Faulkner surpasses his predecessors. Nowhere in Sut Lovingood do we f i n d such an imaginative r e t r i b u t i o n as R a t l i f f ' s damnation of Flem. And nowhere in Hooper's whole book of Simon Sugg's economic feats do we f i n d anything as complex as R a t l i f f ' s goat trade. Just as Faulkner's use of the theme of re t r i b u t i o n i s p a r a l l e l to Harris's use in provoking humorous situations, some of his humorous plots and incidents within these plots have p a r a l l e l s in Southwestern humor. One such p a r a l l e l i s that between Sut's and R a t l i f f ' s attacks on figures of public prominence, figures remarkably alike for t h e i r hypocrisy, John Bullen and Clarence Snopes. Cleanth Brooks, in attempting to r e c t i f y some c r i t i c a l confusion as to what relation Rat-l i f f ' s narration has to r e a l i t y , says: 106 Apparently, i t does not occur to them [the commentators] to allow for the broad embel-li s h i n g s of a tale which R a t l i f f devised and got c i r c u l a t i n g through the community and which was so good a story that i t caught on, and by turning Clarence into a laughing stock made old W i l l Varner withdraw his support.23 That this victory be played down as the t a l l e s t of t a l l tales — that i s , a t a l l tale on an already mythical f r o n t i e r — i s neither consistent with thematic development nor with the a r t i s t i c freedom that Faulkner has developed with such s k i l l throughout his t r i l o g y . R a t l i f f ' s and Sut's p a r a l l e l comic v i c t o r i e s are wholly within the t r a d i t i o n of Southwestern humor and s i m i l a r l y incorporate the confusion of man and animals. The humorous passages of action in Sut Loving;ood a r i s i n g from the same source are indeed innumerable; when they are not in fact the incident of humor i t s e l f , they are implied by Sut's language. In the t r i l o g y versions of "The Waifs** and "Centaur in Brass** precisely the same sort of language implies the confusion of man and beast. Moreover, as we have seen, the "By the People," "Fool About a Horse,™ "Mule in the Yard," and "Spotted Horses" episodes focus on just such confusion as a major source of humor. In thi s l a s t , the incident of an animal -- a large f r o n t i e r animal — being inside a house i s the same incident that makes for the laughable humor of Harris's " S i c i l y Burns' Wedding.™ Yet another p a r a l l e l i s found in the two authors* a b i l i t y to provoke humor through the use of comments on the guality of food. Whether retribution or incredulous amazement motivates 107 the character, the effect i s the same — embarrassment to the proprietor. At "Tripetown, ** where Sut was served food and says, ttI t r i e d a b i t e , and i t flew outen my mouth l i k e there'd been a steel mattress spring c o i l e d in my throat,™ (SL 196) he waits u n t i l there i s a long l i n e of d i s s a t i s f i e d customers behind him. He then gives the proprietor advice on making better coffee. To improve on the coffee now being served, Sut recommends, "just you — instead of makin outen ole boot-l e t s — put i n about half of a ole wool hat chopped-fine, f i n e r nor you chops your hash say, into pieces a inch square. It w i l l help the taste pow'ful, and not set the smell back a b i t . " (SL 197) S i m i l a r l y humorous i s Eck's question about the meat at Flem's cafe; and Faulkner, l i k e Harris, emphasizes the num-ber of people present. Eck says, "not even p r i v a t e l y but right out loud where half a dozen strangers••.heard him: 'Aint we supposed to be s e l l i n g beef in these here hamburgers? I don't know jest what this i s yet but i t aint no beef.'™ (T 33) These few examples in addition to those c i t e d elsewhere in th i s thesis, r e f l e c t the multifarious possible plot and i n c i -dent p a r a l l e l s between Harris and Faulkner. H And similar 25 p a r a l l e l s to other Southwestern humorists help to substantiate Faulkner's f a m i l i a r i t y with the genre. Many of these are, l i k e the Ike-cow story, so far removed from (and generally improved upon) the i r probable sources that the p a r a l l e l s can hardly be recognized. 108 The very d i f f i c u l t y of ascertaining precisely which incidents he did borrow and which he coined himself i s testimony to Faulkner's a r t i s t r y in topping his predecessor's yarns — the p r i n c i p l e from which the whole genre evolves. Through the invention of similar l i t e r a r y milieus, the choice and execution of a simple theme, and the use of similar plots and incidents, Faulkner, l i k e Harris, creates a mythology. Faulkner's and Harris's mythologies are those of the back-woods, "mythologies,** as Constance Rourke says, "which men disbelieved in and s t i l l riotously enjoyed, heaping invention 26 on invention." 109 FOOTNOTES: CHAPTER IV ''"Howe, pp. 2 2 - 2 3 . 2W. J . Cash, The Mind of the South (New York, 1 9 6 1 ) , p. 1 0 . 3 I b i d . . pp. 1 0 - 1 1 . ^George E. Woodberry, America in Literature (New York, 1 9 0 3 ) , p. 1 5 9 , as guoted by B l a i r in Native American Humor. P. 7 5 -5Cash, p. 81. 6 I b i d . , p. 72. 7 I b i d . , pp. 72 - 7 3 . g William Faulkner, Faulkner i n the University, p. 2 9 . 9Eby, p. 18. *^See The Lovingood Papers, ed. Ben Harris McClary, 1 9 6 2 - 1 9 6 3 . This p e r i o d i c a l i s in the process of publishing those "Sut** s t o r i e s which are not incorporated in Sut Lovin-good. Because these stories are published in the i r o r i g i n a l form, the language guoted from them in thi s thesis w i l l show more grammatical and orthographical deviations than those guotes from Sut Lovingood. ed. Brom Weber (New York, 1 9 5 4 ) . **Brooks, p. 1 0 . 12 Quoted from the Texas Monument. July 9 , 1851, by Mody C. Boatright, Folk Laughter on the American Frontier (New York, 1 9 4 9 ) , P. 16. l 3Brooks, p. 1 9 3 " * 4Henry Watterson, ed.. Oddities of Southern L i f e and  Character (New York, 1882), v i i . 15Howe, p. 7 . l 6Brooks, pp. 1 8 9 - 1 9 0 . 1 7See p. 127 of Chapter V of this t h e s i s . ^ 1 ft A OEby, p. 1 7 . 1 9 I b i d . . p. 1 6 . 110 20 Harris's invention of Sut as a p l a y f u l scoundrel whose code i s distorted, but e s s e n t i a l l y r e a l , might be con-sidered a parody both on the myths of the old South of the seaboard states and on the already s t y l i z e d exaggerated hunter-giant, such as Crockett. "Blown Up With Soda™ i s a good example. It i s unlikely that such riotous action would have been a part of the myth of the old cultured South or that e a r l i e r strong men would have been duped by merely a be a u t i f u l woman. 2 1De Voto, p. 241. 22 George Washington Harris, "Sut Lovengood, on the Puritan Yankee." The Sut Lovingood Papers. 1963, pp. 57-60. 2^  -'Brooks, p. 235. 01 ^Brom Weber ci t e s yet another p a r a l l e l (which, although not relevant to the t r i l o g y per se, again r e f l e c t s the connec-ti o n between the two authors) when he writes of "the b a s i c a l l y -i d e n t i c a l plot structure of Harris's uncollected "Well! Dad's Dead" and Faulkner's As I Lay Dying." (SL x i i i - x i v ) 25 Faulkner's "Fool About a Horse™ episode does have p a r a l l e l s with Longstreet's "Horse Swap" in both character motivation, that of wanting to beat the other man in a trade which i s viewed more as a sport than as a business, and in the comic rev e r s a l . A further s i m i l a r i t y i s the figure of the small boy in each story. But Faulkner, through his rep e t i t i o n of trading, the reappearance of the same horse throughout the trading, and through the symbolic relevance of horses and cream separators, manifestly excels Longstreet in the presentation of pure farce. 26 Constance Rourke, "Examining the Roots of American Humor," American Scholar. IV (Spring, 1935), 251- John Cullen, perhaps unwittingly, reveals the importance of Faulkner's place in the continuation of t h i s l i t e r a r y genre when he speaks about the "Spotted Horses" section of The Hamlet. He says: "The invented d e t a i l s in t h i s story are absurd. Any-one would know better than to chain a s t r i n g of wild ponies to a barbed wire as the Texan did in the story. Much less, a man from Texas. Guts would have been strung about in short o rde r. Some of Faulkner's writing i s fine reading to sell the Yankees." John B. Cullen in collaboration with Floyd C. Watkins, Old Times in the Faulkner Country (Chapel H i l l , 1961), pp. 63-64. My i t a l i c s . 0 I l l V. Character The complexities of Harris's and especially Faulkner's milieus, themes, and structures culminate in the two authors' characterizations. In t h i s chapter these f r o n t i e r characters are divided into two a n a l y t i c a l groups: thematic and struc-t u r a l . In the introductory section I further group them in re l a t i o n to the numerous stereotyped f r o n t i e r s . The s i m i l a r i t y of the two authors* milieus, themes, and structures perhaps suggest p a r a l l e l s in characterization. Both authors* characters r e f l e c t unbelievable and inventive aspects of mythology. And because Harris's and Faulkner's mythologies are wholly or partly comic, t h e i r characters are often types rather than i n d i v i d u a l s . 1 These typed characters seem to be re a l people partly because they are contrasted with f u l l y developed characters and partly because the l i t e r a r y f r o n t i e r s themselves are s t y l i z e d . This s t y l i z a t i o n i s not without h i s t o r i c a l precedent. In fact, as early as 1782, Grevecoeur, in his essay, **What 2 i s an American,** divides America into three segments — the costal (and in the North) i n d u s t r i a l i z e d c i t i e s , the near f r o n t i e r , and the far f r o n t i e r . He finds American westward expansion to result from the pioneers* conquest of the wilderness which precedes the s e t t l i n g of the land. Further, according to Crevecoeur, the men of these various Americas 112 d i f f e r considerably. For the far f r o n t i e r attracts those men who are adventurers purely for the sake of adventure. Almost t o t a l l y undisciplined, these men l i v e l i k e pigs --better, l i k e wild boar — and r e l i s h a society without i n s t i t u t i o n s . On the other hand, the s e t t l e r s of the near f r o n t i e r b u i l d a more stable society, one suitable to the i r agrarian economy which in i t s e l f implies t h e i r greater interest in a community. Crevecoeur finds that t h e i r common motivation plus th e i r heterogeneity tends to make them more tolerant and thus more democratic than either t h e i r hyper-i n d i v i d u a l i s t i c precursors or the urban population which was to some extent already et h n i c a l l y grouped by 17#2. In r e l a -tion to the s t y l i z e d nineteenth century Souths, (rather than the t o t a l America Crevecoeur outlined in the eighteenth century) these three categories need very l i t t l e modifica-t i o n . C h a r a c t e r i s t i c a l l y less i n d u s t r i a l i z e d than the North, the Southern seabord has always ref l e c t e d a more polished, Europeanized, and a r i s t o c r a t i c culture than that of the i n t e r i o r . The far f r o n t i e r of the South was reputedly even 3 more violent^ than i t s Northern counterpart. Thus, in r e l a -tion to America in general, the s t y l i z e d South contained the uttermost extremes of Americans -- from the quasi-bestial pioneers to the effete a r i s t o c r a t s . The range in the genre of Southwestern humor encom-passes such a figure of the far f r o n t i e r as Hooper's Simon Suggs and such an aris t o c r a t as Longstreet's V i r g i n i a n . 113 In Sut Lovingood. these contrasts are less v i v i d . But such ruthless scoundrels as Bullen and the proprietor at Tripetown certainly represent the dregs, i f not the core, of the far f r o n t i e r already moved west; and were Harris's p o l i t i c a l sympathies for the South less m i l i t a n t , the weak i n t e l l e c t u a l s that interrupt Sut could as well be Southern as Northern. That i s , one feels that Sut would hate t h e i r i l k whatever the i r o r i g i n , as the ess e n t i a l c o n f l i c t between them i s one between the frontiersman and the non-frontiersman. Faulkner's t r i l o g y contains such f i g u r a t i v e beasts as Byron Snopes's Indian children and such i n e f f e c t u a l a r istocrats as Mr. Backus, whose l i f e in the t r i l o g y i s j u s t i f i a b l e only as a further illumination of the similar figure, Gavin Stevens. While Gavin i s not as inactive as Backus,^ t h e i r tendency to contemplate rather than do i s similar and neither have a place on the f r o n t i e r , far or near. Even a cursory examination of Sut, R a t l i f f , and Flem in terms of Crevecoeur's f r o n t i e r groups reveals the raconteurs* s i m i l a r i t i e s and some of the origins of Flem's hatefulness. R a t l i f f , l i k e Sut, stands for decency and f a i r play, notably a facet of the near f r o n t i e r — the peace-loving and construc-t i v e American's re a l home. Flem, l i k e Simon Suggs, i s ruthless as he begins his r i s e . But Flem Snopes commits the most grievous of crimes in terms of f r o n t i e r ethics. He f i g u r a t i v e l y moves from west to east, from, as Gavin says, "scratch (scratch? scratch was euphemism indeed for where he started 114 from)..." (T 283) to a house that R a t l i f f says "might have been the s o l i d a r i s t o c r a t i c symbol of Alexander Hamilton ....» (M 154) And Flem embodies the worst of a l l three Americas: l i k e the most odious of pioneers, he i s ruthlessly destructive as he conquers nature; l i k e the worst of the near frontiersmen, he i s only interested in those i n s t i t u t i o n s , such as law, which further his advance; and, l i k e the worst of urban people, he values the trappings of c i v i l i z e d man, not the ideals of honesty and s o c i a l leadership which at th e i r best they represent. Flem i s neither the masculine American pushing westward, the honest s e t t l e r s t r i v i n g for a better community, nor a cultured a r i s t o c r a t . Perhaps he represents the worst aspects of both nineteenth and twentieth century nouveaux riches without even the i n g r a t i a t i n g , comic element of bad taste — for Flem*s sense of u t i l i t y per se leads him to buy at least the appropriate veneer of respect, and thi s at the lowest possible cash expense. In part, then, much of Flem's hatefulness stems from his un-American aspects in terms of the s t y l i z e d f r o n t i e r . S o c i a l prestige, the pursuit of wealth and adventure are American goals; but to stop when one succeeds, to gloat with s a t i s f a c t i o n i s the antithesis of a l l the best American c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s . In these terms, Flem Snopes has no prototype in nineteenth century f r o n t i e r humor. S t i l l , both Harris and Faulkner do create characters who roughly correspond to the three Americas Crevecoeur saw in the eighteenth century. While the insights that derive from placing these characters on the various f r o n t i e r s reveal the 115 two authors* keen s e n s i t i v i t i e s to basic American stereo-types, the s i m i l a r i t i e s between Harris's and Faulkner's f r o n t i e r characters are substantiated when these characters are a n a l y t i c a l l y grouped. Both authors create thematic and str u c t u r a l characters,^ and both use p a r a l l e l techniques of characterization. Their thematic characters are often caricatures; but the major st r u c t u r a l characters, such as Sut and R a t l i f f , and Gavin and Charles, are real characters. The minor s t r u c t u r a l characters such as George in Sut Lovingood, and Het and Harker * n The Town, are useful for t h e i r language alone, which, while i t does reveal t h e i r various p e r s o n a l i t i e s , does not make them important characters. These characters ex i s t , then, c h i e f l y for the language they use, and in George's case, to ask Sut the questions which lead him into his narrations. The major s t r u c t u r a l characters are obviously also thematic characters, but i t i s the i r s t r u c t u r a l importance that reveals them as complete p e r s o n a l i t i e s -- at least in contrast to the thematic characters. For these thematic characters are often caricatures, and while Faulkner's caricatures may appear to be real people at times and no less than demigods at other times, the two authors use similar methods in characterizing these figures. Commonly, Harris and Faulkner emphasize the few physical or mental as-pects of these caricatures and thereby indicate the p a r t i c u l a r aspects of good or e v i l they intend these figures to personify. 116 In Sut Lovingood. a l l of S u t ' s enemies are c a t e g o r i c a l l y e v i l , w h i l e i n the t r i l o g y , n e i t h e r t h e Snopeses, nor the a n t i - S n o p e s e s are e n t i r e l y good or e v i l . In g r o u p i n g h i s c h a r a c t e r s i n t h i s way, F a u l k n e r a c h i e v e s a more r e a l i s t i c and more complex r e p r e s e n t a t i o n of the f o r c e s i n h i s b a s i c c o n f l i c t s . The Snopeses have t h e i r Eck; and the a n t i - S n o p e s e s have Henry A r m s t i d . No such r e a l i s m c o m p l i c a t e s Sut L o v i n -good. But t h i s i s not t h e o n l y way i n which F a u l k n e r ' s t h e m a t i c c h a r a c t e r s are more r e a l i s t i c than H a r r i s ' s , f o r F a u l k n e r tends t o t r e a t them not as c a r i c a t u r e s , but as r e a l p e o p l e . And the c o m p l e x i t i e s of t h e s e c h a r a c t e r s are f u r t h e r e d by F a u l k n e r ' s s h i f t i n g p o i n t s of view, comparing them t o v a r i o u s s t a n d a r d s , and t r e a t i n g them i n d i f f e r e n t l a n g u a g e s . Thus, as they i n t e r -a ct they may g a i n o r l o s e c e r t a i n g u a l i t i e s as d i f f e r e n t n a r r a t o r s d e s c r i b e them and as they come i n c o n t a c t w i t h o t h e r t h e m a t i c c h a r a c t e r s ; and w h i l e H a r r i s ' s s i m i l a r f i g u r e s remain b l a c k or w h i t e , F a u l k n e r ' s seem t o be g r e y - t o n e d , and t h i s , l i k e t h a t of h i s m i l i e u , an o s c i l l a t i n g grey at t h a t . Because of h i s w i d e r t h e m a t i c range, the sh e e r l e n g t h of the work, and F a u l k n e r ' s a b i l i t y t o i n t e g r a t e the a c t i o n s of an immense and v a r i e d group of pe o p l e i n h i s c h r o n i c l e , t h e r e are many c h a r a c t e r s who have no p r o t o t y p e s i n Sut L o v i n -good even though they may resemble o t h e r c h a r a c t e r s of f r o n t i e r a u t h o r s o r i n c o r p o r a t e elements of f r o n t i e r humor. Such g r o -tesgu e f i g u r e s as I k e , Mink, Goodyhay and many of the b o u r g e o i s 117 characters, such as the Mallisons and Linda, have few p a r a l l e l s in Harris's work. S t i l l , for a l l the exceptions, many of Faulkner's thematic and st r u c t u r a l characters do resemble figures in Sut Lovingood. II Both authors create thematic characters who are paragons of f r o n t i e r masculinity. Eula's two lovers, Hoake McCarron and Major De Spain, have a p a r a l l e l in Sut Lovingood's friend, Wirt Staples. McCarron and De Spain both represent v i r i l i t y and masculinity in conjunction with Eula's f e r t i l i t y . How-ever, they are no more masculine than Sut's a l l y against S h e r i f f Dalton, Wirt Staples, himself married to a woman "purty as a hen canary, 1* (SL 1 5 2 ) who, as Sut describes him, might well be Eula's match. [Wirt's] britches were buttoned tight round his loins and stuffed 'bout half into his boots. His shi r t bagged out above and were as white as milk; his sleeves were r o l l e d up to his arm-pits and his c o l l a r as wide open as a gate. The muscles on his arms moved about l i k e rabbits under the skin, and onto his hips and thighs they played l i k e the swell on the r i v e r . His skin were clear red and white, and his eyes a deep, sparklin, wicked blue, while a smile f l u t t e r e d l i k e a hummin-bird round his mouth a l l the while. When the State F a i r offers a premium for men li k e they now does for jackasses, I means to enter Wirt Staples, and I ' l l g i t i t , i f there's f i v e thousand en t r i e s . (SL 1 4 5 ) No less a c r i t i c than F. 0. Matthieson substantiates the fact that Wirt i s tru l y a character of immense proportions when he 118 says that *»Wirt i s the common man in his f u l l stature. 1* Less common, but as much a '•premium** man as Wirt, Hoake McCarron, who enters Frenchman's Bend, R a t l i f f says, **like a cattymount into a sheep pen.... Like a wild buck from the woods jumping the patch fence and already trampling them l o c a l carrots and sguashes... .** (M 1 1 7 ) And De Spain i s described as being a match for Eula. While Jefferson was not yet against Flem Snopes nor **in favor of adultery, sin,** (T 15) as Charles puts i t , they were in favor of what Gavin c a l l s "the d i v i n i t y of simple unadulterated uninhibited immortal lust** (T 15) which Manfred and Eula represent. Besides being **the Jefferson Richard Lion-heart of the twentieth centiry,** (T 13) then, Manfred i s l i k e McCarron and Wirt Staples in his masculinity and v i r i l i t y . A l l are type characters, and, while Faulknerts characters are gentlemen, i t i s t h e i r v i r i l i t y that Faulkner emphasizes for thematic reasons. Their possible prototype. Wirt Staples, represents almost a f r o n t i e r deity to Sut. He is common man, witty, happy-go-lucky, and, as one c r i t i c finds 7 him, in every sense a f r o n t i e r **hero.** Both McCarron and De Spain meet their match in Faulkner's bucolic goddess, Eula Varner, whose prototype may well have been Harris's S i c i l y Burns. In fact, Eby notes the same p a r a l l e l : Eula Varner i s not the swooning female of the sentimental Southern novel...She i s instead a raw physical female...The emphasis on corporeal substance rather than ethereal 119 intangibles was also c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of des-c r i p t i o n s of the female of the e a r l i e r humorists. George W. Harris's characteriza-tion of S i c i l y Burns...delighted his masculine audience.® Sut describes S i c i l y as being "gal a l l over, from the point of her toe-nails to the end of the longest hair on the highest knob of her head — gal a l l the time, everywhere, and one of the excitingest kind." (SL 3&) Described in various languages, Eula's "corporeal substance" i s s i m i l a r l y e x c i t i n g . "Her entire appearance suggested some symbology out of the old Dionysic times — honey in sunlight and bursting grapes...." (H 9 5 ) And, "even at ages nine and ten and eleven there was too much of breast, too much of buttock; too much of mammalian meat...." (H 1 0 0 ) Both Harris and Faulkner f i n d these female caricatures useful as objects for humorous description, for t h e i r a b i l i t y to predicate events (such as "Blown Up With Soda," " S i c i l y Bums* Wedding," and R a t l i f f ' s damnation of Flem in The Hamlet). and as f o i l s for the male characters — Sut in Harris's work, and almost every male from Charles Mallison to W i l l Varner himself in Faulkner's t r i l o g y . Indeed, Faulkner's treatment of Eula i s f a r more complex both in terms of the multifarious languages used in connection with her as well as in terms of thematic development. From Charles Mallison's description, "Too much of maybe just glory...," (T 6) to W i l l Varner's earthy terminology, "confounded running b i t c h . . . , " (H 1 4 5 ) , the thought or the presence of Eula demands descriptions 120 which, besides r e v e a l i n g Eula's c h a r a c t e r ^ r e f l e c t the c h a r a c t e r who d e s c r i b e s her. And of thematic s i g n i f i c a n c e i s the f a c t t h a t Flem i s the one male i n the t r i l o g y who says a b s o l u t e l y n o t h i n g about he r . Faulkner's c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n s of Flem and E u l a i n The  Hamlet r e v e a l a c l o s e p a r a l l e l to H a r r i s ' s technigues of c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n . For both authors create c a r i c a t u r e s through emphasis and exaggeration and thus. S i c i l y Burns, E u l a , and Flem m a n i f e s t l y l a c k t o t a l p e r s o n a l i t i e s . In f a c t , by comparison to Flem (personal aggrandizement i n c a r n a t e ) and E u l a (a demigoddess of f e r t i l i t y ) , even S i c i l y seems somewhat human. But Faulkner t r e a t s h i s c a r i c a t u r e s d i f f e r e n t l y than does H a r r i s . Perhaps the most obvious change i n Faulkner's c a r i c a t u r e s can be seen i n The Town. As Cle a n t h Brooks ex-p l a i n s , "By d a r i n g to b r i n g h i s r u s t i c Helen...and h i s c o u n t r i f i e d Faustus out of the brooding c o u n t r y s i d e i n t o a s m a l l town, Fa u l k n e r immediately r i s k s trimming them down to 9 size.™ And s i g n i f i c a n t l y , i t i s i n The Town that we become aware of the humanity of both f i g u r e s . Thus, p a r t l y f o r c r e d i b i l i t y and p a r t l y f o r thematic development, Faulkner s h i f t s and t r e a t s Flem and E u l a as human bein g s . Eula's t r a n s f o r m a t i o n i n The Town i s not very s u c c e s s f u l because here, as a would-be r e a l person she i s both a more c r e d i b l e and a more p u z z l i n g c h a r a c t e r . Brooks f i n d s that "Faulkner, i n h i s anxiety t o have Eula's b e h a v i o r b a f f l e and shock Gavin Stevens, [may have] succeeded only too w e l l and 121 produced a character whose behavior b a f f l e s and shocks the reader t o o . n ^ Certainly, without the aura of goddess about her, she becomes a less humorous figure. And when we see Flem as a human being in The Town. 1 1 he becomes p i t i f u l as well as odious. But i t i s precisely the f l u c t u a t i n g nature of Faulkner's treatment of Flem that creates tension in The Town and even more e f f e c t i v e l y in The Mansion. Generally, as Mink's character in The Mansion (where, as Howe puts i t . Mink becomes "a creature with a kind of 12 bottom-dog d i g n i t y " ) would indicate, Faulkner's characters are far less laughable than his caricatures. But his a b i l i t y to s h i f t his figures from caricatures to believable, humanly motivated people r e f l e c t some s i g n i f i c a n t differences between Faulkner and Harris — the most important of which i s Faulkner's greater sense of humanity. To Harris, caricature remains abstractions of, for example, laziness and stinginess. But to Faulkner a l l of his figures — caricatures and characters alike -- are real 13 people. While for comic e f f e c t , Faulkner i s rarely more and often less a r e a l i s t than Harris, in matters of characteriza-tion, he i s i n f i n i t e l y more complex. For, viewing his figures as real people, Faulkner undoubtedly delights in finding stan-dards by which these figures seem human, delights in just such incongruities as the hateful, avaricious innocence of Flem Snopes when he realizes he must educate himself in the ways of banking. But while, as real people, they add meaningful 122 depth and tension to Faulkner's t r i l o g y — a depth and tension that Sut Lovingood generally lacks — i t i s in t h e i r roles as caricatures that Faulkner's thematic figures resemble the people we laugh at in the work of Harris and other South-western humorists. Furthermore, Flem Snopes* 4 does have an obvious proto-type in Hooper's Simon Suggs. Having said "Flem Snopes i s cut from the same cloth as Simon Suggs,1**5 one c r i t i c des-cribes t h e i r s i m i l a r i t i e s : The unscrupulous rise to power of Flem Snopes r e c a l l s the s i m i l a r r i s e of Simon Suggs. Suggs* motto, **it i s good to be s h i f t y in a new country,** would have served as well for Flem. Both men through a smooth even-tempered f a c i l i t y are able toumanipulate the strings in unstable societi e s where neither law nor conscience are strong curbs (both, i t should be noted, begin as clerks in general stores).16 But while these are not the only p a r a l l e l s , for Flem i s , l i k e Simon, machine-like and perhaps pathologically seIf-centered, Faulkner's treatment of Flem resembles Harris's treatment of Sut's enemies more than Hooper's treatment of Simon. For Simon i s capable of being humorous himself; Flem i s not. And Simon Suggs i s a far greater human being than Flem in The  Hamlet -- for we see Simon's mind at work whereas we only see the results of Flera's scheming. In t h i s , Flem resembles the proprietors, preachers, Yankee razor-grinders and lawyers that are objects of Sut's hatred. While there i s no single figure in Sut Lovingood that i s Flem's prototype, Faulkner's caricature does personify many of the e v i l s that are charac-t e r i s t i c of Sut's enemies, for Flem's g u a l i t i e s in The Hamlet 123 — his avariciousness, stinginess, sobriety, and mechanical i n s e n s i t i v i t y — are a l l q u a l i t i e s to be found in Sut's ant agoni st s • Both Harris and Faulkner knew that personifications must remain at a distance to be humorous. And thus, the reason that such a caricature as S t i l l y a r d s i s a success as a comic type i s that we never r e a l l y see him as anything more than a human likeness in torturous contortions on top of Widow McClowd's mare. Faulkner's treatment of the lesser Snopeses would indicate his similar knowledge of comic tech-nique but Flem Snopes i s not r e a l l y humorous; in fact, he i s so much an abstraction that he lacks those rudiments of human nature that are necessary and in fact are the basis of comic 17 characterization. As a pe r s o n i f i c a t i o n , he can predicate many humorous situations through others' reactions to him and through the v i r t u a l helplessness he i n s t i l l s in other people. But Flem, as a l i v i n g being, does not e x i s t . Indeed, the success of The Hamlet partly l i e s in the fact that Flem, li k e Eula, i s an abstraction. Flem's l a r g e r - t h a n - l i f e aspects derive from Faulkner's distance from him. In merely attempting to locate Flem, we often f i n d , l i k e R a t l i f f , no more than "the straw bag, the minute t i e , the constant jaw...." (H 151) And as a c a r i c a -ture, Flem i s magnificently handled. In fact, one way in which he becomes l a r g e r - t h a n - l i f e i s through the reader's f r u s t r a t i o n at Flem's lack of substance. Flem has a sort 124 of c o l l e c t i v e character -- that i s , because he i s not a person and i s the bellwether of the Snopeses, he seems g u i l t y of condoning i f not causing events (such as Lump's peep show) with which he i s not even connected. Perhaps Irving Howe describes this phenomenon as he explains the structure of The Hamlet. He finds that *»the s p i r a l l i n g [of Faulkner's narrative method and events], the c i r c l i n g , the meandering, a l l have a way of coming back, with a comic exasperation and f i n a l i t y to the steady growth of Flem's power.^ Thus, as a sort of demi-god of e v i l and avariciousness, Flem i s indeed l a r g e r - t h a n - l i f e , and this through Faulkner's extremely detached treatment that surpasses Harris's p a r a l l e l distance from his caricatures. And Flem might as easily represent the sum of the t r a i t s of Sut's adversaries as that of his own family's t r a i t s . Of lesser importance i n d i v i d u a l l y are Flem's cousins — thematic characters a l l . En masse, they constitute one of the most hateful families in the annals of American l i t e r a t u r e . ...The Snopeses are i n v i n c i b l e l i a r s and thieves because they recognize almost none of the rules of decency or f a i r play. They cheat each other, the Varners, the whole community, even the shrewd R a t l i f f . And they do i t so impersonally, imperturbably that t h e i r victims are l e f t stupefied or in helpless and abject rage. There seems to be no way of stopping them u n t i l , l i k e rodents, they have destroyed or eaten up everything in sight.19 It i s the creation of the Snopes family that t e s t i f i e s the truth of Cullen's remark that Faulkner knew "the cussedness 20 to be found in humanity everywhere....1* 125 As a group they represent many of mankind's most detest-able vices. But they rarely embody more than one or two s p e c i f i c e v i l s , and, thus, they seem at least somewhat credible in an only h a l f - c r e d i b l e f r o n t i e r . That i s , a Snopes who inh e r i t e d a l l the Snopes's e v i l t r a i t s would manifestly deserve Montgomery Ward's notion of the ideal of every Snopes — to have "the whole world recognize him as THE son of a bitch* 8 son of a bitch .** (M 87) That none of the Snopeses deserve this t i t l e indicates the r e l a t i v e nature of th e i r e v i l aspects. Even these lesser Snopeses appear somewhat human in contrast to Flem. Many of them have very close p a r a l l e l s in Sut Lovingood. Unlike Harris*s v i l l a i n s , how-ever, they often have very human weaknesses. That Faulkner's family contains such anti-Snopes figures as Eck and Wallstreet Panic and such grotesque figures as Ike and Mink r e f l e c t s , as in the other aspects of his t r i l o g y , a f a r greater range than Harris's. But the p a r a l l e l s in s p e c i f i c characters are numerous, and Faulkner, while he creates a family with more variety and greater deviations than Sut's enemies, p a r a l l e l s Harris in technigue and the s p i r i t of caricature. Both authors describe these caricatures in terms of f r o n t i e r animals. While Sut's passages of action often con-tain numerous animal references, Faulkner i s generally more 2 consistent in assigning animal-like g u a l i t i e s to the Snopeses. Greet finds that these g u a l i t i e s "reveal the essential vacuous-22 ness of those to whom they apply.** Of these, excepting. M... 126 his cousin Flem, perhaps Lump i s the most vacuous of the Snopes clan. He i s very much l i k e the devious, cheating proprietors in Sut Lovingood and becomes, through his fawning admiration for Flem, one of the most hateful of the Snopeses as he looks at the judge "with the l i d l e s s intensity of a r a t . . . . " (H 329) Lump himself finds the huge omniverous St. Elmo Snopes who "appeared to have gone to sleep chewing 'worse than a r a t . 1 " (H 323) S i m i l a r l y , in Sut Lovingood. Old Skissim's middle boy's "eatin beat the eatin of a r a t . . . [and his family] waked him to eat, and then had to wake him again to make him quit e a t i n . " (SL 17-18) But S t i l l y a r d s , who "looked l i k e a cross atween a black snake and a fireman's ladder" (SL 69) i s far less dangerous than Mink who, as Rat-l i f f says, "seems to be a d i f f e r e n t kind of Snopes l i k e a cotton-mouth i s a d i f f e r e n t kind of snake." (H 92) Further, the s i m i l a r i t i e s between Clarence Snopes and Harris's caricatures of Parson John Bullen and Sheri f f Dolton are numerous. Faulkner's figure i s both h y p o c r i t i c a l and an unprincipled p o l i t i c a n . Clarence's unprincipled power i s no more frightening than a stick of dynamite, "just as you dont mind a s t i c k of dynamite u n t i l somebody fuses i t . " (M 297) And his brother, Doris, resembles Clarence "not only in size and shape but [in] the same mentality of a c h i l d and the moral p r i n c i p l e s of a wolverine.™ (M 295) S i m i l a r l y , Sut's campmeeting g i r l f r i e n d begs Bullen "not to t e l l on her. [But] he et her cookin, he promised her he'd keep dark — and 127 then went straight and tole her man.1* And Sut comments on his actions: "Weren't that real low-down wolf-mean?** (SL 82) While other Snopeses, by t h e i r actions or c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s , are similar to Harris's J and his contemporaries* figures, these do give an indication of the close p a r a l l e l between Faulkner's and Harris's methods of dealing with thematic caricatures as well as the manifest s i m i l a r i t i e s in s p e c i f i c characters. This i s not to say that Faulkner deliberately builds on Harris's Aesopian caricatures. Rather, i t r e f l e c t s both authors* keen s e n s i t i v i t i e s to the power of f r o n t i e r simile as a descriptive tool — a s e n s i t i v i t y which, in Faulk-ner's case, may well have been engendered by his reading of Harris. Furthermore, both authors* frontiersmen embody exaggera-tions of f r o n t i e r q u a l i t i e s . Brom Weber finds that f r o n t i e r humorists, ...grossly and sardonically exaggerate the g u a l i t i e s which enabled a man to triumph over circumstances: coarseness, endurance, deci-sion, b r u t a l i t y , shrewdness, t r i c k i n e s s , speed, strength. Weakness, sentimentality, stupidity, regret, thoughtfulness, and r e s p e c t a b i l i t y were handicaps for survival in a new country, there-fore c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of the ludicrously inept and worthy only of contempt and r i d i c u l e . (SL x x i i ) While major characters such as Simon Suggs, Sut Lovingood, and 25 to some extent V. K. R a t l i f f , and Flem Snopes embody these g u a l i t i e s , Faulkner's minor frontiersmen seem somewhat less f a n t a s t i c than his predecessors* f o r he renders his characters more real by incorporating within a single character the 128 strengths and the weaknesses of the frontiersman. One such character i s W i l l Varner. While he has the obvious f r o n t i e r assets of v i r i l i t y and p r a c t i c a l i t y , he i s humorous because he has no speed or youth. [He] cheerfully...declined to accept any such theory as female chastity other than as a myth to hoodwink young husbands with..., was engaged in a l i a i s o n with the...wife of one of his own tenants. He was too old, he t o l d her baldly and p l a i n l y , to be tomcatting around at night.... (H 141-142) But the two authors' frontierswomen present more comic incongruities. Their f r o n t i e r attitudes, l i k e the f r o n t i e r s -men's, c o n f l i c t with those prevalent in the rest of America; and because they are women, these characters flout our con-cepts of femininity as well. While f r o n t i e r humor i s normally masculine, both Harris and Faulkner are well aware of the comic incongruities of the independent frontierswoman. For instance, Mrs. Hait and Mrs. Yardley strongly resemble each other; and both authors, in portraying the independent nature of these women, emphasize t h e i r masculine outlook and expres-26 sion. Another comic woman in Sut Lovingood i s the "widder McKildrin" whose only daughter has a c h i l d f i v e months after her marriage. Perhaps even more humorous to the nineteenth century audience than to more modern s e n s i b i l i t i e s i s her duping her astonished son-in-law through a copious allowance of " s w e l l - s k u l l " whiskey and her story of the "rare-ripe garden-seed's" power on growing things. A p a r a l l e l deviation from the typed outrage of the wronged g i r l ' s mother i s Mrs. 129 Varner who, in her only real appearance in the t r i l o g y , reacts to Eula's pregnancy and Jody's y e l l i n g with even more f r o n t i e r incongruity than Mrs. Yardley when she says, " I ' l l f i x both of them. Turning up pregnant and y e l l i n g and cursing here in the house when I am tryi n g to take a nap.™ (H 144) In matters of characterization, then, Faulkner p a r a l l e l s Harris both in his creation of sim i l a r characters and in his methods of creation. While Faulkner's characters perhaps encompass a wider range between comic caricature and complex human beings, the twentieth century author's greater a r t i s t r y i n r e l a t i n g character to character makes even the simplest of caricatures appear somewhat more real than those of Harris. That i s , Flem's inhumanity tends to make his cousins seem more human than they are. Only when one considers that by comparison to Flem and his cousins a figure wuch as W i l l Varner in The Ham1et seems a sympathetic human being, does one discover Faulkner's a r t i s t r y in creating and sustaining as immense a group of thematic characters as the t r i l o g y cont ains. I l l Much of the humor in Sut Lovingood derives d i r e c t l y from Harris's structural-thematic character who, because of his narrations, seems a real person. Faulkner uses a similar 130 device, but consistent to his greater complexity and greater a r t i s t r y , he creates not one, but three structural characters, Gavin Stevens, Charles Mallison, and V. K. R a t l i f f . Gavin and Charles are indeed the sources, even the subjects of much of the bourgeois humor in the t r i l o g y . S i g n i f i c a n t l y , neither appear in The Hamiet because the Heidelburg Ph.D. and middle-class c h i l d are not in fact very closely connected with the f r o n t i e r humor of the t r i l o g y . One of the salient aspects of the box-like structure i s that the narrator's character can be revealed through his language; but, except for r e t e l l i n g "what R a t l i f f s a i d " and for providing him with an interested audience, neither Gavin nor Charles are consistently c o l o r f u l in this f r o n t i e r t r a d i -t i o n . But in characterizing them through t h e i r language, Faulkner takes care to give himself range. For, i t i s the nature of small boys to assimilate others' languages and at any moment Charles Mallison may s h i f t from Gavin's romantic, Latinate, heroic style to R a t l i f f ' s earthy speech. S i m i l a r l y , Gavin, for a l l his learning, likes R a t l i f f ' s c o u n t r i f i e d speech and finds i t useful in his p o l i t i c a l appeal as county attorney. Thus, while Charles does t e l l some episodes, the f r o n t i e r humor in them i s nearly always in someone else's language; and Gavin's flowing verbosity may f i n d i t s way into either Charles or V. K. R a t l i f f ' s speech. The use of these three narrators heightens the possible language incongruities and therefore, unlike Harris's presentation of just two 131 r e a l i t i e s (those of Sut and George), Faulkner presents numerous r e a l i t i e s : "Just as,** Faulkner said in his Univer-s i t y of V i r g i n i a lectures, **when you examine a monument you w i l l walk around i t , you are not s a t i s f i e d to look at i t from 27 just one side.** Faulkner explained Gavin Stevens*s point of view as being that **of someone who had made of himself a?>.more or less a r t i f i c i a l man through his desire to practice what he had been t o l d was a good vir t u e , apart from his b e l i e f in virtues, what he had been t o l d , trained by his respect for education 28 in the old c l a s s i c a l sense.** Gavin i s obviously no f r o n t i e r s -man. His learnedness i s perhaps p a r a l l e l e d in Sut Lovingood only by an i t i n e r a n t encyclopedia salesman, who, for correcting Sut on his guotation of the marriage ceremony, i s answered, **You go to h e l l , mistofer,** (SL 124) and receives the following tirade for using the word "repose" for "sleep.™ ™5fou must talk English to me or not g i t yourself understood. I weren't educated at no Injun or nigger school." (SL I 3 6 ) Gavin's romanticism, his eagerness to see others in his own image, and the guixotic but i n e f f e c t u a l battles that rage within his own mind separate him from the t r a d i t i o n a l l y r e a l i s t i c approach common to Faulkner's and Harris's p o r t r a i t s of frontiersmen. And one might hypothesize that Gavin Stevens, in the world of Frenchman's Bend, would be egually as welcome as Harris's encyclopedia salesman. While Gavin's connection with the best of Southwestern humor i s somewhat tenuous, his conscious 132 p l a y i n g w i t h words, h i s l i t e r a r y t r a i n i n g and h i s l a w y e r ' s l o v e f o r L a t i n a t e language g i v e s him some p a r a l l e l s t o B a l d w i n , whose F l u s h Times i n Alabama r e v e a l s a s i m i l a r 29 s e n s i b i l i t y . And Gavin's l e a r n e d n e s s i s a superb f o i l f o r b o th R a t l i f f and C h a r l e s . F a u l k n e r s a i d t h a t C h a r l e s ' s m e n t a l i t y "was the m i r r o r which o b l i t e r a t e d a l l e xcept t r u t h , because the m i r r o r d i d n ' t 30 know the o t h e r f a c t o r s e x i s t e d . * * However, more o r l e s s s urrounded as he i s by R a t l i f f and G a v i n , C h a r l e s r a r e l y appears t o have a d i s t i n c t p e r s o n a l i t y . He p r e s e n t s a c r e d i b l e and u s e f u l l i n k between Gavin and R a t l i f f d u r i n g the y e a r s t h a t Gavin i s away. Both Gavin and R a t l i f f seem t o t h i n k t h a t , as a c h i l d , C h a r l e s s h o u l d l e a r n about Snopesism; t h e r e f o r e , as a prompter f o r the s t o r i e s they t e l l , C h a r l e s i s used by F a u l k n e r as H a r r i s uses George. But C h a r l e s i s c a p a b l e , i f o n l y through h i s c l o s e a s s o c i a t i o n w i t h R a t l i f f , of r e t e l l i n g s t o r i e s of f r o n t i e r humor and u s i n g a few v i v i d f r o n t i e r images of h i s own. For i n s t a n c e , h i s d e s c r i p t i o n of Montgomery Ward Snopes i s one of the most humorous f r o n t i e r images i n the t r i l o g y . When Montgomery Ward r e t u r n e d t o J e f f e r s o n t o open h i s "ATELIER MONTY," "he wasn't i n u n i f o r m C h a r l e s e x p l a i n s , "but i n a b l a c k s u i t and a b l a c k o v e r -coat w i t h o u t any s l e e v e s and a b l a c k t h i n g on h i s head k i n d of d r o o p i n g over one s i d e l i k e an empty cow's b l a d d e r made out of b l a c k v e l v e t , and a l o n g limp-ended bow t i e . . . . " (T 120) However, C h a r l e s i s g e n e r a l l y a s o r t of i n n o c e n t 133 n o n e n t i t y i n The Town. F a u l k n e r uses him as a s t r u c t u r a l c h a r a c t e r whose yo u t h and t r a i n i n g , at l e a s t i n t h e o r y , make him capable of a wide range of languages. And as an e r r a n d boy f o r Gavin and a l i s t e n e r f o r R a t l i f f , he i s i n a p o s i t i o n t o g i v e a b a l a n c e d and at time a p e n e t r a t i n g n a r r a t i o n of e v e n t . 3 1 One c r i t i c does d e s c r i b e C h a r l e s as "a p r e c o c i o u s c r i t i c 32 of t h e s o c i e t y t h a t r e j e c t s E u l a and a c c e p t s Flem.**-' Cer-t a i n l y , h i s a s i d e s are o f t e n both t r u t h f u l and humorous -'- a s u p e r b l y v i v i d example of which i s C h a r l e s ' s p a r e n t h e t i c a l c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n of Flem: **...the o l d f i s h - b l o o d e d son of a b i t c h who had a v o c a b u l a r y of two words, one b e i n g No and the o t h e r F o r e c l o s e . . . . * * (M 215-216) However, C h a r l e s ' s u l t i m a t e v a l u e i s t h a t of a v e h i c l e , not a s t r o n g p e r s o n a l i t y ; and many of the d e f i c i e n c i e s of The Town are p r e d i c a t e d , I t h i n k , by the r e a l i s t i c a l l y i n c r e d i b l e range of languages C h a r l e s u s e s . I f F a u l k n e r uses C h a r l e s more as a d e v i c e than as a p e r s o n i n The Town, he m a n i f e s t l y c o r r e c t s t h i s d e f e c t i n The Mansion. In t h i s n o v e l C h a r l e s becomes an i n d i v i d u a l . In b o t h The Town and The Mansion C h a r l e s ' s growth r e -f l e c t s the passage of t i m e ; and because C h a r l e s grows at l e a s t t o c h r o n o l o g i c a l m a t u r i t y d u r i n g modern t i m e s , i t i s through him t h a t F a u l k n e r r e v e a l s h i s own disenchantment w i t h the y o u t h f u l c r a s s c o c k s u r e n e s s of the contemporary b o u r g e o i s i e . W h i l e C h a r l e s ' s sophomoric wisdom i s perhaps 3 3 one of F a u l k n e r ' s most a r t f u l i n d i c t m e n t s ofsimodern l i f e , C h a r l e s , as a r e a l i s t i c human b e i n g , seems l e s s a f i g u r e of 134 any of the three f r o n t i e r s . As a representative of bourgeois American youth, he lacks both Gavin's sense of form and R a t l i f f ' s humanity. Both as an innocent c h i l d and as a rather crass modern youth, Charles tends to heighten Gavin's and R a t l i f f ' s stature as r e a l i s t i c human beings. This l a s t s t r u c t u r a l character, Vladimir K r i l l y t c h R a t l i f f , i s undoubtedly Faulkner's greatest achievement in characterizing a complex human being in the t r i l o g y . 3 4 Of significance to his o r i g i n a l concept of the t r i l o g y both as f r o n t i e r humor and in terms of character i s Faulkner's l e t t e r to Malcolm Cowley. Cowley guotes Faulkner: "I wrote them [the s tories after "Spotted Horses," such as "The Hound" and "Lizards in Jamshyd's Courtyard™] mainly...because 'Spotted Horses* had created a character I f e l l in love with: the 35 i t i n e r a n t sewing-machine agent...."^ Like Harris's Sut Lovingood, R a t l i f f perhaps seems even more human than he i s by comparison to other characters. As Charles Allen comments, "Faulkner's most e f f e c t i v e use of f o i l t a c t i c s i s the master-f u l h i g h l i g h t i n g of R a t l i f f ' s humanity. By opposing him to the inhumanity of everyone else...Faulkner makes them a l l R a t l i f f ' s f o i l s . " And John Arthos e n t h u s i a s t i c a l l y comments on the success of t h i s characterization: The great achievement of the work i s the characterization of Ratliff..,.The picture of the stooped man in the blue cotton s h i r t , s i t t i n g on the porch of the store, whittling, seeing everything while appearing to see nothing, matching wits with a l l , i s memorable to the point that i t i s exactly as i f one saw him there. For art of th i s kind there can be no useful comment.37 135 S t i l l , while Faulkner's a r t i s t r y in portraying R a t l i f f i s perhaps superior to the a r t i s t r y of Harris's p o r t r a i t of Sut and while R a t l i f f i s manifestly a more r e a l i s t i c and more complex human being, the two characters have much in common• To some extent both are typed characters. In other words, to Faulkner and Harris, R a t l i f f and Sut represent easily abstracted p r i n c i p l e s . But because these are the p r i n c i p l e s of the near f r o n t i e r , the combination (perhaps p e c u l i a r l y American) of s o c i a l and i n d i v i d u a l i s t i c ideals, R a t l i f f and Sut can embody these p r i n c i p l e s unostentatiously and s t i l l seem human beings. Indeed, R a t l i f f and Sut repre-sent the reader's own ideals to such an extent that i t i s d i f f i c u l t to think of them as anything but human. Both characters are i n t e l l i g e n t , r e a l i s t i c , and p r a c t i c a l — pr e c i s e l y as the reader hopes himself to be. Allen finds R a t l i f f to represent "the whole pantheon of American values," and Faulkner's own evaluation of Sut ("He had no i l l u s i o n s about himself, did the best he could; at certain times he was a coward and knew i t and wasn't ashamed; he never blamed his misfortunes on anyone and never cursed God for them.™^ ) p a r t i a l l y reveals Sut as representing a similar "pantheon of American values." Of Sut's values, Weber says, ...out of the seeming chaos and meanness of Sut's personality and actions there gradually arises a superstructure revealing that a morality and a philosophy have been in existence always; that they contain, i r o n i c a l l y enough, numerous t r a d i t i o n a l and wholesome values. (SL xxv) 136 Thus, Sut and R a t l i f f are t o some e x t e n t t y p e d c h a r a c t e r s — almost demigods of the near f r o n t i e r . As such, Sut Lovingood i s a t o t a l f r o n t i e r s m a n . H i s c h a r a c t e r c o n t a i n s t o some degree a l l of Weber's p o s i t i v e f r o n t i e r g u a l i t i e s . 4 ^ In a c c o r d w i t h h i s p r e d i l e c t i o n t o i n c o r p o r a t e f r o n t i e r s t r e n g t h s and weaknesses i n h i s c h a r a c -t e r s , F a u l k n e r h e i g h t e n s the r e a l i s m and humanity of R a t l i f f by making him f a l l i b l e and human i n h i s l a p s e s i n t o d e j e c t i o n , d i s i l l u s i o n m e n t , and b i t t e r i r o n y when, f o r i n s t a n c e , e x a s p e r a t e d w i t h the ha m l e t ' s t o t a l l a c k of m e a n i n g f u l a c t i o n , he s a y s , "What i s i t t h e f e l l o w s a y s ? o f f w i t h the o l d and on w i t h the new; the o l d j o b at the o l d s t a n d , maybe a new f e l l o w d o i n g the j o b b i n g but i t ' s t h e same o l d s t e r n g e t t i n g reamed o u t ? " (H 1 6 4 ) 4 1 And perhaps even the f a c t t h a t R a t l i f f i s not immune t o s i c k n e s s f u r t h e r s h i s t i e s w i t h humanity. To a g r e a t e x t e n t Sut i s s i m i l a r l y f a l l i b l e and e m o t i o n a l i n a v e r y human way, but R a t l i f f ' s humanity i s f a r g r e a t e r and farumore s u c c e s s f u l than S u t ' s . C e r t a i n l y , the r e a d e r has a b e t t e r sense of R a t l i f f as a man than he does of S u t . While t h i s sense d e r i v e s from F a u l k n e r ' s more s u c c e s s f u l g r a d a t i o n of f o i l s and the f a c t t h a t R a t l i f f , u n l i k e S u t , does not c o n s t a n t l y t e l l h i s own s t o r i e s , R a t l i f f ' s c h a r a c t e r i s f u r t h e r enhanced by t h e g r e a t e r i r o n i c t r u t h of h i s f a i l u r e . And w h i l e S u t ' s d e f e a t i n "Blown up w i t h Soda™ i s s h o r t - l i v e d and humorous, R a t l i f f ' s d e f e a t at Flem's hands i s perhaps the s t r o k e t h a t b e s t v i v i f i e s R a t l i f f i n the t r i l o g y because, un-l i k e S u t , R a t l i f f must l i v e w i t h i t throughout the t r i l o g y 137 and i t i s a l o s s of more importance than S u t ' s u n r e q u i t e d puppy l o v e . That R a t l i f f i s r a t i o n a l man's r e p r e s e n t a t i v e i n the b a t t l e a g a i n s t Snopesism suggests the grave i m p l i c a -t i o n s of h i s d e f e a t . W h i l e Eby f i n d s t h a t »the r e a l p r o t a g o n i s t [ i n The Hamlet1 i s not R a t l i f f , Flem o r any o t h e r human c h a r a c t e r but Frenchman's Bend i t s e l f , * * R a t l i f f ' s f a l l tends t o l i n k him w i t h the most human c h a r a c t e r s of The  Hamlet. Longley s a y s : "The major i r o n y of the Frenchman's P l a c e e p i s o d e i s t h a t i t p r e c i s e l y r e p e a t s the p a t t e r n of the s p o t t e d h o r s e s , w i t h e x a c t l y the same k i n d of temptation.** Moreover, R a t l i f f ' s r a t i o n a l i t y i n the f a c e of h i s d e f e a t makes him t r u l y a h e r o i c f i g u r e and r e f l e c t s F a u l k n e r ' s a r t i s t i c g e n i u s i n f u s i n g the adm i r a b l e endurance and p a t i e n c e of man w i t h h i s i n h e r e n t w e a k n e s s e s . 4 4 A l l e n f i n d s t h a t **the statement...made i n ' S p o t t e d Horses* i s the c o m p a s s i o n a t e l y proud and f i e r c e l y s a r d o n i c c o n v i c t i o n t h a t man endures — even i n s p i t e of h i s s t u b b o r n a d d i c t i o n t o f r a i l t y and e v i l . * * 4 5 R a t l i f f ' s p e r s i s t e n t r a t i o n a l i t y t h r ough The Town and The Man-s i o n c e r t a i n l y s u g g e s t s t h a t "man not merely endures; he w i l l p r e v a i l . 1 * 4 ^ In t h i s way, R a t l i f f i s c e r t a i n l y a f i g u r e of g r e a t e r l i t e r a r y , i n d e e d human s i g n i f i c a n c e than Sut Lovingood. T h i s i s not t o say t h a t R a t l i f f i s not a S u t - l i k e c h a r a c t e r ; r a t h e r i t i s t o a s s e r t R a t l i f f ' s m a n i f e s t success i n r e p r e s e n t i n g a moral t r u t h of g r e a t e r magnitude than does S u t . R a t l i f f , however, i n a c t i o n and a t t i t u d e s , r e f l e c t s t he i n t i m a c y of F a u l k n e r ' s a c g u a i n t a n c e w i t h Sut L o v i n g o o d . 138 Sut and R a t l i f f are both active frontiersmen. Both actively fight i n j u s t i c e and have a similar awareness of forces larger than themselves. Their acts of retribu t i o n on such figures as John Bullen and Clarence Snopes reveal the two raconteurs* similar clearheadedness — minds which penetrate the t i t l e s of "Reverend** and "Senator.** As frontiersmen, Sut and R a t l i f f are p r a c t i c a l and r a t i o n a l . Of the two, Sut i s obviously far more active and much less r e a l i s t i c , i f more consistently humorous. Sut*s actions d i r e c t l y reveal his f r o n t i e r morality. He t i r e l e s s l y wages war on cheats. The battles he fights almost always result in physical action, although often his imaginative and psychological t a c t i c s predicate this action and his long legs deli v e r him safe from harm at precisely the distance required to v i v i d l y recount that action. In his decisive, imaginative r e t r i b u t i o n s , Sut Lovingood i s a character of heroic proportions. But, as Allen remarks, " R a t l i f f ' s measure of heroism can be gauged not so much by his p a r t i c u l a r actions as by his unostentatious morality. By implication he stands for...the morality and truth and ju s t i c e of Gavin Stevens." But R a t l i f f ' s motivation for choosing his p a r t i c u l a r morality is more akin to Sut Lovingood*s than Gavin Stevens. Sut, as a man of the near f r o n t i e r , has an aura of masculine p r a c t i -c a l i t y about him. In fact, in the "Preface" to Sut Lovingood, speaking about those readers whose concern for t h e i r reputa-tions w i l l motivate them to read the work secretly, Sut i s 1 3 9 g u i d e d by h i s p r a c t i c a l sense. He speaks of the f u t i l i t y of a t t e m p t i n g t o reason w i t h t h e s e p e o p l e . He s a y s : They has been p r e a c h e d t o and p r a y e d f o r now n i g h onto two thousand y e a r s , and I won't d a r t weeds where t h i r t y - t w o pound shot bounces back. (SL x x x i i ) 4 S Thus, Sut g e n e r a l l y f o l l o w s what might have been the maxim of J a c k s o n i a n democracy, a " l i v e and l e t l i v e 1 * m o r a l i t y u n t i l he e n c o u n t e r s t h o s e g r o s s and w r a n k l i n g i n j u s t i c e s t h a t he f i g h t s so a r d e n t l y . F a u l k n e r says t h a t R a t l i f f , i n The Town, " p r a c t i c e d v i r t u e from s i m p l e i n s t i n c t , from — w e l l , more than t h a t , because -- f o r a p r a c t i c a l r e a s o n , because i t was b e t t e r . There was l e s s c o n f u s i o n i f a l l people d i d n ' t t e l l l i e s t o one a n o t h e r , and d i d n ' t p r e t e n d . " ^ 9 C e r t a i n l y , R a t l i f f ' s m o r a l i t y i s a p r a c t i c a l one i n comparison t o t h a t of Gavin S t e v e n s ' s . Thus, both R a t l i f f and Sut are r e a l i s t i c a l l y m o t i v a t e d f o r the s o c i a l s t a b i l i t y n e c e s s a r y t o the near f r o n t i e r . And t h e i r s i m i l a r , r e a l i s t i c views of the f a n t a s t i c f r o n t i e r i s the most i m p o r t a n t aspect of our b e l i e v i n g i n them. The r e a d e r t r u s t s R a t l i f f because he, l i k e S u t , "had no i l l u s i o n s about h i m s e l f , " and few, i f any i l l u s i o n s about o t h e r s . No s m a l l p a r t of t h e i r comic e f f e c t d e r i v e s from t h i s t r u s t . I t i s t o a g r e a t e x t e n t the source of our detachment from the comic a c t i o n of t h e i r n a r r a t i o n s , f o r our f e e l i n g s a f e w i t h them, and even f o r ( i n R a t l i f f ' s c ase) our r e l a t i v e detachment from a l l the o t h e r f r o n t i e r f i g u r e s i n the t r i l o g y . 140 As raconteurs (or, as I c a l l them e a r l i e r , s t r uctural characters), R a t l i f f and Sut are the major source of the f r o n t i e r humor in the two works. Their importance as racon-teurs cannot be over-emphasized. The box-like structure used by Harris and Faulkner i s a sword with a double edge. The s t o r y - t e l l e r i s only as successful as his story, because the story r e f l e c t s the character of the raconteur. Thus, that both characters are generally consistent to t h e i r stories suggests Harris's and Faulkner's superb a r t i s t r y in using this device. Moreover, i t implies the two authors* steadfast views of these characters. Because they are raconteurs, Sut and R a t l i f f are closer to the reader than the thematic characters. R a t l i f f , as Faulkner's most able raconteur of f r o n t i e r humor and most consistently sympathetic figure in the t r i l o g y , then, has a counterpart in Sut. Faulkner's sense of c r e d i b i l i t y 5 ^ and his earnest desire to write a ••chronicle" and not merely a c o l l e c t i o n of humorous stories substantiates the fact that R a t l i f f i s less prominent in The Town and The Mansion than i n The Hamlet. That the reader awaits R a t l i f f ' s shrewd evaluation of events even in the l a t e r novels where he appears only occasionally indicates the extent to which we align ourselves with his r a t i o n a l i t y . Sut's narratives prove him to be equally r a t i o n a l , i f more exuberant. The cardinal p a r a l l e l in the two raconteurs' si m i l a r appeal i s t h e i r expression. John J. H e f l i n finds "Sut, himself, i s very prominent as the t e l l e r of the story, his H i manner immensely i m p o r t a n t . " And T. Y. Greet s a y s , "The manner of [ R a t l i f f ' s ] speech as much as i t s m a t t e r l e n d s t o 5 h i s r e p o r t s and comments the v e r a c i t y which g i v e s them v a l u e . " R a t l i f f ' s and S u t ' s f r o n t i e r speech makes them seem at once bumpkins and p o e t s . T h e i r appeal d e r i v e s from the f a c t t h a t they are not p o e t i c enough t o r u i n t h e i l l u s i o n of t h e i r c o u n t r y h e r i t a g e and they are not s t u p i d enough t o s l i p i n t o the g r a t i n g aphorisms of an I . 0. Snopes. To f i n d i n t e l l i -gence such as S u t ' s and R a t l i f f ' s on a g e n e r a l l y u n i n t e l l i -gent f r o n t i e r i s a r e v e l a t i o n . And both as r a c o n t e u r s and c h a r a c t e r s , they are l i k e t h e i r h i s t o r i c a l p r e d e c e s s o r s , the y a r n - s p i n n e r s , who, Weber sa y s , c o n s i s t e n t l y ™underscore[d] the p r o x i m i t y of t h e homely and h e r o i c , " (SL x x i i i ) perhaps the f u s i o n of which g r a t i f i e s a d e s i r e which, i f not i n d i g e n o u s t o A m e r i c a n s , i s one u n d e n i a b l y American i n s p i r i t . And, u l t i m a t e l y , R a t l i f f resembles Sut (as F a u l k n e r resembles H a r r i s ) i n the s p i r i t — the m a s c u l i n e , e a r t h y , and r e a l i s t i c s p i r i t — of f r o n t i e r humor. However s i m i l a r t h e i r i n d i v i d u a l t r a i t s , t h e i r o u t l o o k r e p r e s e n t s t h a t of a young and o p t i m i s t i c f r o n t i e r s m a n — s i m u l t a n e o u s l y i n d i v i d u a l and s o c i a l . The nomadic m i s c h i e f - m a k e r and the i t i n e r a n t sewing machine salesman e p i t o m i z e the common man at h i s b e s t . S u t ' s f a n c i f u l d e s c r i p t i o n s of h i s h e r o i c deeds are p o e t i c . R a t l i f f ' s s i m i l a r language and h i s a d m i t t e d p r e d i l e c -t i o n t o t e l l the s t o r y of E u l a and McCarron not as he t h i n k s 53 i t o c c u r r e d , but as he p r e f e r s i t t o have happened, J s u b s t a n -t i a t e s t h e i r s i m i l a r i t i e s as r a c o n t e u r s . 142 Perhaps the g r e a t e s t s i m i l a r i t y between these two r a c o n t e u r s l i e s i n the r e a d e r ' s i n s t a n t a n e o u s acceptance of them. For t h e i r sense of humor, t h e i r sense of i r o n y , and the r e a d e r ' s sense of t h e i r honesty and i n t e g r i t y a l l conduce t o t h e i r s i m i l a r a p p e a l as c h a r a c t e r s and t h e i r s u c c e s s as r a c o n t e u r s . They, t h e m s e l v e s , are i n i m i t a b l e . But the memorable p o r t r a i t s of the two r a c o n t e u r s — Sut Lovingood, " r e s t i n g by a f i n e c o o l s p r i n g at noon, w i t h an i n v i t i n g l y c l e a n gourd h a n g i n g on a bush over the w a t e r , . . . at f u l l l e n g t h on the g r a s s l o o k i n g i n t e n t l y at the g o u r d , " (SL 104) and V. K. R a t l i f f , h i s " b l a n d a f f a b l e ready f a c e and h i s neat t i e l e s s b l u e s h i r t one of the s g u a t t i n g group at a c r o s s r o a d s s t o r e . . . " (H 13) — remind us of t h e i r k i n -s h i p i n s p i r i t . Sut Lovingood and V. K. R a t l i f f v i v i f y and s u b s t a n t i a t e De Vote's g e n e r a l i z a t i o n : "To the eyes of any-one...who reads American l i t e r a t u r e , . . . t h e American i s u n i v e r s a l l y a s t o r y t e l l e r . " 5 4 And w h i l e F a u l k n e r i s i n every r e s p e c t a r t i s t i c a l l y s u p e r i o r t o H a r r i s , i n R a t l i f f ' s n a r r a t i o n s , h i s c h a r a c t e r , the p e o p l e , the l a n d , and the language do become the s t o r i e s as i n the most p r i s t i n e --Sut Lovingood — f r o n t i e r humor. 143 FOOTNOTES: CHAPTER V A l l a r d y c e N i c o l l f i n d s t h a t most comic w r i t e r s " w i l l t r y t o suggest t h a t a c e r t a i n f i g u r e i s i t s e l f r e p r e s e n t a t i v e of a c l a s s . The fundamental assumption of comedy i s t h a t i t does not d e a l w i t h i s o l a t e d i n d i v i d u a l i t i e s . * * ( A l l a r d y c e N i c o l l , An I n t r o d u c t i o n t o Dramatic Theory (London, 1923), P. 134.) 2 H e c t o r S t . John De Cr e v e c o e u r , "What i s an American,™ L e t t e r s From an American Farmer (London, 1951)/ PP- 39-68. 3 S e e C h a p t e r IV, p. 81 of t h i s t h e s i s . That Texas i n p a r t i c u l a r a t t r a c t e d the most d e s p e r a t e men i n the c o u n t r y was a common n i n e t e e n t h c e n t u r y myth. ^Backus, C h a r l e s s a y s , would be " . . . s i t t i n g a l l day l o n g out t h e r e on t h a t f r o n t g a l l e r y w i t h a g l a s s of whi s k e y -and-water i n one hand and Horace o r V i r g i l i n the o t h e r — a c o m b i n a t i o n which U n c l e Gavin s a i d would have i n s u l a t e d from t h e r e a l i t y of r u r a l n o r t h M i s s i s s i p p i h a r d e r heads than h i s — ..." (T 178) 5 The term t h e m a t i c c h a r a c t e r i n d i c a t e s a c h a r a c t e r who embodies t h e m a t i c elements, but i s not a r a c o n t e u r . Two examples are Flem and E u l a . A s t r u c t u r a l c h a r a c t e r , l i k e R a t l i f f , i s a r a c o n t e u r and may a l s o embody t h e m a t i c elements o r , l i k e such a c h a r a c t e r as o l d Het, he may be p u r e l y s t r u c -t u r a l . The r e a d e r l e a r n s about t h e m a t i c c h a r a c t e r s by what they do and t h u s , whether n a r r a t e d by s t r u c t u r a l c h a r a c t e r s o r an o m n i s c i e n t n a r r a t o r , t h e i r p o r t r a i t s are c h a r a c t e r i s t i -c a l l y o b j e c t i v e o r i n the t h i r d p e r s o n . S t r u c t u r a l c h a r a c t e r s may or may not be p o r t r a y e d by o t h e r n a r r a t o r s * comments, but these s t r u c t u r a l c h a r a c t e r s r e v e a l t hemselves through t h e i r own n a r r a t i v e s and thus are p r e s e n t e d s u b j e c t i v e l y or i n the f i r s t p e r s o n . ^F. 0 . M a t t h i e s s e n , American R e n a i s s a n c e : A r t and  E x p r e s s i o n i n the Age of Emerson and Whitman(New Y o r k , I 9 6 0 ) , p. 643. 7 I b i d . , p. 643. 8 E b y , pp. 18-19. 9 7 B r o o k s , p. 193. I b i d . , pp. 211-212. H4 See Chapter 17, pp. 262-295 of The Town where, perhaps i r o n i c a l l y , i t i s Gavin S t e v e n s , one of the most ardent a n t i -Snopes f i g u r e s , who r e c o n s t r u c t s Flem's a c t i v i t i e s as v i c e -p r e s i d e n t of the bank. Here, Flem's innocence and l a c k of e d u c a t i o n makes him at l e a s t a somewhat s y m p a t h e t i c underdog. 1 2Howe, p. 112. 13 ^Asked i f he thought of the c h a r a c t e r s " . . . i n The Town as p e o p l e and not as sym b o l s , " F a u l k n e r answered, "Yes. Yes;, t o me th e y are p e o p l e . . . . " ( F a u l k n e r i n the U n i v e r s i t y , p. 108.) And i n r e f e r e n c e t o the Snopeses: "Those c h a r a c t e r s t o me are q u i t e r e a l and q u i t e c o n s t a n t . " ( i b i d . . p. 78.) 1 / fThroughout t h i s d i s c u s s i o n (pp. 122-125 of t h i s t h e s i s ) I r e f e r t o Flem Snopes, the c a r i c a t u r e and f i g u r e of S o u t h -western humor, as he i s p r e s e n t e d i n The Hamlet. 1 5 E b y , p. 14. ^ I b i d . , p. 18. 17 See F o o t n o t e 1 of t h i s c h a p t e r . Flem, because he i s a f r o n t i e r d e i t y i n The Hamlet, becomes an " i s o l a t e d " i n d i -v i d u a l i t y . 1 8Howe, p. 245• 1 9 W i l l i a m Van O'Connor, The Tangled F i r e of W i l l i a m  F a u l k n e r ( M i n n e a p o l i s , 1954), P« 118. 2 0 C u l l e n , p. 117. 21 Campbell and F o s t e r ' s " r o l l c a l l , " a l t h o u g h not a com-p l e t e one, s e r v e s t o v a l i d a t e F a u l k n e r ' s c o n s i s t e n c y : 1. Flem Snopes ( f r o g l i k e ) 2. I . 0. Snopes, the p l a t i t u d i n a r i a n (weasel) 3. L a n c e l o t (Lump) Snopes ( r a t l i k e ) 4. Ike H. Snopes, t h e i d i o t ( b o v i n e ) 5. "Mink™ Snopes, th e murderer 6. S t . Elmo Snopes -- omnivorous, huge, f l e s h y , b e a s t l i k e (Campbell and F o s t e r , pp. IO4-IO5.) 22 T. Y. G r e e t , "The Theme and S t r u c t u r e of F a u l k n e r ' s The Hamlet." i n W i l l i a m F a u l k n e r : Three Decades of C r i t i c i s m , p. 336. 23 -'See Chapter IV, p. 107 of t h i s t h e s i s . Eck's comment on the q u a l i t y of f o o d i n Flem's r e s t a u r a n t r e v e a l s him t o be more l i k e Sut than any of the Snopeses. 145 2L. Ab d o e s , i n h i s i n n o c e n t , s t u p i d g r e e d a n d b r a v a d o , h a v e many p a r a l l e l s w i t h L o n g s t r e e t ' s " B l o s s o m , ™ who c l a i m s t o b e " a l e e t l e . j i s t a l e e t l e . o f t h e b e s t man a t a h o r s e -swap t h a t e v e r t r o d s h o e l e a t h e r . 1 * ( G e o r g i a S c e n e s , p . 23.) Ab s i m i l a r l y t e l l s h i s w i f e , " Y o u b e t t e r t h a n k t h e L o r d t h a t when He g i v e me a e y e f o r h o r s e f l e s h He g i v e me a l i t t l e j u d g m e n t a n d g u m p t i o n w i t h i t . " (H 3 l ) 25 F a u l k n e r o n c e c o r r e l a t e d t h e s c o u n d r e l t o t h e i n d i v i d u a l . He s a i d , " . . . a s c o u n d r e l , t o b e a g o o d o n e , must be an i n d i -v i d u a l i s t , t h a t o n l y an i n d i v i d u a l i s t c a n be a f i r s t r a t e s c o u n d r e l . " F a u l k n e r t h e n a d m i t t e d ( i n t h e w o r d s o f a q u e s t i o n e r ) t o h a v e "some g r u d g i n g a d m i r a t i o n f o r F l e m S n o p e s , who p r e t t y w e l l s t i c k s t o h i s c h a r a c t e r , " ( i n F a u l k n e r ' s w o r d s ) " . . . u n t i l h e was b i t t e n by t h e b u g t o be r e s p e c t a b l e , a n d t h e n he l e t me down.™ ( F a u l k n e r i n t h e U n i v e r s i t y , p . 33•) 26 E x a m p l e s o f t h e i r m a s c u l i n e l a n g u a g e a p p e a r i n C h a p t e r I I I , p p . 62-63 ° f t h i s t h e s i s . I n f a c t , t h e i n d e p e n d e n t woman o f t h e f r o n t i e r h a s l o n g b e e n a s o u r c e o f c o m e d y . T h e i n d e -p e n d e n t M r s . H a i t h a s a m a n i f e s t p a r a l l e l i n L o n g s t r e e t ' s woman i n " T a k i n g t h e C e n s u s ™ who b r i n g s h e r c h i c k e n s i n t h e h o u s e f o r t h e " c h i c k e n - m a n ™ t o s e e . O t h e r s u c h i n d e p e n d e n t S o u t h e r n women i n F a u l k n e r ' s c a n o n a r e J e n n y D u P r e , R o s a M i l l a r d a n d e v e n E m i l y G r i e r s o n . 27 ' F a u l k n e r i n t h e U n i v e r s i t y , p p . I 3 9 - I 4 O . 2 8 I b i d . . p . 140. 2 9 B o t h G a v i n a n d B a l d w i n c o n s c i o u s l y t o y w i t h l a n g u a g e a n d , t o m o d e r n t a s t e s , a r e s t u f f i l y e r u d i t e . S e e T 43 a n d C h a p t e r I I , p . 17 o f t h i s t h e s i s . 30 F a u l k n e r i n t h e U n i v e r s i t y , p . I4O. 31 •* R e f e r t o C h a p t e r I I I , p . 43 o f t h i s t h e s i s w h e r e C h a r l e s f i n d s G a v i n t o be " c r a n k - s i d e d . ™ F u r t h e r , C h a r l e s s a y s o f G a v i n ' s p r a i s e f o r t h e l a d i e s who c a l l e d on M r s . S n o p e s , " I t w o u l d be t h e m o s t o u t r a g e o u s p r a i s e , p r a i s e s o o u t r a g e o u s t h a t e v e n Gowan a t j u s t t h i r t e e n y e a r s o l d c o u l d t e l l t h a t . " (T 31) 3 2 V i c k e r y , p . I83. 3 3 - ^ C h a r l e s ' i m a g i n e d w i r e t o R a t l i f f m a g n i f i c e n t l y r e -f l e c t s t h i s y o u t h ' s s e l f - i n f a t u a t i o n a n d n a r r o w v i s i o n . T h e l a n g u a g e i s p e c u l i a r l y m o d e r n b u t p e r h a p s t h e t o n e o f c o c k -s u r e n e s s i s common t o o v e r c o n f i d e n t y o u t h i n g e n e r a l . C h a r l e s t h i n k s : " A r e t h e y [ G a v i n a n d L i n d a ] b e d d e d f o r m a l l y y e t o r n o t ? I mean is. i t r o s a y e t o r s t i l l j u s t s u b , assuming t h a t  y o u a s s u m e t h e same a s s u m p t i o n t h e y t e a c h u s up h e r e at H a r v a r d  t h a t once y o u g e t t h e clotheB o f f t h o s e t a l l up-and-down women  y o u f i n d o u t t h e y a i n t a l l t h a t up-and-down a t a l l . " (M 205) 146 One of the most f l a g r a n t m i s r e a d i n g s of F a u l k n e r i s committed by I r v i n g Howe, u s u a l l y a sound and c a r e f u l c r i t i c , when he comments on t h i s passage. Howe sa y s , " N o t h i n g i n the t e x t , so f a r as I can see, p r o v i d e s any ground f o r sup-p o s i n g t h a t F a u l k n e r t a k e s a c a u s t i c view of t h i s sophomoric wisdom, o r t h a t he wishes us t o see M a l l i s o n i n any but a s y m p a t h e t i c l i g h t . " (Howe, p. 288.) 3 4 F a u l k n e r * s c r i t i c s are u n i f i e d on at l e a s t one aspect of h i s t r i l o g y — the s u c c e s s of R a t l i f f as a c h a r a c t e r . While many of the c r i t i c a l comments about him r e f e r t o R a t l i f f i n The Hamlet, they have an e q u a l r e l e v a n c e t o him throughout the t r i l o g y . A l t h o u g h he i s l e s s prominent i n The Town and The Mansion. R a t l i f f i s a c o n s i s t e n t c h a r a c t e r i n the t r i l o g y . 3 5 ^ C o w l e y , p. 366. F a u l k n e r ' s p r e d i l e c t i o n t o t h i n k i n terms of c h a r a c t e r i s s u b s t a n t i a t e d a g a i n : "My book [perhaps S a n c t u a r y o r The U n v a n g u i s h e d l had c r e a t e d Snopes and h i s c l a n , who produced s t o r i e s i n t h e i r saga which are t o f a l l i n l a t e r volumes." 3 6 C h a r l e s A l l e n , " W i l l i a m F a u l k n e r : Comedy and the Purpose of Humor." A r i z o n a Q u a r t e r l y . XVI (i960), 67. A l -though Mr. A l l e n r e f e r s s p e c i f i c a l l y t o The Hamlet. I t h i n k h i s statement a p p l i e s t o R a t l i f f i n the whole t r i l o g y , p a r -t i c u l a r l y i n a study which f o c u s e s on the f r o n t i e r humor of the t r i l o g y . 37 ^ John A r t h o s , " R i t u a l and Humor i n the W r i t i n g s of W i l l i a m F a u l k n e r , A c c e n t . IX (Autumn, 194&), 27. He a l s o n o t e s the r e l a t i o n s h i p of R a t l i f f t o F a u l k n e r ' s o t h e r c h a r a c t e r s , In The Hamlet, " f o r the f i r s t time [ i n a n o v e l ] F a u l k n e r s e t s up a r a t i o n a l man as the c e n t r a l f i g u r e i n a s t o r y . The g a i n i s enormous, c o n s i d e r i n g the c h a r a c t e r s and p i c t u r e s have l o s t n e i t h e r i n t e n s i t y or v i v i d n e s s . " ( A r t h o s , p. 27.) 3 8 A l l e n , p. 65-3 9 S t e i n , p. 79- Without c o m m i t t i n g the l o g i c a l e r r o r of a s s e r t i n g t h e i r a b s o l u t e s i m i l a r i t y , I t h i n k i t i s i n -t e r e s t i n g t o note t h a t F a u l k n e r ' s c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n of Sut a p p l i e s e g u a l l y w e l l t o R a t l i f f . 4°See Ch a p t e r V, p. 127 of t h i s t h e s i s . 4 * R a t l i f f * s b i t t e r d i a t r i b e a g a i n s t Snopesism i n c l u d e s h i s s a t i r i c use of aphorisms, I . 0. Snopes's prominent t r a i t . But the v i l l a g e r s * bewilderment at R a t l i f f ' s b i t t e r n e s s emphasizes b o t h h i s humanity and h i s n o r m a l l y steady a f f a -b i l i t y . " B i g e a r s have l i t t l e p i t c h e r s , the w o r l d b e a t s a t r a c k t o the r i c h man's hog-pen but i t a i n ' t every f a m i l y 147 has a new lawyer, not to mention a prophet. Waste not want not, except that a f u l l waist dont need no prophet to prophesy a p r o f i t and just whose.1* Now they were a l l watching him — the smooth, impenetrable face with something about the eyes and the lines beside the mouth which they could not read." (H I64) 4 2Eby, p. 20. 4 3Longley, p. 74« ^ ^ R a t l i f f acknowledges his defeat through understate-ment, a commonplace of f r o n t i e r humor. "Bet you one of them I beat you [Bookwright]." (H 366) Longley praises Faulkner's a r t i s t r y in this passage. "It i s easy to imagine what might follow this r e a l i z a t i o n in the hands of a less g i f t e d writer: despair, rage, c r i e s of anguish. In Faulkner's hands the reaction i s reduced to simple comment." (Longley, p. 76.) Further, R a t l i f f ' s reaction heightens rather than subdues the tension of the closing pages of The Hamlet. 4 5 A l l e n , p. 67. ^ W i l l i a m Faulkner, "Stockholm Address," in William  Faulkner: Three Decades of C r i t i c i s m , p. 348. 4 7 A l l e n , p. 64. LB Sut's answer to those who "have a wholesome fear of the d e v i l , " and thus w i l l f i n d Sut's stories improper i s both p r a c t i c a l and sane: " . . . i f you i s feared of smut, you needn't climb the chimney." (SL xxxii) I Q Faulkner in the University, p. 140. 50 Vickery finds that The Town lacks the economic d i r e c t -ness of The Hamlet; therefore (because Jefferson offers him no medium in which to battle the Snopes) R a t l i f f becomes a reporter in the two l a t e r novels of the t r i l o g y . (See Vickery, p. I 8 3 . ) ^ 1John J. H e f l i n , J r . , George Washington Harris ("Sut  Lovingood"): A Biographical and C r i t i c a l Study. Vanderbilt University Masters Thesis (Nashville, 1934)/ P- 53. 5 2 G r e e t , p. 335-53 •'See The Mansion, p. 119 f f . Through his narrative R a t l i f f comments that he i s t e l l i n g the story as he thinks i t should have taken place. For example, after giving a general and abbreviated account, R a t l i f f comments, "Except I dont think that was exactly i t . I dont think I prefer i t 148 to happened that way, I think I prefer i t to happened a l l at once." (M 119) **My conjecture i s jest as good as yourn, maybe better since ITm a interested party, being as I got what the f e l l e r c a l l s a theorem to prove.* (M 122) De Voto, p. 92. 149 BIBLIOGRAPHY Works by F a u l k n e r : F a u l k n e r , W i l l i a m . C o l l e c t e d S t o r i e s of W i l l i a m F a u l k n e r . New Yo r k , 1950. . The Hamlet. New York? V i n t a g e E d i t i o n . . The Mansion. New York, 1959. . M o s q u i t o e s . New York; D e l l , 1962. '. The P o r t a b l e F a u l k n e r , e d i t e d w i t h i n t r o -r ' , -duct i o n by Malcolm Cowley. New Yo r k , 1946. . The R e i v e r s . New Y o r k , 1962. . "Stockholm A d d r e s s , " W i l l i a m F a u l k n e r : Three Decades of C r i t i c i s m , eds. F r e d e r i c k J . Hoffman and Olga W. V i c k e r y . New Yo r k , 1963. . The Town. New Y o r k : V i n t a g e E d i t i o n , 1961. Works of S o u t h w e s t e r n Humor: B a l d w i n , Joseph G. The F l u s h Times of Alabama and M i s s i s s i p p i : A S e r i e s of S k e t c h e s . New Y o r k , 1854. B l a i r , W a l t e r , ed. " I n t r o d u c t i o n . " N a t i v e American Humor. San F r a n c i s c o , I960. B o a t r i g h t , Mody C , ed. " I n t r o d u c t i o n . " F o l k L aughter on  the American F r o n t i e r . New Yo r k , 1949. H a r r i s , George Washington. Sut Lovingood. e d i t e d w i t h an i n t r o d u c t i o n by Brora Weber. New York, 1954« . The Lovingood P a p e r s , ed. Ben H a r r i s M c C l a r y . K n o x v i l l e : U n i v e r s i t y of Tennessee P r e s s , 1962-1963-[Hooper, Johnson J o n e s ] . A d v e n t u r e s of C a p t a i n Simon Suggs. L a t e of the T a l l a p o o s a V o l u n t e e r s ; t o g e t h e r w i t h " T a k i n g  the Census." and o t h e r Alabama S k e t c h e s . P h i l a d e l p h i a , I848. [ L o n g s t r e e t , Augustus B a l d w i n ] . G e o r g i a Scenes. New Yo r k , 1897. 150 Meine, F r a n k l i n J . , ed. T a l l T a l e s of the Southwest. New York, 1930. Thorpe, Thomas Bangs. " B i g Bear of A r k a n s a s , " T a l l T a l e s of  the Southwest, ed. F r a n k l i n J . Meine. New York, 1930, pp. 9-[21]. W a t t e r s o n , Henry, ed. " I n t r o d u c t i o n . " O d d i t i e s of So u t h e r n  L i f e and C h a r a c t e r . New York, 1882. Secondary Works: A l l e n , C h a r l e s A. " W i l l i a m F a u l k n e r : Comedy and the Purpose of Humor," A r i z o n a Q u a r t e r l y . XVI (i960), 59-69. A r t h o s , John. " R i t u a l and Humor i n the W r i t i n g s of. W i l l i a m F a u l k n e r . " A c c e n t . IX (Autumn, 1948), 17-30. B r o o k s , C l e a n t h , W i l l i a m F a u l k n e r : The Yoknapatawpha  County.. New Haven, 1963. Campbe l l , H a r r y and R u e l F o s t e r , W i l l i a m F a u l k n e r : A C r i t i c a l  A p p r a i s a l . Norman: U n i v e r s i t y of Oklahoma P r e s s , 1951. Cash, W. J . The Mind of the S o u t h . New York, 1961. Cohen, Hennig. "Mark Twain's Sut Lovingood,™ The Lov i n g o o d  Papers (1962), [19]-24-C o l l i n s , C a r v e l . " F a u l k n e r and C e r t a i n E a r l i e r S o u t h e r n F i c t i o n . " C o l l e g e E n g l i s h . XVI (November, 1954), 92-97. C u l l e n , John B., i n c o l l a b o r a t i o n w i t h F l o y d W a t k i n s . O l d  Times i n t h e F a u l k n e r C o u n t r y . Chapel H i l l : U n i v e r s i t y of N orth C a r o l i n a P r e s s , 1961. De Cr e v e c o e u r , H e c t o r S t . John. L e t t e r s from an American  Farmer. London, 1951. De Voto, B e r n a r d . Mark Twain's A m e r i c a . New York, 1933. Eby, C e c i l D. " F a u l k n e r a n d C e r t a i n E a r l i e r S o u t h e r n F i c t i o n , " Sh en an do ah'.. XI (1959), 13"21. G a l b r a i t h , Margaret E d i t h . F a u l k n e r ' s T r i l o g y : Technique as  Approach t o Theme. Vancouver: U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Colum-b i a M a s t ers T h e s i s , 1962. G r e e t , T. Y. "The Theme and S t r u c t u r e of F a u l k n e r ' s The  Hamlet." W i l l i a m F a u l k n e r : Three Decades of C r i t i c i s m , eds. F r e d e r i c k J..Hoffman and Olga W. V i c k e r y . New York, 1963, PP. 330-347.. 151 Gwynn, F r e d e r i c k L. and Joseph L. B l o t n e r , eds. F a u l k n e r i n  the U n i v e r s i t y : C l a s s Conferences at the U n i v e r s i t y of  V i r g i n i a 1 9 5 7 - 1 9 5 8 . C h a r l o t t e s v i l l e : U n i v e r s i t y of V i r g i n i a P r e s s , 1 9 5 9 . H e f l i n , John J . , J r . George Washington H a r r i s ("Sut Lovingood* 1) :  A B i o g r a p h i c a l and C r i t i c a l S t u d y . N a s h v i l l e : V a n d e r b i l t U n i v e r s i t y M a s t e r s T h e s i s , 1934* Hoffman, F r e d e r i c k J . and O l g a W. V i c k e r y , eds. W i l l i a m  F a u l k n e r : Three Decades of C r i t i c i s m . New Y o r k , I963. Howe, I r v i n g . W i l l i a m F a u l k n e r : A C r i t i c a l S t u d y . New Y o r k , 1 9 6 2 . L o n g l e y , John L e w i s , J r . The T r a g i c Mask: A Study of  F a u l k n e r * s Heroes. Chapel H i l l : U n i v e r s i t y of N o r t h C a r o l i n a P r e s s , 1 9 6 3 . M a t t h i e s s e n , F. 0 . American R e n a i s s a n c e : A r t and E x p r e s s i o n  i n the Age of Emerson and Whitman. New Y o r k , I 9 6 0 . M c l l w a i n e , S h i e l d s . The S o u t h e r n Poor White. 'Norman: U n i -v e r s i t y of Oklahoma P r e s s , 1 9 3 9 -Mencken, H. L. The American Language. New York, 1 9 3 7 -N i c o l l , A l l a r d y c e . An I n t r o d u c t i o n t o Dramatic Theory. London, 1 9 2 3 . 0»Conner, W i l l i a m Van. T a n g l e d F i r e of W i l l i a m F a u l k n e r . M i n n e a p d l i s : U n i v e r s i t y of M i n n e s o t a P r e s s , 1954* P a t t e e , F r e d L e w i s . A H i s t o r y of American L i t e r a t u r e S i n c e  1 8 7 0 . New Y o r k , 1 9 1 5 -Robb, Mary Cooper. W i l l i a m F a u l k n e r : An E s t i m a t e of h i s  C o n t r i b u t i o n t o the American N o v e l . P i t t s b u r g h : U n i v e r -s i t y of P i t t s b u r g h P r e s s , 1 9 6 3 . Rourke, Constance. American Humor: A Study of the N a t i o n a l  C h a r a c t e r . New York, 1 9 5 3 -. "Examining the Roots of American Humor," American S c h o l a r . IV ( S p r i n g , 1 9 3 5 ) , 2 4 9 - 2 5 4 -S t e i n , J e a n . " W i l l i a m F a u l k n e r : An I n t e r v i e w . " W i l l i a m F a u l k n e r : Three Decades of C r i t i c i s m , eds. F r e d e r i c k J . Hoffman and O l g a W. V i c k e r y . New Y o r k , 1 9 6 3 , pp. 6 7 -82. 152 Thompson, Lawrance. William Faulkner: An Introduction  and Interpretation. New York, 1963. Vickery, Olga. The Novels of William Faulkner: A C r i t i c a l Interpretation. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1959-

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