|Media type||Print (Hardback & Paperback)|
|Preceded by||A Fable|
|Followed by||The Mansion|
The Town is a novel by the American author William Faulkner, published in 1957, about the fictional Snopes family of Mississippi. It is the second of the "Snopes" trilogy, following The Hamlet (1940) and completed by The Mansion (1959).
Each chapter is narrated from the point of view of one of three characters: Chick Mallison, Gavin Stevens, or V.K. Ratliff.
Flem moves into Jefferson; is cuckolded by de Spain. De Spain's election. Flem is made power-plant supervisor. Flem steals brass from the plant. Flem plays Tom Tom and Turl off against each other; Tom Tom cuckolds Turl. The firemen hide the brass in the water tower.
Eck Snopes saves a Varner Negro, breaking his neck in the process; he is "never in the world a Snopes." He changes jobs several times. Discussion of Snopes family structure, economy. I.O. Snopes comes to town and moves up (e.g., becomes schoolmaster). Children of Eck and I.O. The Snopes Hotel opens.
Jefferson gossips about Eula. The Cotillion Ball is planned; de Spain invited after some debate. De Spain squeals his tires; under Gavin's instigation, Gowan finally manages to pop one of his tires. De Spain sends Gowan a special corsage; the town experiences a corsage panic leading up to the ball. At the ball, Gavin challenges, fights, and is beaten by de Spain.
Recap: trial of Mink Snopes for killing Jack Houston. Gavin prepares an indictment against de Spain, as mayor, for Flem's theft of the brass at the power plant, largely motivated by his desire to stand up for "the principle that chastity and virtue in women shall be defended whether they exist or not." Gavin receives an anonymous note ...
Gavin meets with Eula in his office at night. She offers to sleep with him, out of a desire to keep him from being unhappy. (93) Gavin deduces that Flem is impotent. Gavin analyzes his own personality and Eula's motives, and declines her offer.
De Spain outmaneuvers Gavin on the brass-stealing indictment, rendering the investigation moot. Ratliff speculates about why de Spain appeals to Eula, while Gavin does not. Gavin leaves for Heidelberg.
Gavin joins the French service in WWI; catches pneumonia while carrying a stretcher for them. Eck Snopes blows up a gas tank and himself, too, while looking for a missing child, Cedric Nunnery; his neck brace is all that can be found to bury. Montgomery Ward Snopes, in France, goes into the "canteen business," then opens the Atelier Monty when he gets home. Chick and Ratliff form their ice-cream/Snopes-watching association. Bayard Sartoris accidentally kills his grandfather, the Colonel, with that damned newfangled car. Byron Snopes steals money from Sartoris's bank. Wall Snopes begins to set up his trade empire. Brother (?) of Ab Snopes and the watermelon patch. Gavin is home from Europe.
Gavin speculates on the principles of Snopesism (hermaphroditic but vested always in the male); on the relationships between himself, Eula, and de Spain. Flem rises in the bank hierarchy, trading again on Eula; also trading on the fact that he makes good Byron's theft; acquires methodological knowledge of banking. He withdraws his money and deposits it in a competing bank. Wall Snopes graduates, marries a woman who hates the Snopes clan and all they stand for, and goes into business for himself. Flem blocks Wall from getting a loan to expand; Wall expands anyway and opens a wholesale.
Chapter consists entirely of these sentences: "Because he missed it. He missed it completely."
Uncle Willy Christian's drugstore robbed of money and narcotics; night marshal Grover Winbush is nowhere to be found during the event. This starts a chain of events leading to the uncovering of the Atelier Monty as a "dirty picture" "magic lantern," which is why Grover Winbush was not available to catch the perpetrators of the robbery. Flem tries to influence Gavin in the handling of the Montgomery Ward case, then plants whiskey in the Atelier Monty.
Chapter consists entirely of this paragraph: "And still he missed it even set--sitting right there in his own office and actively watching Flem rid Jefferson of Montgomery Ward. And still I couldn't tell him." Here, Ratliff is aware that Flem is ensuring that Montgomery Ward will be sent to Parchman (for the whiskey) rather than an out-of-state prison (for the porn, a federal charge) so that he will have a chance to trick Mink into attempting to escape.
Linda is meeting Gavin; Gavin's motive is to "develop her mind." Linda comes to dinner with the Stevens/Mallison family; her boyfriend Matt objects, driving up and down in his racing car. Matt attacks Gavin in his office leaves after giving him a good beating.
In which Linda cries a great deal and it becomes apparent that she is willing to marry Gavin, although she doesn't really want to get married at all, despite the fact that she loves Gavin.
Matt follows Linda around town, gets in a fight with a McCallum boy, and is forced out of town. Gavin buys Linda a traveling case.
Gavin speculates on Linda's good name and on the nature of the quality of innocence. He attempts to manage carefully the town's perception of his relationship with Linda by making their encounters seem coincidental. Gavin and Linda avoid each other, then try to meet. Eula reveals her plans to attend the Jefferson Academy for Women (or whatever it's called); Gavin is horrified. He goes to call on Linda, who explains how Flem bought his furniture. Eula asks Gavin to marry Linda. The details of Eula's dowry are clarified.
(Cf. the short story "Mule in the Yard.") The story of Old Het. Mr. Hait's death; Mrs. Hait snopeses I.O. Snopes over the matter of the killed mules. Mrs. Hait invaded by mules. Her house burns down, but she saves her money. Mrs. Hait buys the mule that burned the house down from I.O. at a reduced price, and shoots it; then she sells it back to I.O. before he discovers that it's dead. Flem forces I.O. back to Frenchman's Bend permanently. Ratliff hypothesizes on Flem's plans and motives, esp re: Linda. Flem, he argues, must now have respectability.
Gavin speculates on Flem's "untimely" interest in money. Flem's method/motivation in withdrawing money from his own bank; the effects this had. Gavin speculates on Eula's sexual motives, plus those of Varner & de Spain. Speculation about how Eula disrupts the economy of Snopesism. Flem gives Linda permission to go away to school because he has extracted something more valuable than he gives her. Flem tells Mrs. Varner that Eula is cheating on him.
Ratliff gives Flem a ride out to Frenchman's Bend. Uncle Billy drives in early.
Polio comes to Jefferson; Chick and schoolmates get an extended holiday while the town officials try to figure out what to do. No one will explain the de Spain-Eula affair to Chick. Ethnography/history of Jefferson. The affair is finally actually public instead of just semi-publicly gossiped about. Eula gives Chick an envelope to give to Gavin.
Eula's note asks Gavin to meet her in his office at 10pm. Mr. Garraway disapproves of adultery. Geographical description of Yoknapatawpha County. The town waits for the affair to blow up. Eula visits Gavin; reveals how Linda was sent to the Academy, that Flem is impotent, and what Ratliff's first and middle names actually are. Asks Gavin again (several times) to marry Linda.
Eula has killed herself. The town is outraged at de Spain; he has to leave. Eula's funeral arrangements are made.
Gavin insists to Linda that Flem is her father; Linda is doubtful.
Flem's social/financial position is apparently solidified. Eula's monument is delegated to Gavin; he arranges for it. Ratliff suggests that Gavin marry Linda. Linda makes travel plans and departs after she and Flem see her mother's grave.
Ratliff/Gavin's theory about Eula's motive for suicide: Eula was bored. The half-Apache children of Byron Snopes come to visit, then are sent back.
Andrew Lytle has noted Faulkner's particular focus on Flem as the key protagonist of the novel, and discussed the multiple levels of social respectability depicted in the novel.Raymond J Wilson III has examined the mutual corruption of the town of Jefferson by Flem Snopes, and vice versa, as well as details in narrative inconsistencies between events mentioned in The Town and other Faulkner novels. Paul Levine has discussed the recurring themes of love and money in the course of the trilogy.
Owen Robinson has noted the contrast in the narrative style and tone between The Hamlet and The Town.Thomas H Rogers commented critically, in his contemporary review of the novel, in his comparison between the literary merits of The Hamlet and The Town. Peter Swiggart has noted that the events and style in The Town reflect Faulkner's attempts to create a more realistic social milieu compared to his other works.
William Cuthbert Faulkner was an American writer known for his novels and short stories set in the fictional Yoknapatawpha County, based on Lafayette County, Mississippi, where Faulkner spent most of his life. Faulkner is one of the most celebrated writers of American literature, and is widely considered one of the best writers of Southern literature.
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The Sound and the Fury is a novel by the American author William Faulkner. It employs several narrative styles, including stream of consciousness. Published in 1929, The Sound and the Fury was Faulkner's fourth novel, and was not immediately successful. In 1931, however, when Faulkner's sixth novel, Sanctuary, was published—a sensationalist story, which Faulkner later said was written only for money—The Sound and the Fury also became commercially successful, and Faulkner began to receive critical attention.
Sartoris is a novel, first published in 1929, by the American author William Faulkner. It portrays the decay of the Mississippi aristocracy following the social upheaval of the American Civil War. The 1929 edition is an abridged version of Faulkner's original work. The full text was published in 1973 as Flags in the Dust. Faulkner's great-grandfather William Clark Falkner, himself a colonel in the American Civil War, served as the model for Colonel John Sartoris. Faulkner also fashioned other characters in the book on local people from his hometown Oxford. His friend Ben Wasson was the model for Horace Benbow, while Faulkner's brother Murry served as the antetype for young Bayard Sartoris.
As I Lay Dying is a 1930 Southern Gothic novel by American author William Faulkner. Faulkner's fifth novel, it is consistently ranked among the best novels of 20th-century literature. The title derives from Book XI of Homer's Odyssey, wherein Agamemnon tells Odysseus, "As I lay dying, the woman with the dog's eyes would not close my eyes as I descended into Hades."
Sanctuary is a 1931 novel by American author William Faulkner about the rape and abduction of an upper-class Mississippi college girl, Temple Drake, during the Prohibition era. The novel was Faulkner's commercial and critical breakthrough and established his literary reputation, but was controversial given its themes. It is said Faulkner claimed it was a "potboiler", written purely for profit, but this has been debated by scholars and Faulkner's own friends.
Go Down, Moses is a 1942 collection of seven related pieces of short fiction by American author William Faulkner, sometimes considered a novel. The most prominent character and unifying voice is that of Isaac McCaslin, "Uncle Ike", who will live to be an old man; "uncle to half a county and father to no one". Though originally published as a short story collection, Faulkner considered the book to be a novel in the same way The Unvanquished is considered a novel. Because of this, most editions no longer print "and other stories" in the title.
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"A Rose for Emily" is a short story by American author William Faulkner, first published on April 30, 1930, in an issue of The Forum. The story takes place in Faulkner's fictional Jefferson, Mississippi, in the equally fictional county of Yoknapatawpha. It was Faulkner's first short story published in a national magazine.
"Barn Burning" is a short story by the American author William Faulkner which first appeared in Harper's in June 1939 and has since been widely anthologized. The story deals with class conflicts, the influence of fathers, and vengeance as viewed through the third-person perspective of a young, impressionable child. It precedes The Hamlet, The Town, and The Mansion, the three novels that make up Faulkner's Snopes trilogy.
The Hamlet is a novel by the American author William Faulkner, published in 1940, about the fictional Snopes family of Mississippi. Originally a standalone novel, it was later followed by The Town (1957), and The Mansion (1959), forming the "Snopes trilogy."
The Mansion is a novel by the American author William Faulkner, published in 1959. It is the last in a trilogy of books about the fictional Snopes family of Mississippi, following The Hamlet and The Town.
Requiem for a Nun is a work of fiction written by William Faulkner. It is a sequel to Faulkner's early novel Sanctuary, which introduced the characters of Temple Drake, her friend Gowan Stevens, and Gowan's uncle Gavin Stevens. The events in Requiem are set in Faulkner's fictional Yoknapatawpha County and Jackson, Mississippi, in November 1937 and March 1938, eight years after the events of Sanctuary. In Requiem, Temple, now married with a child, must learn to deal with her violent, turbulent past as related in Sanctuary.
The Long, Hot Summer is a 1958 American drama film directed by Martin Ritt. The screenplay was written by Irving Ravetch and Harriet Frank Jr., based in part on three works by William Faulkner: the 1931 novella "Spotted Horses", the 1939 short story "Barn Burning" and the 1940 novel The Hamlet. The title is taken from The Hamlet, as Book Three is called "The Long Summer". Some characters, as well as tone, were inspired by Tennessee Williams' 1955 play, Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, a film adaptation of which – also starring Paul Newman – was released five months later.
"Spotted Horses" is a novella written by William Faulkner and originally published in Scribner's magazine in 1931. It includes the character Flem Snopes, who appears in much of Faulkner's work, and tells in ambiguous terms of his backhand profiteering with an honest Texan selling untamed ponies. Spotted Horses was later incorporated into The Hamlet under the title "The Peasants: Chapter One". It features V.K Ratliff who appears in other Faulkner short stories and is a prominent character in The Hamlet, The Town and The Mansion.
Intruder in the Dust is a 1949 crime drama film produced and directed by Clarence Brown and starring David Brian, Claude Jarman Jr. and Juano Hernandez. The film is based on the 1948 novel Intruder in the Dust by William Faulkner.
The Sound and the Fury is a 1959 American drama film directed by Martin Ritt. It is loosely based on the 1929 novel of the same name by William Faulkner.
Knight’s Gambit is a 1949 short story collection by the American author William Faulkner, and contains a short story of the same name. The book collects six of Faulkner’s stories about attorney Gavin Stevens, who also takes a leading part in his novel Intruder in the Dust.
Gavin Stevens is a lawyer and the county attorney in Jefferson in Faulkner’s fictional Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi. He was educated at Harvard and Heidelberg universities.