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Document Type

Thesis - University Access Only

Award Date


Degree Name

Master of Arts (MA)

Department / School



In the Snopes Trilogy, the community of Jefferson is pervaded by evil personified by one man, Flem Snopes. Four community members--V.K Ratliff, Gavin Stevens, Linda Snopes, and Mink Snopes--confront Flem's victimization of the town and individuals. This confrontation evolves from its inception in The Hamlet, to its development in The Town, and finally, is acted out in The Mansion. The confrontation begins with one man, Mink Snopes, who has an imaginative vision of murdering Flem that he carries with him for thirty-eight years. Mink's dream for revenge is put into words by Ratliff and Gavin who create a context for Mink's killing of Flem by verbalizing it, since Mink is inarticulate and has few words of his own. In the final novel, word becomes deed and the killing takes place. In the context of the story, the murder is a creative act that rises to the level of myth and brings restoration to the community.
Faulkner's ideas about language are remarkably similar to the Native American oral tradition. His characters, especially Ratliff, have indigenous ideas about language--that words are a powerful weapon for overcoming an enemy. The ideas about word power:--the magic power of language to create physical reality, to speak things into existence, that words, set in motion by verbalizing them, become deed--are rooted in the Native American oral tradition. These traditions are explored and. exemplified by the contemporary Native American writer N. Scott Momaday; therefore, the paper concludes with House Made Of Dawn parallels. House Made Of Dawn, like The Mansion, contains an imaginative killing that brings new life to the community when Abel murders the albino, Juan Reyes Fragua.

Library of Congress Subject Headings

Faulkner, William, 1897-1962 -- Criticism and interpretation
Momaday, N. Scott, 1934- House made of dawn -- Criticism and interpretation
Snopes family (fictitious characters)




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