Summary (Masterplots, Fourth Edition)
The Snopes family, which comes out of nowhere after the Civil War, successfully completes the invasion of Frenchman’s Bend. Now Flem Snopes, son of Ab Snopes, a bushwhacker, sharecropper, and horse thief, is ready for the next goal, the domination of Jefferson, the county seat of Yoknapatawpha County. Flem is ruthless, shrewd, uneducated, and possessed of a fanatic belief in the power of money. The townspeople, who saw him when he took over Frenchman’s Bend and then left it under the control of other family members, are wondering about Flem’s next move. Among those interested are Gavin Stevens, a young lawyer educated in Heidelberg, and V. K. Ratliff, a good-natured sewing machine salesman, who makes up for his lack of education with a great measure of common sense. Stevens feels a moral responsibility to defend the town against the Snopeses, and Ratliff was once the victim of Snopesism when, thinking that it contained a buried treasure, he bought worthless property from Flem for a high price. Another who becomes an assistant in the fight against the Snopes infiltration is Stevens’s nephew, Charles Mallison, who watches the Snopes invasion from his childhood through adolescence.
Flem realizes that more subtle methods for conquering Jefferson are necessary than those he used in Frenchman’s Bend. The greatest advantage for him is his marriage with Eula Varner, daughter of Will Varner, chief property owner in that community. When Eula is pregnant,...
(The entire section is 1258 words.)
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