Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)

Yoknapatawpha County

Yoknapatawpha County (YOK-nuh-puh-TAW-fuh). Fictional county in northern Mississippi, modeled on the region in which William Faulkner lived most of his life—a region that constitutes the fictional world of most of his novels and stories. A representation of the South from its earliest settling to modern times, Yoknapatawpha serves as a repository of southern history, legends, and communal memories. Against this backdrop, Chick Mallison confronts his long-held attitudes, becoming, himself, an intruder in the dust.


Jefferson. Fictional seat of Yoknapatawpha County, based on Faulkner’s hometown of Oxford, Mississippi. Jefferson is the home of Chick, who is horrified to see the throngs of people converging there to witness the impending lynching of Lucas Beauchamp that is expected to be carried out by the Gowries. The town assumes a holiday atmosphere; music blares; people, including families with children, arrive, eat, joke with one another, and gather outside the jail. Chick’s lawyer uncle, Gavin Stevens, digresses endlessly about the South, while presuming Lucas’s guilt and awaiting the inevitable.

Beat Four

Beat Four. Hilly region of Yoknapatawpha County that is inhabited by the Gowries and other poor white families. Living in unpainted one-room cabins, these independent, uncompromising, and clannish people pursue illegal whiskey making,...

(The entire section is 536 words.)