Places Discussed

(Critical Guide to Settings and Places in Literature)

Yoknapatawpha County

Yoknapatawpha County (YOK-nuh-puh-TAW-fuh). Beginning with his third novel, William Faulkner set a great deal of his fiction in the imaginary Yoknapatawpha County. Faulkner drew this county for a map included in his novel Absalom, Absalom! (1936). He included details about plot events and where they occurred. The county is named after a river in Mississippi and the Native American word Yoknapatawpha. The details make it clear that it corresponds to Lafayette County, Mississippi, where Faulkner lived in the town of Oxford, called Jefferson in his fiction. Throughout Faulkner’s fiction, he creates a detailed history of the land, its inhabitants, its changes, and its significance. By taking his home, what he called his own “little postage stamp of native soil,” and transforming it into the powerful mythical county of his fiction, Faulkner created an enduring literary landscape.


Jefferson. Typical southern town of the period, Jefferson plays a central role in the story. The siblings play on their land and the surrounding area, from Benjy’s pasture to neighboring yards, the riverbank, and the creek, where a number of important events take place. The powerful last scene of the novel takes place in the town square, complete with Confederate statue, where Luster upsets Benjy by going the wrong way on a one-way street. The town is also where Jason rushes in and out of the store...

(The entire section is 553 words.)