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Faulkner's Geographies$
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Jay "Watson and Ann J. "Abadie

Print publication date: 2015

Print ISBN-13: 9781496802279

Published to University Press of Mississippi: September 2016

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781496802279.001.0001

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date: 15 August 2018

Jamestown and Jimson Weed: Charting the Autochthonous Claim of William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury

Jamestown and Jimson Weed: Charting the Autochthonous Claim of William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury

Chapter:
(p.65) Jamestown and Jimson Weed: Charting the Autochthonous Claim of William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury
Source:
Faulkner's Geographies
Author(s):

Kita Douglas

Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
DOI:10.14325/mississippi/9781496802279.003.0005

This essay examines William Faulkner’s critical engagement with land, race, and territorial occupation in The Sound and the Fury by tracing the historical and regional significance of the jimson weed throughout the novel. The essay argues that the weed’s etymological origin as Jamestown weed links Benjy Compton and Yoknapatawpha with the seventeenth-century colony of Jamestown, Virginia and the twinned inception of chattel slavery and indigenous erasure. Linking autochthony and indigeneity with the colonial possession of land and bodies, the essay argues that Faulkner’s representation of Benjy’s recursive consciousness and body points to a colonial geopolitics that has profoundly shaped modern conceptions of embodiment and time. This essay challenges prevailing critical perceptions that The Sound and the Fury does not significantly engage with slavery by highlighting colonial Virginia as a site of discursive power that the author returns to throughout his works.

Keywords:   The Sound and the Fury, Jimson Weed, Autochthony, Indigeneity, Slavery

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