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William Faulkner: How His Life Affected His Work

             Yoknapatawpha County is a fictional place after William Faulkner's own Lafayette County. It is where many of his works are staged and carries a legendary reputation in the Deep South. The town of Jefferson is within Yoknapatawpha County and is the fictional equivalent of Oxford, Faulkner's home town. In the short story "Barn Burning," Faulkner uses his familiar Yoknapatawpha County, and in "A Rose for Emily," his town of Jefferson. Not only does Faulkner recycle his settings, he does the same with many of his characters. There's a book by Margaret Patricia Ford and Suzanne Kincaid called the Who's Who in Faulkner, devoted entirely to explaining how his characters carry over from story to story. Though the roots of his settings and character may not be original, the economy and elegance of the words he uses to give such vivid descriptions of his settings and characters is what makes him great. His own non-fictional setting is the stepping stone that he used to give such great imagery. The happenings of Faulkner's stories occur in a fictional place called Yoknapatawpha County, set in Northern Mississippi. Yoknapatawpha is very natural for Faulkner to describe because it's familiarity to his own non-fictional Lafayette County. Yoknapatawpha is the country where the Snopes family roams. The Snopes go from place to place traveling the southern terrain that Faulkner grew up in, and is so familiar with. Miss Emily lives in the town of Jefferson within Yoknapatawpha. Jefferson is the non-fictional version of Oxford Faulkner's home town. He describes Miss Emily's house if it was on a main street that was once residential, and as time went on became more commercial. Her house was once a place of envy, a big beautiful home. Judging from the employment of Faulkner's grandparents he was likely very wealthy, or at least much more wealthy than the people around him. He likely grew up in a house much like Miss Emily's.

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