Asterisk denotes entries on real places.
No further miscegenation is recorded until 1940, when Roth fathers a son by an unnamed black woman who is, like Roth, a great-great-great grandchild of the family patriarch, Carothers McCaslin. Like much of the agrarian South, the McCaslin plantation is a dark and bloody ground, on which black and white coexist uneasily, each group suffering the consequences of McCaslin family history as the sins of the father are continually visited upon the sons. “Was” begins on the McCaslin plantation, while nearly all of “The Fire and the Hearth” takes place there.
*Tallahatchie River. Mississippi river whose alluvial “big bottom” region (also called “the woods”) contains Major de Spain’s hunting camp. Here Sam Fathers teaches the young Ike McCaslin to shoot and here the yearly hunts for Old Ben take place. Later, Uncle Ike, Roth Edmonds and the others go hunting in what is left of the big bottom in 1940. For Ike, the center of consciousness as a boy in “The Old People” and “The Bear,” and as an old man in “Delta Autumn,” the big bottom represents the wanton destruction of the land, its game, and its people. In the woods, Ike learns a deep and abiding love for all three.
Jefferson. Seat of Yoknapatawpha County, located approximately seventy-five miles southeast of the real city of Memphis, Tennessee. Modeled after the real town of Oxford, Faulkner’s home, Jefferson appears in many of Faulkner’s works. Parts of “The Fire and the Hearth” and all of “Go Down, Moses,” the final story in this episodic novel, are set in Jefferson, where Gavin Stephens maintains his office, and where he takes up a collection to return the body of Molly and Lucas Beauchamp’s grandson, Samuel Worsham (“Butch”) Beauchamp, home for burial after Butch is executed for murder in Illinois in 1940. Jefferson represents modern law, or rather, its inadequacy. The authorities in Jefferson cannot untangle the stories of Lucas Beauchamp and his son-in-law, George Wilkins, during their comic trial for bootlegging. Here, too, attorney Gavin Stephens does what he can to right the wrongs of the past. What he can do seems little enough: Unlike Moses, he cannot save Butch Beauchamp but can only retrieve his corpse.
Warwick. Plantation owned by Hubert Beauchamp and his spinster sister, Sophonsiba, approximately twenty miles from the McCaslin farm. Most of the comic action of “Was” takes place at Warwick, so called because Sophonsiba (“Sibbey”) believes her brother is the rightful earl of Warwick, England. Sophonsiba stations a slave boy at the gate to blow a fox horn when guests arrive, and her pretentiousness regarding the plantation satirizes the aspirations of frontier society and the comical attempts of southern men to adhere to an aristocratic code, while providing an appropriate setting for the comical “foxhunt” that occurs as Uncle Buck hunts his escaped slave–and half brother–Tomey’s Turl.