A. Grocery Store/Courthouses
The courthouse is found on the grocery store’s premises itself. While there are court hearings, the pungent smell of cheese and other strong-smelling meat which Starky is able to identify with his nose, and not with being able to read labels. The overpowering smell plus the proximity of where food is stored to where justice is supposed to be upheld suggests that there is not much respect given to justice in the place. B. The de Spains’ mansion Compared to the other buildings, the deSpains’ mansion becomes more opulent. It has a gate that protects it from the outside world and even a covered walkway.
Before reaching the big house, one must pass through a wide driveway. The mansion is representative of the luxurious life of the Southern landowners. C. The Snopes cabin A two-bedroom house may seem more than enough for a sharecropper family such as the Snopes, but the house becomes cramped when there are seven people sharing it. The Snopes have to be used to sharing; they do work for other people’s lands, contributing their effort to plant on ground that will never be theirs. The cabin represents the poverty of sharecroppers in a world where landowners reign. D.nBarns – The barns symbolize the properties of landowners that ultimately separate them by status and wealth from other classes of people. Since the barns are symbols of separation, Abner Snopes feels like he is making everyone equal by removing one of the major sources of the landowners’ wealth. Some of Snopes’ possessions are listed as “the battered stove, the broken beds and chairs, the clock inlaid with mother-of-pearl, which would not run, stopped at some fourteen minutes past two o’clock of a dead and forgotten day and time, which had been his mother’s dowry”.
They symbolize neglect, just as the lower classes are being neglected by those who have more power and more wealth. Meanwhile, the ribbons that Starky’s wear symbolize the small luxury that the poor sharecroppers indulge in. These may seem pretty for them as they use the ribbons to adorn their hair, but they are to be labeled as “tacky” by the rich landowners. The passages that describe the houses of the de Spains and the Snopes show the extreme difference between the two .
Moreover, the incident with the rug emphasizes the difference in wealth, as the rug which de Spain claim to be worth a hundred dollars is considered to be several times more costly than the ten bushels of corn that Snopes can produce. The corn is already of great importance and worth to the Snopes family, a family who only cares about the food that they will eat and not about any expensive, luxurious rug. Before the events of the story, Abner Snopes has already been guilty of letting his hog loose on Mr. Harris’ property.
Even with Harris trying to negotiate by providing him materials that can be used to build a fence to hold the hog, Snopes is still uncooperative. He goes unpunished because there is not enough evidence but is ordered to leave town. Although he is guilty of barn burning during the time interval of the story, there is enough evidence to show that he has done the deed several times before: “that niggard blaze was the living fruit of nights passed during those four years in the woods hiding from all men, blue or gray, with his strings of horses (captured horses, he called them)”.
Such a persistent type of behavior shows the disrespect Snopes has for Southern landowners. For him, it is mere property that has made these landowners important, and without the property they are just ordinary men like him. His is not an ordinary envy but a festering hatred that pushes him to perform such extreme actions. An explicit passage that references the idea of `Owning people` is when Abner Snopes declares that: “I reckon I’ll have a word with the man that aims to begin to-morrow owning me for the next eight months.
” There are other more subtle references to owning other people in the text, like “Pretty and white, ain’t it? That’s sweat. Nigger sweat. Maybe it ain’t white enough yet to suit him. Maybe he wants to mix some white sweat with it. ” This line of dialogue suggests that Abner Snopes believes that the black servant is considered by the de Spains as mere property as his sweat is considered to be an ingredient that has helped build the white, pretty mansion. His work is given value but he is still nothing compared to his masters.
The story implies that though the United States has already been dubbed as the land of opportunity and justice at that time, there is still an inequality in terms of how justice and opportunity are distributed among the different social classes. The Snopes are mere sharecroppers. They contribute the sweat that feeds the ground but even with daily toil, they are not able to improve their circumstances. The wealthy, meanwhile, has all the opportunity in the world to become wealthier as they sit back and wait for the next harvest. Justice also smiles on people like the de Spains because they are respected by the community.