Posted in Short Stories

William Faulkner: Mule in the Yard

…she and Old Het turned the corner of the house in time to see the now wraithlike mule at the moment when its course converged with that of a choleric-looking rooster and eight Rhode Island Red hens emerging from beneath the house. Then for an instant its progress assumed the appearance and trappings of an apotheosis: hell-born and hell-returning, in the act of dissolving completely into the fog, it seemed to rise vanishing into a sunless and dimensionless medium borne upon and enclosed by small winded goblins.

In “Mule in the Yard”, Faulkner’s description of Mrs. Hait and Old Het chasing a ghostly mule through the fog in their yard is both cartoonish and scary. Both descriptions work simultaneously. As the chase goes on, we learn a little about the significance of the mule and the conniving character of Snopes. I’m assuming this is Flem Snopes but his first name is never mentioned.

The back story is told in between the arguments between Mrs. Hait and Snopes and we realize that Mrs. Hait has much reason to despise Snopes. This current incident with the mule allows Mrs. Hait to eventually gain revenge for past dealings and mis-dealings. The karma Snopes experiences proves all the more satisfying after we’ve experienced Faulkner’s demon mule.

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