LITERATURE: The Orchard Keeper – With Faulkner’s Help…

…that is, if we come to understand Benjy, of Faulkner’s The Sound and The Fury, and the way stream of consciousness reveals the revealer, then we can come to understand the method enough to understand McCarthy’s characters, or anyone else’s.  Here, Uncle Ather’s thoughts on his wife, Ellen:

On the sixth day he went out and knocked a plank from the back of the barn with the poll of his axe, cut from it two boards.  On one he carefully incised her name with the point of his knife.  Then he chopped a stake-point on the other board and nasiled the two together in the form of a cross.  He took it and took her clothes and a spade down to a corner of the lot where he scooped a hold, buried the clothes, and with the shank of the spade pounded the cross into the ground. 

(…) That goddamned bibledrummer, wadn’t it?  (p. 156)

I believe that Ather is thinking about his wife, and the days after she left, and how he buried her and his memories of her out back.  With his close connection to the earth, he needs to take her out of the house and put his life with her into the ground, bury it there, under a cross.  It existed, and then it was gone.

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