OXFORD, MS–Faulkner Land welcomed its millionth visitor today with a parade featuring Eula and the Seven Snopes, other characters from the Noble-Prize-winning author’s novels and marching bands from nearby high schools.
The visitor, Lester Swanson of Boise, Idaho, said that Faulkner Land was the most enjoyable theme park his family had ever visited. “We didn’t know what to expect but the wife and I felt it time to get exposed to some culture.”
And what did this particular visitor like best?
“It’d have to be that Sound and Fury roller coaster. And the kids got a kick out of the daily Barn Burning.”
Lester’s wife, Ethel, said she loved the food. “Lester and the children liked chowing down at that Ham-let stand but I’m partial to low-fat places like As I Lay Dieting and Lite in August.”
The Swanson’s children, Sara Beth, 11, and Tommy, 9, loved the Spotted Horses Wild Stampede ride and Rose for Emily Haunted House. And they held dolls of Ike Snopes and his beloved cow that they had been wanting since seeing the Disney animated classic, “Ike and the Awesome Cow.”
Faulkner Land is owned by Lit Lands, a subsidiary of MicroDisney, which also operates Hemingway Land and Fitzgerald Land. Dr. Jonathan Peabody, Professor of Post Literate Literature at InterWeb University and Director of Faulkner Land, said that he is gratified by the public’s response to the theme park’s mission: To provide great literature in a way that appeals to the public today.
“We’re particularly pleased that our focus groups and marketing surveys show that the brief, plot-explaining summaries by the rides and food stands have an 82 per cent approval rating,” Dr. Peabody said. “And some 11 per cent say that there’s a good chance that at some time in the future they might possibly have some interest in reading something by Faulkner.”
Dr. Peabody pointed out the summary by the roller coaster: THE SOUND AND THE FURY IS AN UPLIFTING STORY IN WHICH BENJY COMPSON, WHO SUFFERS FROM A VIRULENT FORM OF DYSLEXIA, FINDS SOLACE AS A CADDY AT THE GOLF CLUB ADJACENT TO HIS HOME AND IN THE LOVE OF HIS FAMILY AND HIS BELOVED SISTER, CADDY, WHO WORKS OUT OF TOWN, AS WELL AS HIS BROTHERS QUENTIN, A HARVARD STUDENT, AND THE GRUFF BUT GOOD-NATURED JASON, WHO RUNS THE FAMILY BUSINESS.
While watching the Swanson children try their luck at the The Bear shooting stall, then ride the Coffin Crunch–in which they rode in an actual wooden coffin down a raging creek while trying to keep a large doll of Addie Bundren’s corpse from falling out–Dr. Peabody conceded that Faulkner Land had taken some liberties with William Faulkner’s works.
“But, we’re gratified that some 87 per cent of our respondents approve of this,” Dr. Peabody said. “The Disney people showed the market appeal of “The Hunchback of Notre Dame” once that repulsive Quasimodo was changed into a cutesy character. I mean, what child can enjoy his popcorn while looking at something that ugly?”
In the Mansion souvenir emporium, formerly Rowan Oaks, Faulkner’s home, Dr. Peabody presented Sara Beth with a Temple Drake doll and Tommy with a Popeye corncob pipe and pointed our that Temple dolls have been outselling Barbie since the movie classic, “Temple & Popeye: A Different Kind of Love Story,” became a mega-hit. “There were a couple of critics but, let’s face it, trying to market Faulkner’s people isn’t exactly like working with Donald Duck and Mickey Mouse.”
As if to emphasize Dr. Peabody’s point, the adorable Flem Snopes and Dewey Dell Bundren wandered up and the children cried to have their pictures taken with characters they have come to love from the Fox cartoon classic.
After snacking on Caddy’s Fried Chicken Steak and Percy Grimm’s Pecan Pie, the Swanson family ended its day with special seats in the Sanctuary stands for a reenactment of the lynching of Lee Goodwin.