iron poles bearing clusters of bloated and ghostly and bloodless grapes In this image, referring to electrical poles with clusters of clear glass insulators that protect electrical wires, Faulkner draws attention to the sterility of the story's Southern culture.
deacon A layperson who assists the minister of a church.
pallet A term predominantly used in the Southern states, a pallet is made of several layers of sheets, blankets, or quilts, folded over and then laid on the floor.
coffin money At the time that "That Evening Sun" takes place, few blacks could afford insurance, except for what was called "burial insurance." As explained in the story, an agent collected 15 cents every week — $7.80 per year — from a person to be used for burial expenses. Because of the high cost of coffins, people could never pay their total bill in full, and therefore they might pay 15 cents per week for their entire lives. This practice was another way the white Southern culture kept blacks in desperate circumstances.