A Faulkner Glossary
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Cain: A storekeeper
in Jefferson who sold Ab
Snopes a milk separator in The Hamlet.
Callicoat, David: A
white man mentioned by Herman Basket
in "A Justice" who directed the
steamboat "where to swim" when the craft made four trips each year
up the river alongside the lands inhabited by Ikkemotubbe's
people. Ikkemotubbe adopted Callicoat's name as his own prior to becoming
known as "Doom."
worker" (The Sound and the Fury): A worker at the
traveling carnival show in The Sound and the Fury
with whom Miss Quentin Compson began a
romantic relationship. In the last section of the novel, he and Miss Quentin
ran away. Jason Compson was infuriated by the
man's red bow tie.
wife in "There Was a Queen" who
was in prison for stealing. See Strother,
"The Cave": A
cave, about 130 miles from Yoknapatawpha
County in "the country of old David
Colbert" in "A Courtship."
Described as "a black hole in the hill which the spoor of wild
creatures merely approached and then turned away and which no dog could even
be beaten to enter," the cave was used as a means of testing young
Indians' "courage to become men, because it had been known among the
People from a long time ago that the sound of a whisper or even the
disturbed air of a sudden movement would bring parts of the roof down."
It became the object of Ikkemotubbe
and David Hogganbeck's
competition for Herman Basket's sister:
whoever reached the cave first, fired a pistol inside the cave, and made it
out safely would win her hand.
Georgia town which was the setting for Soldiers' Pay.
Charlie: One of Caddy
Compson's beaux in The Sound and the Fury.
When his presence upset Benjy and Charlie made
a disparaging remark about Benjy, Caddy told him to leave.
Indian tribe inhabiting northern Mississippi prior to 1832, when they ceded
their lands to the United States and were relocated to Oklahoma. As a
result, there was very little contact between white settlers and Indians
after 1832, despite their presence in some of Faulkner’s novels and stories.
When asked where he got his Indians from, Faulkner reportedly said, "I
made them up" (Calvin Brown, A
Glossary of Faulkner’s South 50).
Christian, Mrs.: A
former whore on Manuel Street in
Memphis, who married Uncle Willy Christian
and thus caused an outrage among the residents of Jefferson
in "Uncle Willy."
Uncle Willy: A sixty-year-old bachelor, and the owner of a drugstore
in Jefferson. A morphine addict, he
is distraught when his store is burglarized and his morphine is stolen in The
Town. In "Uncle Willy,"
he married a whore from Manuel
Street in Memphis, and was killed in his airplane trying to escape
do-gooders who were trying to cure him of his addiction. His drugstore,
founded in the 1850s by his father, was where Skeet
MacGowan tricked Dewey Dell
Bundren into giving him sexual favors when she asked for an abortion,
and where Gavin Stevens
entertained Linda Snopes. Uncle
Willy appears also in The Mansion and The
Clay, Sis Beulah: A
black woman mentioned in The Sound and the Fury
at whose funeral, according to Frony,
"they moaned two days."
Colbert, David: "The
chief Man of all the Chickasaws in our
section" during the days of Ikkemotubbe's
youth, according to the narrator of "A
Mississippi: A town in the Delta,
40 miles northwest of Oxford. It was here that Buck
McCaslin purchased Percival
Brownlee from Nathan
Bedford Forrest in 1856 for $265.
old family name in the Yoknapatawpha
County area, referred to in the opening chapter of Requiem
for a Nun. A number of Coldfields appear in Absalom,
Absalom!, most notably Rosa Coldfield,
one of the key characters and narrators of the novel.
Coldfield, Ellen: (October
9, 1817-January 23, 1863) Born in Tennesse, daughter of Goodhue
Coldfield, a merchant in Jefferson,
Mississippi, and sister to Rosa Coldfield.
She married Thomas Sutpen in 1838
and had two children, Henry and Judith.
She was instrumental in securing the engagement of her daughter to Charles
Bon, her son's classmate at the University of Mississippi, not realizing
he was Sutpen's son and therefore Judith's half-brother. When she realized
her death was near, she entrusted her twenty-one-year-old daughter to the
care of her seventeen-year-old sister. She appears in Absalom,
Goodhue: (?-1864) A Methodist merchant from Tennessee who settled in
Jefferson, Mississippi in 1828. He
was the father of two daughters, Ellen and Rosa,
during whose birth his wife died in 1845. Generally regarded as a pious man,
he secured the suspicion of the townspeople when he agreed to the marriage
of his daughter Ellen to Thomas
Sutpen in 1838. In protest to the Civil War, he locked himself into the
attic of his home in Jefferson and was fed via a rope and pail by his
daughter Rosa. He died of starvation in 1864, still locked in his
self-imposed prison. He appears in Absalom, Absalom!.
Coldfield, Rosa: (1845-January
8, 1910) Second daughter of Goodhue Coldfield
and sister to Ellen, born in Jefferson,
Mississippi. Her mother died in childbirth. When her sister died in
January 1863, she agreed to take care of her daughter, Judith,
who was four years her senior. Following the death of her father in 1864,
she went in 1865 to Sutpen's
Hundred to live with her niece. She became engaged to her dead sister's
widower, Thomas Sutpen, but when
he suggested they attempt to produce a male heir before marriage, she broke
off the engagement and moved back to Jefferson. Following her broken
engagement to Sutpen, she was "doomed to spinsterhood."
as a principal narrator in Absalom, Absalom!,
summoning Quentin Compson to her home in
September 1909 to hear her story because Quentin's grandfather
was "the nearest thing to a friend which Sutpen ever had in this
county, and she probably believes that Sutpen may have told [Quentin's]
grandfather something about himself and her, about that engagement which did
not engage, that troth which failed to plight." She revealed to Quentin
that she had learned someone other than Clytie
and the idiot Jim Bond was living at Sutpen's
Hundred, and she got Quentin to accompany her out to the decaying
plantation house, where she discovered her nephew, Henry,
living after more than forty years absence. Three months later, in December
1909, she drove out to Sutpen's Hundred intending to take Henry to a
hospital, but before she could do so, Clytie set fire to the house,
believing she had come to make Henry answer for the murder of Charles
Bon in 1865. Both Henry and Clytie died in the fire, and shortly
thereafter Rosa slipped into a coma, dying almost two weeks later.
Coleman, Mrs.: Friend
of Mrs. Saunders in Soldiers'
once-prominent family in Jefferson
who in the twentieth century began to fall upon hard times. The family name
is referred to briefly in the opening chapter of Requiem
for a Nun. Principally depicted in The Sound
and the Fury and in its Appendix,
they also make appearances in stories such as "That
Evening Sun." Faulkner traced their genealogy
from 1699 to 1945.
Compson, Benjamin (Benjy):
(April 7, 1895-ca. 1936) An idiot, and the youngest child of Jason
Lycurgus Compson III and Caroline
Bascomb Compson in The Sound and the Fury.
He was christened Maury, but when he was discovered to be an idiot at
the age of five, his name was changed to Benjamin, apparently out of
respect for his namesake, his
the "appendix" to the
novel, Benjy loved three things: his pasture, his sister Caddy,
and firelight. Perpetually cared for by his sister (before she left home)
and by black servants of the Compson family, he could
not speak and suffered from a strange sense of timelessness, in which the
slightest sensory impulse could trigger vivid memories from his past and he
seemed to "relive" those memories as if they were still happening.
He narrates the
first section of The Sound and the Fury and
he is the key to the novel's title, which alludes to Macbeth's "Tomorrow"
soliloquy — "It is a tale / Told by an idiot, full of sound and
fury, / Signifying nothing." He was castrated after allegedly sexually
assaulting a young girl.
(Caddy): (1892- ) The only daughter and second oldest
child of Jason Lycurgus Compson III and Caroline
Caddy is the
veritable centerpiece of The Sound and the Fury
and she played a different role in the eyes of her three brothers: a caring,
maternal figure to Benjy, a virgin/whore who
upset his sense of the propriety of Southern womanhood to Quentin,
and an object of envy and detestation, who ruined his one chance at success,
to Jason. It was Caddy who, at the age of
five or six, could climb the tree outside her house to look upon death while
her brothers could only watch, and the image they saw, of her muddy
underpants, foreshadowed her later sexual abandon against the strict social
code of her society. When she was impregnated by Dalton
Ames, she married Herbert
Head, who shortly thereafter abandoned her after discovering she was
pregnant with another man's child. Caddy's daughter, Quentin
(named after Caddy's brother who committed suicide), then went to live with
the Compsons, where her mother's name wass thereafter forbidden to be
In some ways, The
Sound and the Fury is a depiction of her gradual removal from hearth
and home which parallels the slow destruction befalling the Compson
family; in the last section of the novel, Caddy's name is not uttered at
appears in the appendix to the novel
(where it is revealed she married a minor motion picture mogul and later
associated with Nazis in occupied France) and in the short stories "That
Evening Sun" and "A Justice."
Caroline Bascomb: (?-1933) Wife to Jason
Lycurgus Compson III and mother of four children, Quentin,
and Benjy in The Sound
and the Fury. A hypochondriac and perpetual complainer, Mrs. Compson
spent most of her time trying to understand her children and watching the
gradual destruction of her family, a destruction which she helped play a
role in. According to the "Appendix,"
she died in 1933, though in The Mansion,
she is said to live longer and to insist that Jason bring Benjy home from
the asylum. She appears also in "That
Charles Stuart: A soldier left for dead in a Georgia field by his
British regiment during the American Revolution, described in the appendix
to The Sound and the Fury. He fashioned
himself a wooden leg and four years later overtook his father, Quentin
MacLachan Compson, and his son, Jason
Lycurgus Compson, at Harrodsburg, Kentucky, where he tried teaching
school, but he became a gambler instead. He joined a plot designed to annex
the Mississippi Valley to Spain; when that failed he fled the country with
Jason Lycurgus: Son of Charles
Stuart Compson and father of Governor
Quentin MacLachan Compson. He arrived at the Chickasaw agency in Okataba
County, Mississippi, in 1811, and within a year had become a partner. In
1813 he traded a racehorse to Ikkemotubbe
for the "Compson Mile," a solid square mile of land which later
became the center of Jefferson. He
appears in the appendix to The
Sound and the Fury (which Faulkner first published in The
Portable Faukner) and in Requiem for a Nun.
General Jason Lycurgus, II: (?-1900) A brigade commander in 1865 who
failed at Shiloh in 1862 and again at Resaca in 1864. He put the first
mortgage on the Compson land in 1866. He was a member of the Cassius
de Spain hunting parties and died in 1900 at the camp in the Tallahatchie
River bottom. He also helped Thomas
Sutpen track down and recapture the French
architect who designed the plantation house at Sutpen's
He appears in Absalom,
Absalom!, the appendix to The
Sound and the Fury, and "The Bear"
and "The Old People" sections of
Go Down, Moses. He is referred to in "Delta
Autumn" (in Go Down, Moses), Requiem
for a Nun, "My
Grandmother Millard," the revised version of "A
Bear Hunt," "Skirmish
at Sartoris" and "An Odor of Verbena" (in The
Unvanquished), The Town, and The
Mrs. Jason Lycurgus, II: Wife of the brigadier
general and friend of Rosa Millard;
Mrs. Compson lent her some clothing during the skirmish with Federal troops
and offered refuge to Bayard
Sartoris and Ringo.
She appears in The
and "Skirmish at Sartoris")
and in "My Grandmother Millard."
Richmond Lycurgus, III: (?-1912) A Jefferson-born
lawyer and dipsomaniac, and the father of four children: Quentin,
and Benjy. A fatalist and nihilist, Mr. Compson
exerted a powerful influence over his oldest son, Quentin, especially
concerning Southern womanhood. He sold a portion of the Compson domain
around 1910 to a golf club in order to finance his son Quentin's Harvard
education and his daughter's wedding to Sydney
Herbert Head. He appears as a character in "That
Evening Sun," The Sound and the Fury,
and Absalom, Absalom!, in which he is also
one of the principal narrators.
Lycurgus, IV: (1894- ) Third oldest child born to Jason
Richmond Lycurgus Compson III and Caroline
Bascomb Compson, and brother to Quentin, Caddy,
and Benjy. He narrates the third section of The
Sound and the Fury. A confirmed sadist, Jason Compson reveled in his
cruelty to others, including his mother, their black servant Dilsey
and her grandson Luster, and his niece Quentin,
who in 1928 stole $7,000 from him, about half of which legally belonged to
her in the first place, as it was sent to her by her mother, Caddy.
bachelor, Jason thus represented the end of the Compson
dynasty, since his older brother, Quentin, committed suicide in 1910 and his
younger brother, Benjy, was castrated. In 1933, following the death of his
mother, he committed Benjy to the state asylum and sold the Old Compson
Place to a man wishing to open a boarding-house. In 1943, the property
changed hands again when Flem Snopes
bought it, a transaction which Jason regretted enough to try to prevent it
In addition to The
Sound and the Fury, Jason appears in The
Town, The Mansion, "A
Justice," and "That Evening
Compson, Quentin: (1891-June
2, 1910) Oldest son of Jason Richmond Lycurgus
Compson III and Caroline Bascomb
Compson, and brother to Caddy, Jason,
and Benjy. Quentin narrates the second section
of The Sound and the Fury, and he is also one
of the principal narrators in Absalom, Absalom!.
concerned with questions of honor, justice, and love, and obsessed with his
sister's increasing sexuality, Quentin finally resolved his tormenting
demons by drowning himself in the Charles River in Cambridge, Massachusetts,
during his freshman year at Harvard. Of principal interest to Quentin were
the issues of family honor and heritage — he was the only Compson who
still felt some pride in his family's noble past — and what it meant to be
Sound and the Fury he was consumed with a desire to overcome the
destructive, nihilistic philosophy avowed by his father, but everywhere he
looked, he saw only more evidence affirming his father's philosophy. Nothing
was more devastating to Quentin's sensibility than Caddy's loss of virginity
— to Quentin, her virginity was "a miniature replica of all the whole
vast globy earth" — and so he succumbed to what Faulkner says (in the
novel's "appendix") he
loved most of all: death.
Absalom!, he served as both the audience of stories about legendary
county planter Thomas Sutpen told
by Rosa Coldfield and his father,
and as the narrator himself of such stories with his roommate Shreve
as they attempt to fill in the gaps of Sutpen's story. The Quentin of Absalom,
Absalom! is very similar to his earlier incarnation; in the later novel,
Quentin listened to tales of virginal isolation, would-be incest, and
unfulfilled aristocratic "design," all of which were concerns to
Quentin in The Sound and the Fury. But as he reconstructed the story
with his Harvard roommate, adding conjecture to known (or at least accepted)
facts, he came to realize that the history of the South was based in large
measure on social and racial injustice and immense personal suffering that
continued to plague the present, leading inevitably to his scarcely
believeable denial of resentment in the novel's closing words. When Shreve
asked him why he hated the South, Quentin's response builds to a crescendo
"I don't hate it," Quentin said, quickly, at once,
immediately; "I don't hate it," he said I don't hate it
he thought, panting in the cold air, the iron New England dark: I
don't. I don't! I don't hate it! I don't hate it!
also appears in three short stories: "That
Evening Sun" (in which he appears to be twenty-four years old, well
older than he would have been at his suicide in 1910), "A
Justice," and "Lion," which
Faulkner revised, omitting Quentin's role, for "The Bear" section
of Go Down, Moses.
Quentin: (1911- ) Illegitimate daughter of Caddy
Compson and (apparently) Dalton
Ames, and named for her uncle who committed suicide in 1910. After her
mother was divorced by her husband,
Quentin came to live with her grandparents, Jason
and Caroline Compson, where Mrs.
Compson promptly forbade Caddy's name ever to be spoken again.
Caddy sent money to Quentin, but Caddy's brother Jason
horded it. In 1928, Quentin stole about $7,000 from Jason (half of which is
legally hers) and ran away with a sideshow worker. She appears in The
Sound and the Fury and in the appendix
to the novel.
Quentin MacLachan: (1699-1783) The son of a Glasgow, Scotland,
printer, and the acknowledged patriarch of the Compson
family. When he was orphaned, he was raised by his mother's family in the
Perth highlands. He fled to Carolina from Culloden Moor, the site of the
April 16, 1746, battle in which British forces defeated Highland Jacobite
forces under Prince Charles Edward, thus ending the last armed outbreak of
the Stuart cause. At the age of eighty, having once fought against a British
king, and lost, he fled in 1779 with his infant grandson, Jason,
to Kentucky, "where a neighbor named Boon or Boone had already
established a settlement." He appears in the appendix
to The Sound and the Fury.
Quentin MacLachan: Apparently the son of Jason
Lycurgus Compson and the father of Gen.
Jason Lycurgus Compson. Also known as the "old governor."
According to Faulkner, he was "the last Compson who would not fail at
everything he touched save longevity or suicide."
Confrey (?), Mame:
Coon Bridge: A
bridge several miles down the Tallahatchie
River from Major de Spain's
hunting camp. On the day that Boon
Hogganbeck killed Old Ben, the
bear, Major de Spain told Ike
McCaslin to go there with the mules and horses while he and the others
took the ailing Sam Fathers by
racehorse in The Reivers stolen by Bobo
Beauchamp and principal element in Ned
McCaslin's scheme to get Bobo out of debt. He is attracted to sardines
(or "sourdeans"). He was later called "Lightning."
(Craw-ford): According to "A
Justice," the father of Sam
Fathers, whose mother was a black woman married to a black man. (Sam
Fathers elsewhere is said to be the son of Ikkemotubbe.)
Crawford, Dr.: The
sawmill doctor at Hoke's who in Go
Down, Moses ("The Bear") treated Lion,
Boon Hogganbeck, and Sam
Fathers (in that order) after the death of Old
Crossman County: A
county bordering Yoknapatawpha County,
probably to the east, based apparently on the real Pontotoc County,
Mississippi, and referred to in Intruder in the
Dust. It has two small towns, Glasgow