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Absalom, Absalom!

William Faulkner

Characters

Summary

Chapter 1

Thomas Sutpen  -  Owner and founder of the plantation Sutpen's Hundred, in Yoknapatawpha County, near Jefferson, Mississippi. Married to Ellen Coldfield; father of Henry, Judith, and Clytemnestra Sutpen, also of Charles Bon. An indomitable, willful, powerful man, who achieves his ends through shrewdness and daring, but who lacks compassion. Murdered by Wash Jones in 1869.
Charles Bon  -  Son of Thomas Sutpen and Eulalia Bon, the part- black daughter of the owner of the Haitian plantation on which the young Thomas Sutpen was overseer. After Sutpen renounced his wife and son upon learning of Eulalia's negro blood, Bon and his mother moved to New Orleans, where Bon lived until deciding to attend the University of Mississippi in 1859. A laconic, sophisticated, and ironical young man.
Ellen Coldfield Sutpen  -  Thomas Sutpen's second wife, mother of Henry and Judith Sutpen. A flighty and excitable woman.
Rosa Coldfield  -  Ellen Coldfield’s much-younger sister, younger aunt of Henry and Judith Sutpen. Briefly engaged to Thomas Sutpen following Ellen's death, but left him after he insulted her. Spent the rest of her life as a bitter spinster, obsessed with her anger and hatred of Thomas Sutpen.
Mr. Coldfield -  A middle-class Methodist merchant and father of Ellen and Rosa.
Henry Sutpen  -  Thomas Sutpen's son with Ellen. Grew up on Sutpen's Hundred, then attended the University of Mississippi beginning in 1859. There he befriended Charles Bon, whom he later murdered. A well- meaning and romantic young man, with his father's strength of purpose but lacking his father's shrewdness.
Judith Sutpen  -  Thomas Sutpen's daughter with Ellen. Grew up on Sutpen's Hundred, where she was engaged to Charles Bon in 1860. Strong, indomitable, and, like her father, swift to action.
Clytemnestra Sutpen ("Clytie")  -  Daughter of Thomas Sutpen and a slave woman. Grew up on Sutpen's Hundred as subservient to Judith and Henry; remained at the plantation until burning the manor house down in 1910, an event which caused her death.
Wash Jones  -  A low-class squatter living in the abandoned fishing camp at Sutpen's Hundred. Performed odd jobs for and drinks whiskey with Thomas Sutpen. Milly's grandfather; murdered Sutpen with a rusted scythe in 1869.
Milly Jones -  Wash Jones' young granddaughter, who at fifteen gave birth to Thomas Sutpen's child. Murdered, along with Sutpen and the baby, by her grandfather shortly after the birth.
Charles Etienne de St. Valery Bon -  Son of Charles Bon and his octoroon mistress- wife. Taken by Clytie to Sutpen's Hundred in 1871. Married a negro woman in 1879. A tormented, violent man.
Jim Bond -  Son of Charles Etienne de St. Valery Bon and his negro wife. Raised by Clytie on Sutpen's Hundred, from which he disappears following the fire in 1910. A slack-jawed, oafish man.
Quentin Compson  -  A young man from Jefferson, Mississippi, who is preparing to attend (and later does attend) Harvard in the first part of the 20th century.
General Compson  -  Quentin's grandfather and Thomas Sutpen's first friend in Yoknapatawpha County. A Brigadier General for the Confederacy during the Civil War, and a distinguished citizen of Jefferson, Mississippi.
Mr. Compson  -  Quentin's father and General Compson's son, a man who believes in the power of fate to destroy human lives. Relays to Quentin many of the stories he heard from his father about Thomas Sutpen.
Shreve -  Quentin's roommate at Harvard, a young man from Edmonton in Alberta, Canada.

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I like it

by fixasso, October 01, 2013

Great sparknotes. I like it!

Absalom, Absalom

by Jamesy777, July 31, 2014

I think this is William Faulkner's magnum opus and ought to be on every relevant syllabus. This is the novel Americans should have been reading when they were reading Gone With the Wind. More accomplished technically than The Sound and the Fury, its statement is also more devastating. Sutpen's crimes reflect the culture's, and the consequences reflect the culture's abiding flaws.

Spoiler Alert?!?

by spacemanspiff101, September 16, 2014

Thanks for the spoiler alert on The Sound and the Fury.

See all 8 readers' notes   →

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