Caddy is perhaps the most important figure in the novel, as she represents the object of obsession for all three of her brothers. As a child, Caddy is somewhat headstrong, but very loving and affectionate. She steps in as a mother figure for Quentin and Benjy in place of the self-absorbed Mrs. Compson. Caddy’s muddying of her underwear in the stream as a young girl foreshadows her later promiscuity. It also presages and symbolizes the shame that her conduct brings on the Compson family.
Caddy does feel some degree of guilt about her promiscuity because she knows it upsets Benjy so much. On the other hand, she does not seem to understand Quentin’s despair over her conduct. She rejects the Southern code that has defined her family’s history and that preoccupies Quentin’s mind. Unlike Quentin, who is unable to escape the tragic world of the Compson household, Caddy manages to get away. Though Caddy is disowned, we sense that this rejection enables her to escape an environment in which she does not really belong.