The Sound and the Fury

by: William Faulkner

Dilsey

Characters Dilsey

Dilsey is the only source of stability in the Compson household. She is the only character detached enough from the Compsons’ downfall to witness both the beginning and the end of this final chapter of the family history. Interestingly, Dilsey lives her life based on the same set of fundamental values—family, faith, personal honor, and so on—upon which the Compsons’ original greatness was built. However, Dilsey does not allow self-absorption to corrupt her values or spirit. She is very patient and selfless—she cooks, cleans, and takes care of the Compson children in Mrs. Compson’s absence, while raising her own children and grandchildren at the same time. Dilsey seems to be the only person in the household truly concerned for the Compson children’s welfare and character, and she treats all of the children with love and fairness, even Benjy. The last chapter’s focus on Dilsey implies a hope for renewal after the tragedies that have occurred. We sense that Dilsey is the new torchbearer of the Compson legacy, and represents the only hope for resurrecting the values of the old South in a pure and uncorrupted form.