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Jason’s legacy, even from his earliest childhood, is one
of malice and hatred. Jason remains distant from the other children.
Like his brothers, Jason is fixated on Caddy, but his fixation is
based on bitterness and a desire to get Caddy in trouble. Ironically,
the loveless Jason is the only one of the Compson children who receives
Mrs. Compson’s affection. Jason has no capacity to accept, enjoy,
or reciprocate this love, and eventually he manipulates it to steal money
from Miss Quentin behind Mrs. Compson’s back. Jason rejects not
only familial love, but romantic love as well. He hates all women
fervently and thus cannot date or marry and have children. Jason’s
only romantic satisfaction as an adult comes from a prostitute in
Unlike Quentin, who is obsessed with the past, Jason
thinks solely about the present and the immediate future. He constantly tries
to twist circumstances in his favor, almost always at the expense
of others. Jason is very clever and crafty, but never uses these
talents in the spirit of kindness or generosity. Though he clearly
desires personal gain, Jason has no higher goals or aspirations.
He steals and hoards money in a strongbox, but not for any particular
purpose other than selfishness. On the whole, Jason is extremely
motivated but completely without ambition.
Jason’s lack of achievement stems primarily from his
relentless self-pity. Jason never forgives Caddy for the loss of
the job at Herbert’s bank, and he is unable to move past this setback
to achieve anything worthwhile in his later life. Ironically, Jason
becomes the head of the Compson household after his father’s death—an
indication of the low to which the once-great family has sunk.
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