Jason Compson III
- The head of the Compson household until his death
from alcoholism in 1912
. Mr. Compson is the father
of Quentin, Caddy, Jason IV, and Benjy, and the husband of Caroline.
in-depth analysis of Jason Compson III.
- The self-pitying and self-absorbed wife of
Mr. Compson and mother of the four Compson children. Caroline’s
hypochondria preoccupies her and contributes to her inability to
care properly for her children.
in-depth analysis of Caroline Compson.
- The oldest of the Compson children and the narrator
of the novel’s second chapter. A sensitive and intelligent boy,
Quentin is preoccupied with his love for his sister Caddy and his
notion of the Compson family’s honor. He commits suicide by drowning himself
just before the end of his first year at Harvard.
in-depth analysis of Quentin Compson.
second oldest of the Compson children and the only daughter. Actually
named Candace, Caddy is very close to her brother Quentin. She becomes promiscuous,
gets pregnant out of wedlock, and eventually marries and divorces
Herbert Head in 1910
Jason Compson IV
- The second youngest of the Compson children and
the narrator of the novel’s third chapter. Jason is mean-spirited,
petty, and very cynical.
in-depth analysis of Jason Compson IV.
youngest of the Compson children
and narrator of the novel’s first chapter. Born
Maury Compson, his name is changed to Benjamin
, when he is discovered to be severely
in-depth analysis of Benjy Compson.
illegitimate daughter, who is raised by the Compsons after Caddy’s
divorce. A rebellious, promiscuous, and miserably unhappy girl,
Miss Quentin eventually steals money from Jason and leaves town
with a member of a traveling minstrel show.
in-depth analysis of Miss Quentin.
Compsons’ “Negro” cook, Dilsey is a pious, strong-willed, protective
woman who serves as a stabilizing force for the Compson family.
in-depth analysis of Dilsey.
husband and the Compsons’ servant. Roskus suffers from a severe
case of rheumatism that eventually kills him.
of Dilsey’s sons, T.P. gets drunk with Benjy and fights with Quentin
at Caddy’s wedding.
of Dilsey’s sons and Benjy’s keepers.
daughter. Frony is also Luster’s mother and works in the Compsons’
son and Dilsey’s grandson. Luster is a young boy who looks after
and entertains Benjy in 1928
, despite the
fact that he is only half Benjy’s age.
The man with the red tie
- The mysterious man with whom Miss Quentin allegedly
Compson children’s grandmother, who dies when they are young.
Uncle Maury Bascomb
- Mrs. Compson’s brother, who lives off his brother-in-law’s
money. Benjy is initially named after Uncle Maury, but Benjy’s condition
and Caroline’s insecurity about her family name convince her to
change her son’s name.
Mr. and Mrs. Patterson
- The Compsons’ next-door neighbors. Uncle Maury has
an affair with Mrs. Patterson until Mr. Patterson intercepts a note
Maury has sent to her.
of Caddy’s first suitors, whom Benjy catches with Caddy on the swing
during the first chapter.
local Jefferson boy who is probably the father of Caddy’s child,
- Quentin’s roommate at Harvard. A young Canadian
man, Shreve reappears in Absalom, Absalom!,
of Faulkner’s later novels, which is largely narrated by Shreve
and Quentin from their dorm room at Harvard.
Harvard senior from South Carolina. Spoade once mocked Quentin’s
virginity by calling Shreve
swaggering student at Harvard. Quentin fights with Gerald because
he reminds him of Dalton Ames.
Bland’s boastful, Southern mother.
black man in Cambridge, Massachusetts, to whom Quentin gives his
brother of an Italian girl who attaches herself to Quentin as he
wanders Cambridge before his suicide.
Sydney Herbert Head
- The prosperous banker whom Caddy marries. Herbert
later divorces Caddy because of
mistress, a prostitute who lives in Memphis.
owner of the farm-supply store where Jason works. Earl feels some
loyalty toward Mrs. Compson and thus puts up with Jason’s surliness.
black man who works with Jason at Earl’s store.
- The pastor who delivers a powerful sermon on Easter
Sunday at the local black church in Jefferson.