Whoever God is, He would not permit that. I’m a lady. You might not believe that from my offspring, but I am.

Mrs. Compson says these words in the final chapter, upon learning that Miss Quentin has run away. She initially believes that Miss Quentin might have killed herself, but she dismisses the thought, believing that God would never allow her children to hurt her in such a way. This comment provides a great deal of insight into Mrs. Compson’s thought process. First, it demonstrates the depth of her self-absorption, as she implies that she interpreted her son Quentin’s suicide as an attempt to defy or hurt her. She still has no concept of the depth of despair that Quentin experienced, and she arrogantly assumes that his motivation for killing himself was merely to spite her.

Additionally, Mrs. Compson seems to think that her aristocratic social status gives her special privileges in the eyes of God. Mrs. Compson displays this selfishness, obliviousness, and materialism throughout the novel. She has discarded and corrupted the values upon which her family was founded, yet still relies on ancestry to justify her position in the world. Mrs. Compson is obsessed with the concept of family—the greatness of her family history and name—but she shows no capacity to love or care for her children, the last hope she has for maintaining her legacy.


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