Bildungsroman (novel of self-development and maturation); war novel


Bayard Sartoris (as an adult, looking back on the events of his childhood)


The most important climax comes in "Riposte in Tertio" when Granny Millard is murdered by Grumby after Bayard fails to keep her from leaving the wagon. Another, secondary climax is Bayard's confrontation with Redmond in "An Odor of Verbena." Each chapter has its own individual climactic event (e.g. the sergeant's questioning of Granny while the boys are hidden in "Ambuscade"; the wagon falling into the river in "Raid").


Bayard, and to a lesser extent, Granny Millard


Varies at different points in the novel: Yankee soldiers, Grumby and his gang, Aunt Louisa and Mrs. Habersham, the Burdens. More broadly, anyone who does not share the traditional Southern moral code adhered to by the Sartorises.

Setting (time) 

Mostly from 1862 to 1865, with the final chapter in 1873

Setting (place) 

Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi, with excursions into Tennessee and Alabama

Point of view 

Mostly told from young Bayard's perspective, although the adult Bayard who narrates the story occasionally describes things he learned later or that occurred while he was absent

Falling action 

After a confrontation, Ben Redmond boards a train out of Jefferson forever; Bayard falls asleep in a pasture and wakes up sobbing; he discovers Drusilla has left home to return to Alabama


Past tense, told from the perspective of many years in the future


Little direct foreshadowing, though details in the novel occasionally set up future events, such as the names "Old Hundred" and "Tinney" (which explain the Yankee officer's mistaken allocation of one hundred and ten mules to Granny)


Grand and epic, as befits a heroic adventure story, but more serious as time goes on and Bayard develops to maturity; generally parallels the tone Bayard's thoughts at whatever age he is. The tone of "An Odor of Verbena" is even more dramatic and poetic.