Notes on Characters from The Sound and the Fury

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The Sound and the Fury Major Characters

Benjy Compson : The first narrator of the novel, Benjy is the Compsons' severely mentally retarded son. Though he is celebrating his 33rd birthday the weekend the book takes place, he can hardly perform any daily task by himself, such as bathing or eating or dressing. His one happiness in life was his sister, Caddy, who is no longer a member of the household. He spends his days being attended to by the family's black servants.

Caddy Compson: She is the only daughter of the family. Caddy was one of the few people in the household who treated Benjy well. While she had a close friendship with both Benjy and her older brother, Quentin, she grows into a promiscuous young woman who has an illegitimate child, and is thus thrown out of her husband's house. Because of her loose ways, the family refuses to even speak her name in the house.

Mrs. Caroline Compson: Mrs. Compson is the woman of the house. She is melodramatic and a hypochondriac. She spends her time in bed, lamenting the sorry state of her family. At the book's present time, she is a widow.

Jason Compson: The third narrator of the novel, he is the youngest son of the Compsons. He became the man of the house after his father died. He earns his money working at a country general store. His limited opportunities add to his bitter, cynical attitude towards life, a tyrant to the people who remain in the house. He is especially cruel to his niece, Quentin, Caddy's daughter.

Mr. Jason Compson: He died in 1911 from his alcoholism, one year after his son Quentin committed suicide. He took a very nihilistic approach towards life, which he bestowed onto his son, Quentin.

Quentin Compson: A Compson son, he narrates the second portion of the novel. He tells his story while attending Harvard, eighteen years before all the other narrators tell their stories. While he is a sensitive and intelligent character, he is also incredibly neurotic and obsessed with his sister, Caddy. His neuroses lead him to commit suicide, something he plans to do shortly after narrating his portion of the novel.

Dilsey Gibson: The fourth section of the novel focuses on Dilsey. She and her family work for the Compson family, but she is the stalwart of the household. A black servant of the Compsons, in addition to raising her own children, she raised all the Compson kids, in their parents' neglect. Even in her weakened state as an old woman, she does the lion's share of the household's work.

Quentin Compson (female) : Quentin is the illegitimate child of Caddy. Her father is not known to anyone, not even her mother. Dilsey and her grandmother are now raising her in the Compson house, where she is constantly at odds with her uncle, Jason. At seventeen years old, she has followed in her mother's footsteps with regards to her sexual behavior. However, she is not nearly as kind and gentle as her mother. Instead, she throws tantrums often and does not show respect to any adult in the house.

Minor Characters

Luster: Luster is Dilsey's grandson. His main job consists of tending to Benjy. Being a restless teenager, he gets quickly tired of the all day job, and teases Benjy to entertain himself.

Versh: Versh is Dilsey's older son. A few years older than Quentin, Benjy, Caddy, and Jason, his job consisted of making sure the Compson kids did not get into trouble. He also tended especially to Benjy, a job similar to the one his nephew, Luster, has.

Uncle Maury Bascomb: Maury is the alcoholic brother of Mrs. Compson. He is dependent on Compson money, which he invests in fruitless schemes.

T.P. Gibson: He is Dilsey's son, one year younger than Benjy. He grew up with Quentin, Caddy, Jason, and Benjy, and now his main job is to drive around the Compsons in their carriage.

Roskus Gibson: Roskus is Dilsey's husband. Before his death, he tended to the horses in the stable.

Frony : Frony is Dilsey's daughter, and Luster's mother. She grew up playing with all the Compson children.

Damuddy: Damuddy is the name the children have given to their grandmother, whose funeral day Benjy recounts in his section of the novel. Insensitive Jason, as a child, was especially attached to his grandmother.

Shreve Mackenzie: Shreve is Quentin's friendly Canadian roommate at Harvard.

Gerald Bland: He is Quentin's acquaintance, and a fellow Southerner at Harvard. He comes from a well to do family, and is an arrogant ladies' man.

Mrs. Bland: She is Gerald's overprotective mother. She has traveled from Kentucky to Harvard with him, and dotes on him constantly. She is a proud Southerner who scoffs at Yankees.

Herbert: Herbert married Caddy the same year Quentin committed suicide. He also went to Harvard, but was thrown out for cheating. He throws Caddy out of the house for sleeping around.

Little girl: Immigrant Italian girl follows around Quentin through Boston's streets. He buys her a cinnamon bun and an ice cream cone. She doesn't speak a word to him. While he looks for her home, he is arrested for kidnapping her. Charges were later dropped.

Dalton Ames: Dalton Ames is one of the many young men that Caddy became intimate with. When Caddy became pregnant, he was the main suspect. He appeared to not care at all about Caddy's state or what could be his future baby when Quentin, enraged at him for disgracing his sister, confronted him and tried to fight him. Dalton greatly overpowered Caddy's little brother. He ended up taking no responsibility for the child, for it was never quite confirmed whether or not he fathered Caddy's daughter.

Reverend Shegog: Reverend gave the Easter day sermon at Dilsey's church. A guest preacher from St. Louis, he at first appeared oddly wrinkled and small. By the time he had finished giving his sermon, however, he moved the entire congregation to tears.

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