Selected Short Stories Characters

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Selected Short Stories Summary & Study Guide Description

Selected Short Stories Summary & Study Guide includes comprehensive information and analysis to help you understand the book. This study guide contains the following sections:

This detailed literature summary also contains Topics for Discussion and a Free Quiz on Selected Short Stories by William Faulkner.

Abner Snopesappears in Barn Burning

Taciturn, feral, imbued with a fierce but primitive sense of justice. As a Snopes, Abner is identified with one of two broad types of Southerners depicted in Faulkner's work—Sartoris, or the aristocratic families whose wealth was largely wiped out during the Civil War, and Snopes, the poor, uneducated underclass of shiftless, often violent share croppers. Abner walks with a limp from having been shot in the heel by a Confederate soldier for stealing his horse and is a pyromaniac. Whenever he feels slighted, or used, by one of the upper class, his anger flares right away into pyromania. Abner has a history of such outbursts which has kept his wife in constant fear and his family on the run from place to place. Abner, as described in Barn Burning, is a sociopath whose latent criminality holds the entire family in a state of terror—not love and affection.

Col. Sartoris Snopesappears in Barn Burning

The young boy is known by the nickname, Sarty, and he both worships and fears his father; he thinks of his father as made of tin: stiff, cold, without depth. But he is more than willing to do anything to please him. The most vulnerable of the entire family, Sarty is also the only member of the family who seems to have a chance of surviving the erratic, irrational behavior of his father. Unfortunately Sarty has a mentally unstable father whose bursts of rage whenever he feels mistreated lead him to set fires. Eventually, after Abner sets fire to his employer's barn, Sarty runs off into the night to escape the shackles of his family and its pattern of pathology and constant trouble. The reader is left to wonder whether Sarty survives in the woods, whether he can find a better life for himself. The cyclical pattern of constant flight of his family doesn't seem likely to change.

Major de Spainappears in Barn Burning

Owner of the land on which the itinerant Snopes family of seven settles to farm after being thrown out of another county for an incident of arson (barn burning) involving the Abner Snopes and the previous landlord. Major de Spain is identified as one of the Sartoris clan, the favored upper-class against which Abner Snopes bears a grudge.

Pete Grierappears in Ywo Soldiers

Pete Grier is the older brother of the narrator in Two Soldiers, who enlists in the Army after the Japanese attack on Pearl Harbor.

Emily Griersonappears in A Rose for Emily

Miss Emily is the short, pudgy daughter of a Civil War hero who leaves a handsome house and inheritance. Miss Emily can't find a suitable suitor, and probably murdered one of her boyfriends.

Homer Barronappears in A Rose for Emily

A former boyfriend of Miss Emily, whose rotted cadaver is discovered in the upstairs bedroom after Miss Emily dies.

Hawkshawappears in Dry September

Hawkshaw, a barber, is the lone voice of reason against a vigilante group that sets out to kill Will Mayes, a young black man suspected of raping a white woman.

Miss Minnie Cooperappears in Dry September

Miss Minnie is a young middle-aged spinster who lives alone in Jefferson, the alleged victim of a rape by Will Mayes, a black man. She is noteworthy for having once reported a peeping tom on her rooftop—a claim that is never substantiated.

Will Mayesappears in Dry September

Will Mayes is the young black man who is the object of a whispering campaign about alleged rape that triggers his execution by a vigilante group.

Jesusappears in That Evening Sun

A short, very dark black man with a razor scar across his face, Jesus is the boyfriend of Nancy the cook. When she becomes pregnant, he threatens to cut her and whoever the father is, then leaves for Memphis.

Nancyappears in That Evening Sun

Nancy is the on-call black cook to the white family, who fills in whenever their regular cook is ill. She is terrified of Jesus' return, and convinces herself that he is lurking in the darkness outside her cabin

Three Basketappears in Red Leaves

Three Basket is one of two Indians who search for a runaway black slave, and find him after a long trek.

Louis Berryappears in Red Leaves

Louis Berry is the second of two Indians who capture the runaway slave.

Issetebbheaappears in Red Leaves

Issetebhea is the chief of an unnamed Indian tribe who dies and is honored in a three-day feast.

Moketubbaappears in Red Leaves

Moketubba is the dim son of Issetebhea, who takes over as chief after his father dies.

The presidentappears in Lo!

Only referred to as the president, the time period of the story (early 19th Century) suggests that Faulkner may have had Andrew Jackson in mind when he created this character.

Francis Weddelappears in Lo!

Francis Weddel is an Indian who asks the president to intervene and resolve a land dispute in Mississippi.

Captain Bogardappears in Turnabout

Captain Bogard is the hardened American bomber pilot who has a pacifist epiphany in the midst of World War I.

Claudeappears in Turnabout

Claude is the effeminate but likable British seaman who is taken out of a drunken blackout by MPs and placed aboard Captain Bogard's bomber for a mission over Germany.

Buck Monaghanappears in Honor

A former aviator in World War I, Buck is a wing-walker in a flying circus who has an affair with Mildred, wife of Howard Rogers.

Howard Rogersappears in Honor

Rogers is the crackerjack pilot who, like Buck Monaghan, finds work in a flying circus at the end of World War I. Rogers flies the plane on whose wings Rogers walks.

Mildred Rogers

Mildred is the sexy, unfulfilled wife of pilot Howard Rogers with whom Buck has a brief affair.

Virginia Sartorisappears in There Was a Queen

Virginia ("Miss Jenny") is the matriarch and sole survivor of the noble Sartoris family. The white-haired 90-year-old spends her days in a wheelchair looking out of her window into the flower garden.

Narcissa Sartorisappears in There Was a Queen

Narcissa is the widow of Bayard Sartoris, who has a 10-year-old son and lives in the Sartoris mansion.

Elnoraappears in There Was a Queen

Elnora is the mulatto cook at the Sartoris household who resents her place as an "untouchable," not fully a part of the white or black culture.

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