William Faulkner's novels are set in the American South, most of them in a mythical county Faulkner
created called Yoknapatawpha. Located in Northeastern Mississippi, this county resembles Faulkner's
native Lafayette County. Most of the action in Absalom, Absalom! occurs at Thomas Sutpen's plantation
and in the nearby town of Jefferson. Chapters six through nine are ostensibly set in the Harvard apartment
of Quentin Compson and his fellow student, Shrevlin McCannon, in 1910, though the two students spend
much of their time discussing events of the past.
LIST OF CHARACTERS
Major Characters & Narrators
- the enterprising son of a poor farmer from West Virginia who comes to Jefferson in
1833 and founds the Sutpen estate. This colorful character, who forms the hub of the novel, is killed by
Wash Jones, a poor white squatter on his land.
- the son of Thomas by Ellen Coldfield and heir to the Sutpen estate. He kills his half-
brother, Charles Bon, to prevent him marrying his sister, Judith.
- Henry's sister. She falls in love with Charles Bon, unaware that he is her half-brother.
Clytie (or Clytemnestra) Sutpen
- the Mulatto daughter of Thomas Sutpen by one of his slaves who is
older than Judith and Henry. She defends the estate, but burns it in the end.
Eulalia Bon Sutpen
- the Haitian wife of Thomas Sutpen. Thomas Sutpen casts her off in 1831 upon
discovering that she has Negro blood. She dies in New Orleans.
- Sutpen's best friend in Jefferson and a noted veteran of the Civil War. He admires
men of action like Sutpen, being one himself.
Jason Compson III (or Mr. Compson)
- the son of General Compson. He is the voice of the community
in Jefferson, full of fantasy and facts in his storytelling.
- the son of Mr. Compson. A Harvard student, Quentin feels the burden of his Southern
Shreve (or Shrevlin) McCannon
- The Canadian roommate of Quentin at Harvard and the only outsider in
the novel. He brings an objective, comic, ironic touch to the narration with his judgments.
- the elder daughter of Goodhue Coldfield, a local merchant. She marries Thomas Sutpen
in 1838 and bears him two children, Henry and Judith. She enjoys her life as a wealthy planter's wife.
- Ellen Coldfield's younger sister by twenty-seven years. She views Sutpen as a demon, for
he suggests she bear him a male heir and then marry him. Rosa is both a participant in the Sutpen saga and
a narrator of the saga, thus acting as a link between past and present.
- Rosa and Ellen's father who is a morally upright and respectable storekeeper in
Jefferson. He is opposed to slavery in theory, but harsh on his Negro workers. He refuses to sell goods to
the desperate community during the Civil War and withdraws into his attic, where he dies in 1864.