The Sound and the Fury | Study Guide

William Faulkner

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The Sound and the Fury | Characters

Character Description
Caddy Although she does not narrate any one of the novel's four parts, Caddy is at the center of the story, influencing the lives of all the major characters. Read More
Benjy Benjy is a 33-year-old mentally challenged man who does not speak and lacks an understanding of what happens around him. He narrates the book's first section. Read More
Dilsey Dilsey, as the Compson housekeeper, is the only rock in the household, representing the solid values and common sense that members of the decaying Compson family otherwise lack. Read More
Jason Jason, the embittered, angry man in his mid-30s who narrates the third section of the novel, ends up in charge of the Compson household. He resents his role and mistreats everyone around him. Read More
Quentin Quentin is the brilliant, suicidal Harvard student who narrates the second section of the novel. Read More
Miss Quentin Miss Quentin is the illegitimate daughter of Caddy. She grows up at the Compson home in Jefferson. Read More
Dalton Ames Dalton Ames is Caddy's indifferent lover who impregnates her and with whom Quentin ineffectively tries to pick a fight.
Anse Anse is the marshal of the town near Harvard where Quentin is taken into custody for allegedly trying to kidnap a young girl.
Bakery owner The bakery is where Quentin first meets the little girl and buys her a bun. The bakery owner gives the girl a free piece of cake that hadn't turned out right.
Maury Bascomb Maury (usually called Uncle Maury) is Mrs. Compson's brother who has an affair with Mrs. Patterson and unashamedly borrows money from everyone, never intending to repay it.
Mrs. Bland Mrs. Bland is the rather overbearing mother of Gerald, one of the Harvard boys in Quentin's immediate circle.
Three boys Quentin speaks with a talkative group of three boys as he wanders near the river where the boys fish for an elusive trout. They also point out a nearby church clock to Quentin, who shows them his broken watch.
Charlie Charlie is one of Caddy's suitors; he is rude to Benjy when they comes upon the couple making love on the swing in the backyard.
Caroline Compson Formerly Caroline Bascomb, she is the wife of Jason Compson III. A self-absorbed hypochondriac, she is fixated on presenting an appearance of moral purity and lacks true affection or love for her children, except Jason.
Jason Compson III Well-educated but an alcoholic, Jason Compson III loves his children but has become ineffective in most aspects of life, which he sees as meaningless and futile.
Miss Daingerfield and Miss Holmes Miss Daingerfield and Miss Holmes are out for a drive with Gerald, Shreve, and Mrs. Bland. They are shocked when they come upon Quentin who had been arrested for allegedly kidnapping a little girl.
Damuddy Damuddy is the Compson children's name for their grandmother, whose death forms the basis of Benjy's earliest memories.
Deacon Deacon is the African American man who fulfills random requests for Quentin and other Harvard boys, including the delivery of Quentin's suicide letter.
Drummer The drummer, which was the name for a traveling salesman at the time the novel takes place, has a conversation with Jason about one of Jason's favorite activities, speculating on the price of cotton stocks.
Earl Earl is the owner of the store where Jason works; he knows Jason has stolen money from his own mother.
Errand boy Jason randomly chooses an African American to go get his car and bring it to the store, and his comments toward this errand boy reveal Jason's superiority complex and racism.
Filling station attendant Before Jason sets off to find Miss Quentin after she robs him, he has his car serviced at a filling station and speaks in his typically impatient, rude manner to the attendant.
Frony Frony is the daughter of Dilsey and Roskus; she often helps Dilsey in the kitchen and goes with her to church on Easter Sunday.
Gerald Gerald Bland is the handsome Harvard rower whose mother is overly involved in his life and whom Quentin punches for reminding him of Dalton Ames.
Two girls at the Compson fence Benjy chases two girls at the Compson fence because he mistakenly thinks they can find Caddy, who has left home long ago, or because they remind him of how he would meet her when she came home from school. His action is misunderstood as sexually threatening and leads to Benjy's castration.
Golfer As Luster searches for his lost quarter, he tries to sell a golfer a golf ball he found, but the golfer takes it from Luster without paying.
Herbert Head Herbert Head (full name Sydney Herbert Head) is a successful businessman who marries Caddy and promises Jason a job in a bank. But when Caddy's pregnancy by another man becomes obvious, Herbert backs out of both commitments.
Hired driver When Jason experiences one of his many headaches after not being able to find Miss Quentin, he hires an African American to drive him home. Jason is out-negotiated by the driver, who will take him only for twice what Jason had wanted to pay.
Hopkins Hopkins is one of the men who hangs around the telegraph operator's office where Jason goes to trade cotton stocks; Hopkins can read Jason's expression to know if he is buying or selling stocks.
Italian woman When Quentin is trying to find the home of the little girl who follows him, he knocks on the door of a woman who can speak only Italian.
Jeweler After Quentin breaks his watch, he stops by a jeweler's to see about getting it fixed and behaves strangely when the jeweler tries to tell him the time.
Job Job (also called Uncle Job) is the elderly African American man who works at the store with Jason and is one of the recipients of Jason's scorn.
Julio Julio is the older brother of the little girl who follows Quentin around. Julio attacks Quentin and tries to get him arrested for kidnapping his sister.
Miss Laura Miss Laura taught Quentin in school in Jefferson.
Little girl The little girl and Quentin meet at a bakery. He calls her "little sister." After Quentin helps her get bread and buys her a bun and ice cream, she follows him around relentlessly until her angry brother, Julio, intervenes.
Lorraine Lorraine is the prostitute Jason regularly visits in Memphis who acts as his mistress. She calls him "sweet daddy" and likes him because he gives her money.
Louis Quentin remembers a story told to him and Versh by Louis Hatcher, an elderly African American who claims to have stopped a flood by the act of cleaning a lantern.
Luster Dilsey's grandson, Luster, is the third generation of Gibson men who help take care of Benjy.
Mac Mac is a man who talks to Jason about gambling on baseball.
Man on mule As Quentin rides a cable car to the river, he recalls a train trip he took from Harvard to Mississippi and the African American man on a mule to whom he gave a quarter while the train was stopped.
Man with red tie The man Miss Quentin runs off with is identified only as a man with a red tie who has come to town with the traveling show. When Luster and Benjy come across the two in the swing, the man is mean to Benjy.
Man at stables Quentin goes to some livery stables to try to find Anse and put him in charge of the little girl, and a man there suggests he take the girl to where the "furriners" live.
Man at post office A man at the post office directs Quentin to take the little girl to the immigrant neighborhood as he tries to find her home.
Man buying hame string One of the many customers Jason scorns at the store is one he refers to as a cheap "redneck."
Men at store Quentin asks some men sitting at a store what to do about the little girl following him; they try to be helpful and direct him to find Anse.
Mink Jason hires Mink to drive him and infant Miss Quentin quickly past Caddy while Jason holds the baby up for Caddy to see.
Natalie Natalie is Quentin's girlfriend, whose affection for him makes Caddy jealous when they are all young.
Mr. Patterson Mr. Patterson attacks the Compson children's Uncle Maury when he finds out his wife and Maury are having an affair.
Mrs. Patterson The Compson children's Uncle Maury has an affair with Mrs. Patterson and involves the children in delivering secret love letters to her.
Old man with traveling show Jason threatens an old man when he is looking for Miss Quentin at the traveling show's train cars. The man then attacks Jason with a hatchet.
Printer Jason visits a printer to try to get fake checks as part of his scheme to keep Caddy's money. The printer directs him to an abandoned theater where Jason can find boxes of old checks.
Roskus Roskus is Dilsey's husband and also works for the Compsons. He becomes increasingly infirm and dies between 1912 and 1913.
Ab Russell Ab Russell is the farmer who owns the land where Miss Quentin and the carnival worker go to hide from Jason.
Reverend Shegog The Reverend Shegog preaches at the African American church on Easter Sunday, and rouses the congregation's emotions and renews their faith, especially Dilsey's.
Sheriff Jason visits the sheriff to demand that he go after Miss Quentin, but the sheriff declines to get involved, apparently aware that the money she has taken was hers to start with.
Shreve Shreve (also referred to as Mr. MacKenzie) is Quentin's Canadian roommate at Harvard.
I.O. Snopes I.O. Snopes is a cotton market speculator who talks with Jason about trading cotton.
Spoade Spoade is an older student at Harvard who makes fun of Quentin's sexual inexperience and jokes that Quentin is his roommate Shreve's "wife."
Squire After Quentin's arrest, Anse takes him to see the squire in town for judgment.
Telegraph operator Jason repeatedly complains to the telegraph operator for not providing him with timely reports of his trades on the stock market.
T.P. T.P. is the younger son of Dilsey and Roskus. He drives for the Compsons and takes charge of caring for Benjy after Versh.
Buck Turpin According to Jason, Buck Turpin received a payment of $10 for letting the traveling show stop in Jefferson.
Vernon and Myrtle Vernon and Myrtle are at the sheriff's house when Jason angrily enters to demand justice. The couple quickly leaves, embarrassed by the scene.
Versh Versh is the oldest son of Dilsey and Roskus and is the first Gibson to take care of Benjy, when Benjy is a very young child.
Doc Wright Doc Wright is one of the Jefferson men who can frequently be found in the telegraph office, speculating on cotton.
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