Goodhue Coldfield

Character Key: 
Display Name: 
Goodhue Coldfield
Sort Name: 
Coldfield, Goodhue
Race: 
White
Gender: 
Male
Class: 
Middle Class
Rank: 
Secondary
Vitality: 
Dies
Occupation: 
Sales and Service
Specific Job: 
Merchant
Origin: 
Tennessee
Cause of Death: 
Suicide
Biography: 

Rosa Coldfield's "papa," and Thomas Sutpen's father-in-law, is "a Methodist steward, [and] a merchant" (11). He arrived in Jefferson from Tennessee half a decade before Sutpen, with a single wagon load of merchandise as the basis for his business. Mr. Compson calls him a "queer silent man whose only companion and friend seems to have been his conscience" (47), though apparently he compromises that when he and Sutpen work a mysterious deal that provides the rich furnishings for Sutpen's mansion. When he acquires two slaves "though a debt . . . not purchase" (68), he immediately manumits them, but withholds their free papers until as servants they earn the equivalent of their market value. During the Civil War he nails himself inside the attic of his house, where Rosa provides him with food until his death. Early on the narrative calls him "a conscientious objector on religious grounds" (6), but later it is suggested that the basis of his objection was not scriptural, but mercantile: "the idea of waste: of wearing out and eating up and shooting away material in any cause whatsoever" (65).

Individual or Group: 
Individual
Character changes class in this text: 
Date of Death: 
Friday, January 1, 1864 to Saturday, December 31, 1864

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