Mr. Harriss

Character Key: 
Display Name: 
Mr. Harriss
Sort Name: 
Harriss, Mr.
Race: 
White
Gender: 
Male
Class: 
Middle Class
Rank: 
Secondary
Vitality: 
Dies
Family (new): 
Occupation: 
Criminal
Specific Job: 
Bootlegger
Cause of Death: 
Murder
Biography: 

Mr. Harriss is an outlander - "a man whom nobody in that part of Mississippi had ever heard of before" (150) - who marries the daughter of a Yoknapatawphian plantation owner. "He was more than twice her age, old enough himself to be her father - a big florid affable laughing man about whom you noticed at once that his eyes were not laughing too; noticed so quickly that his eyes were not laughing too that you realised only later that the laughter never had gone much further than his teeth; - a man who had what his uncle called the Midas touch, who as his uncle said, walked in an aura of pillaged widows and minors as some men walk in that of failure or death" (153). His money is made in New Orleans, where he is a bootlegger on a large scale during Prohibition: "Baron Harriss" (220), as he becomes known, is "no petty furtive peddling of pint bottles in hotel barbershops either" (157). After his father-in-law's death he turns the plantation into a parvenu's palace. His own death is as shady as his business dealings: "one morning your lawyer's secretary telephones your wife long distance in Europe and says you just died sitting at your desk. Maybe he really did die at the desk; maybe it was even a desk in an office, as the message implied. Because you can be shot just as discreetly across a desk in an office as anywhere else" (167–68).

Individual or Group: 
Individual
Character changes class in this text: 

digyok:node/character/19212