Mr. Jason Compson

Character Key: 
Display Name: 
Mr. Jason Compson
Sort Name: 
Compson, Mr. Jason
AKA: 
Jason Lycurgus Compson III
Jason Compson III
Race: 
White
Gender: 
Male
Class: 
Upper Class
Rank: 
Major
Vitality: 
Dies
Family: 
Compson
Occupation: 
Professional
Specific Job: 
Lawyer
Cause of Death: 
Disease
Biography: 

Born around the time the South was defeated in the Civil War, Jason Compson III is the heir of one of Jefferson's founding families, yet his patrimony has declined over the course of his lifetime. In Benjy's section readers can find examples of Mr. Compson's attempts to be a good parent to his ill-assorted children, but on the whole he seems to look for refuge from time and loss in both alcoholism and a virulent form of nihilism. He goes through the motions of being a "gentleman," but refuses to believe that anything has meaning. "Father said" is one of the most frequent phrases in Quentin's section, and in those memories Quentin again and again recalls his father's fatalism. For example, Mr. Compson gives Quentin his watch (a family heirloom which was passed down by Quentin's great-grandfather to his grandfather and then to Quentin's father), and Quentin recalls his father describing the gift of the watch as follows: "I give you the mausoleum of all hope and desire; it's rather excruciating-ly apt that you will use it to gain the reducto absurdum of all human experience which can fit your individual needs no better than it fitted his or his father's." Mr. Compson's fatalism is also evident in Absalom, Absalom, where along with his son Quentin (but not his wife or other children) he again appears as a major character.

Note: 
In "That Evening Sun," he is still a young man, and he seems less fatalistic than in The Sound and the Fury or Absalom, Absalom! Lawyer, Patrimony, Fallen Gentry, Fatalism, Time
Property Status: 
owns land
owns house
Social Status: 
has influential social contacts (family, business, political)
Individual or Group: 
Individual
Character changes class in this text: 
Date of Death: 
Sunday, January 1, 1911 to Wednesday, December 31, 1913

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