Popeye

Text: 
Display Name: 
Popeye
Sort Name: 
Popeye
AKA: 
Popeye Vitelli
Race: 
White
Gender: 
Male
Class: 
Lower Class
Rank: 
Major
Vitality: 
Born-and-Dies
Occupation: 
Criminal
Specific Job: 
Bootlegger
Date of Birth: 
Thursday, December 25, 1902
Origin: 
Florida
Cause of Death: 
Executed
Other Texts: 
Biography: 

Although Temple once calls him "that black man" (49), and Horace refers to "Popeye's black presence" (121), Popeye is white. A modern psychologist would label him a sociopath. Horace calls him one of "those Memphis folks" (21), the gangsters who buy homemade whiskey from Lee to sell in the speakeasies of the city. The novel describes him as someone with "that vicious depthless quality of stamped tin" (4). He was born on Christmas, in Pensacola, Florida. A well-known gangster in Memphis, Popeye's only connection with Yoknapatawpha seems to be bootleg liquor, and though Lee feels his presence constantly lurking outside the jail in Jefferson, Popeye may never return to Yoknapatawpha after driving away with Temple. As a murderer and a rapist who always dresses in black (which explains Temple's label), he seems perfectly cast for the role of villain - until the novel's last chapter describes his early life as the illegitimate child of a father whom he never sees but whose syphilis leaves him permanently damaged.

Disability: 
psychosocially impaired
impotent
Individual or Group: 
Individual

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