Quentin Compson III

Display Name: 
Quentin Compson III
Sort Name: 
Compson, Quentin III
Race: 
White
Gender: 
Male
Class: 
Upper Class
Rank: 
Major
Vitality: 
Alive
Family: 
Compson
Real?: 
Yes
Narrator: 
First Person
Biography: 

The eldest son of one of the leading families in Yoknapatawpha, Quentin is a major character in two of Faulkner's major novels, The Sound and the Fury (1929) and Absalom, Absalom! (1936). Nine years old in the events of this story, Quentin developed a close bond with Nancy, one of his family's domestic servants. Haunting memories of Nancy cling to him in adulthood, including her relationship with his two siblings, her role in the environs of the Compson house, her status as a battered woman in Jefferson, and her terror of her husband or lover, Jesus, who threatens her in front of Quentin at the Compson house. Fifteen years later, Quentin remembers Nancy amidst reflections on the modernization of Jefferson, though in this story, there is no account of the intervening years of Quentin's life. There is a problem with his larger chronology beyond this story given that Quentin commits suicide in 1910 in The Sound and the Fury. It is not clear how he can be alive and looking back 15 years from the 1920s. However, while Faulkner later added the first paragraph of the story that gives the timeline of "15 years" for its original publication in the American Mercury in 1931 (see the Note on the Text), evidence suggests that Faulkner conceived of "That Evening Sun" before The Sound and the Fury.

Individual or Group: 
Individual
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Character