Sam Fathers

Text: 
Display Name: 
Sam Fathers
Sort Name: 
Fathers, Sam
AKA: 
Had-Two-Fathers
Race: 
MixedBlackIndian
Gender: 
Male
Class: 
Free Black
Rank: 
Major
Vitality: 
Alive
Specific Job: 
Blacksmith
Origin: 
Yoknapatawpha
Biography: 

The "son of a Negro slave and an Indian king" (294), Sam Fathers is a major figure in Faulkner's late hunting stories. The narrator of "The Bear" describes him as "the old man, the Indian," whose clothing — "the battered faded overalls and the frayed five-cent straw hat" — was both "the badge of his enslavement" as a "Negro" on a plantation and now, in the woods, "the regalia of his freedom" (288). The boy whom he teaches to hunt thinks of him as "his mentor" (290). By the conclusion of the story, Sam’s unique racial heritage as the "inheritor on the one side of the long chronicle of a people who had learned humility through suffering, and pride through the endurance which survived the suffering and injustice, and on the other side, the chronicle of a people even longer in the land than the first, yet who no longer existed in the land at all save in the solitary brotherhood of an old Negro’s alien blood and the wild and invincible spirit of an old bear” (294) establishes his mythic relationship to Yoknapatawpha.

Note: 
JBP: I removed the birthdate from this entry, as there is no evidence in the story to support it.
Individual or Group: 
Individual
7501

Character