Temple Drake

Text: 
Display Name: 
Temple Drake
Sort Name: 
Drake, Temple
Race: 
White
Gender: 
Female
Class: 
Upper Class
Rank: 
Major
Vitality: 
Alive
Date of Birth: 
Sunday, May 12, 1912 to Thursday, June 20, 1912
Origin: 
Mississippi
Other Texts: 
Biography: 

Although Temple Drake is as central to Sanctuary as Horace Benbow, she is a much harder character to summarize. She is a 17-year-old college student, "a small childish figure no longer quite a child, not yet quite a woman" (89), the daughter of a judge trying on the contemporary role of flapper. Benbow Sartoris refers to her as Gowan Stevens' "jelly" (a slang term for a pretty girl, 25), but in fact she dates many young men, from both the college and the town. However, despite the fact that both Gowan and Horace see her name on the wall of the depot men's room, when the story begins she is still essentially innocent and unquestionably virginal. In the first part of the novel she is horrifically raped, but when her attacker carries her to a Memphis brothel she seems to find a new life in its erotically and emotionally bizarre surroundings. At the end she perjures herself to get an innocent man convicted and goes back to her father's side. Readers are likely to be alternately sympathetic and appalled. Faulkner's imagination was sufficiently fascinated to put Temple at the center of the later book Requiem for a Nun.

Individual or Group: 
Individual

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