Twenty Original Sutpen Slaves

Display Name: 
Twenty Original Sutpen Slaves
Sort Name: 
Unnamed Twenty Original Sutpen Slaves
Race: 
Black
Gender: 
Multi Gender Group
Class: 
Enslaved Black
Rank: 
Secondary
Vitality: 
Alive
Origin: 
Caribbean
Biography: 

This icon represents the twenty "wild blacks" whom Sutpen brings as slaves to Yoknaptawpha in 1833 (4), from a French colony in the Caribbean; the "civilized language" which they speak (44) is "a sort of French" (27). Sutpen has a child - Clytemnestra - with one of the two slaves in this group who are women (48). The narrative repeatedly calls them "wild" (13, 16, etc.), and distinguishes them as a group from the "tame" slaves that Sutpen later acquires, through birth or purchase (17). Rosa characterizes them as being "like beasts half tamed to walk upright like men" (4). When Mr. Compson passes on to his son the story he heard from his father about using these slaves to track the runaway architect through the woods, he speculates that they may be cannibals expecting to eat their prey (206). Working with Sutpen, they build his huge mansion. For the entertainment of a white male audience, at least several of them wrestle with each other and with Sutpen - according to Rosa, "fighting not like white men fight . . . but like negroes" (20). During the Civil War, like "all of Sutpen's negroes," they self-emancipate by "following the Yankee troops away" (67).

Individual or Group: 
Group
Character changes class in this text: 

digyok:node/character/15326