V. K. Ratliff

Text: 
Display Name: 
V. K. Ratliff
Sort Name: 
Ratliff, V. K.
AKA: 
V. K. Suratt
Race: 
White
Gender: 
Male
Class: 
Lower Class
Rank: 
Major
Vitality: 
Alive
Occupation: 
Sales and Service
Specific Job: 
Itinerant Peddler
Narrator: 
First Person
Biography: 

"Ratliff sat there with his bland brown smoothly-shaven face, and and his neat tieless blue shirt and his shrewd intelligent eyes" (7) V.K. Ratliff, a sewing machine salesman and traveler covering four counties (and also one of Faulkner's favorite characters), is a bachelor, intelligent, observant, and highly articulate in his regional vernacular. One of the three main narrators of The Town, certainly the most succinct, knowledgeable, and humorous of them, Ratliff, along with Gavin Stevens and both Gowan Stevens and Chick Mallison keeps track of the Snopeses' behavior in Jefferson, particularly that of Flem Snopes. He eventually discerns the pattern in Flem's treatment of his kinsmen and the rest of Jefferson, but Gavin does not "get it," and Ratliff expresses his frustration in one of Faulkner's rare brief chapters: "Because he missed it. He missed it completely" (160; reiterated 186). Eula Snopes acknowledges having private conversations with Ratliff, in one of which he reveals to her his personal secret: that V. K. stands for Vladimir Kyrilytch, a family name passed down through the generations since the American Revolution (337-39).

Note: 
We suggest a note on Ratliff's early history as "V.K. Suratt." JBC
Individual or Group: 
Individual
Character changes class in this text: 
14004

Character