Wash Jones

Display Name: 
Wash Jones
Sort Name: 
Jones, Wash
Race: 
White
Gender: 
Male
Class: 
Poor White
Rank: 
Secondary
Vitality: 
Dies
Cause of Death: 
Murder
Other Texts: 
Biography: 

"A gaunt gangling man malaria-ridden with pale eyes and a face that might have been any age between twenty-five and sixty" (69). Wash Jones is described in the novel's genealogy as a "hanger-on of Sutpen" (308). Property-less, shiftless, illiterate, he claims to be "looking after Kernel's place" while Sutpen is fighting in the Civil War (225); after the war he works as a clerk in the small store Sutpen opens. As a poor white, he is forbidden to enter Sutpen's house - being turned away by a black, Clytemnestra, who "would not let him come into the kitchen with the basket even" (226). To Rosa he is a "brute" and "that brute progenitor of brutes" (107). The ironic echoes here of young Thomas Sutpen's experience in that "nest of Tidewater plantations" are obvious (195), but unheard by anyone in the novel. Wash lives by Sutpen's permission in a "rotting fishing camp" (99), and is laughed at by Sutpen's slaves (226), but is sustained in his own mind by his adulation of "the fine figure of the man" that Sutpen makes on his horse (226), and the sense of shared racial superiority which he believes they share as white men - until Sutpen's treatment of his granddaughter destroys that faith.

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

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