Steamboat Passengers

The third-person narrator identifies the passengers on the Mississippi riverboats as "gamblers and cotton- and slavedealers" (26). Rosa refers to them as "drunken fools covered with diamonds and bent on throwing away their cotton and slaves before the boat reached New Orleans" (11).

Chickasaw Indians

The Chickasaw Indians inhabited northern Mississippi at the time the first white settlers arrived. Historically they were "removed" across the Mississippi River in the early 1830s, at about the time Thomas Sutpen is described (by Rosa Coldfield) as having acquired his land "from a tribe of ignorant Indians" (10).

French Architect

The architect who designs the mansion and grounds at Sutpen's Hundred is identified as "French," but comes (like the slaves who build the house) from the French Caribbean: "all the way from Martinique" (26). The first time he is mentioned, Miss Rosa's description anticipates the story by six chapters: "that French architect who looked like he had been hunted down and caught in turn by the negroes" - i.e. by the slaves whom, like the architect, are brought to Yoknapatawpha by Sutpen (10).

Confederate Officers

Thomas Sutpen is a fictional southern Colonel, but several real Confederate officers are mentioned by name in the novel. They have their own entries. This icon represents the larger, anonymous group of men who lead the Confederate Army through the Civil War. Like so many other characters in the novel, they are seen differently from different points of view. In Chapter 1, to Rosa Coldfield, who writes "poems, ode eulogy and epitaph" to many of them, they are "a few figures with the shapes of men but with the names and statures of heroes" (13).

Confederate Provost Marshals

During the Civil War both North and South used "provost marshals" as a kind of military police force behind the lines. The "Confederate provost marshals' men" from whom Goodhue Coldfield is hiding would have arrested him as a draft dodger or compelled him to serve in the military (6).

Sartoris' Womenfolks

Sartoris and Sutpen design the flag that the regiment they organize carries off to the Civil War, but it is "sewn together out of silk dresses" by "Sartoris' womenfolks" (63). If Faulkner is being consistent with his other Yoknapatawpha fictions, this group cannot include Sartoris' wife, who died a decade before the War, but could include his mother-in-law, Rosa Millard, who lived on his plantation, as well as his two young (and never named) daughters.

Colonel Sartoris

Although only a minor character in Absalom, Absalom!, John Sartoris is a major figure in the Yoknapatawpha fictions as a group. As is generally agreed, Faulkner based his character on his own great-grandfather, William Falkner. In this novel he and Sutpen together organize a Confederate regiment at the start of the Civil War; Colonel Sartoris serves as its first commander, until the soldiers vote to replace him with Thomas Sutpen.


Abraham Lincoln, the 16th President of the United States and the Union's leader during the Civil War, was elected to his first term on November 6, 1860.

Rosa's Aunt's Husband

The man with whom Rosa's aunt "elopes" is a "horse- and mule-trader" (59), an occupation that is usually depicted as disreputable. During the Civil War he "offers his talents for horse- and mule-getting to the Confederate cavalry remount corps," and is captured by Union forces, presumably while trying to steal their horses, and departs the narrative as a prisoner-of-war in Illinois (66).

Unnamed Negro Boy(1)

The "small negro boy" who delivers Rosa Coldfield's note to Quentin Compson is the first black character mentioned in the novel (5). The text doesn't say which door he went to at the Compson house.


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