John L. Sullivan

John L. Sullivan was the last heavyweight American prizefighter to win his championship without wearing gloves ("bare knuckle"). He was the son of Irish immigrants who became rich, which to General Compson may make him comparable to Sutpen, the 'immigrant' to Yoknapatawpha.

Negro Hostler

The enslaved man who holds the reins of Sutpen's horse when he dismounts at the Holston House is identified simply as "the negro hostler" (34). A hostler is someone who tends to the horses of people staying at an inn or hotel.

Vigilance Committee

Also called "a posse" (35), the "vigilance committee" that accompanies the county sheriff when he confronts Sutpen on suspicion of theft originally consists of "eight or ten" men (34). In an essentially comic scene, this group follows Sutpen on his courtship errand as their numbers grow (according to General Compson) to "almost fifty" men (35) - including "other horsemen [who] rode into the square" and "others who did not happen to have horses" (35) as well as some of the men who were lounging "on the gallery of the Holston House" when Sutpen reached town (34).

County Sheriff

The "sheriff of the county" leads the "posse" that follows and then arrests Sutpen on suspicion of having committed some kind of crime (34, 35). This "sheriff" is probably not Major de Spain, who is the county sheriff in the years immediately following the Civil War.


The Chickasaw chief Ikkemotubbe appears often in Faulkner's Yoknapatawpha fictions. In Absalom!, "old Ikkemotubbe" is the person "from whom [Sutpen] got his land" (33).


"The coon-hunter Akers" discovers the way Sutpen's original 20 slaves sleep while building the mansion (27). (Racoons are hunted at night.)

Unnamed "Someone"

This icon represents the "someone (not General Compson)" who is in town on the day Sutpen arrives and looks into his covered wagon to see what or who is there (27).

House Negroes

Conventionally, the enslaved people in the antebellum South were divided into two categories: 'field Negroes,' who had little contact with whites other than overseers, and 'house Negroes,' who worked indoors as cooks, maids, butlers, and so on. Jefferson's "house negroes" first appear accompanying the white "ladies and children" to church services, carrying the "parasols and flywhisks" that keep the sun and insects away from the whites (23).

Mrs. Coldfield(1)

Goodhue Coldfield's mother is a very elusive character. The novel several times asserts that Rosa Coldfield's childhood was spent in a household consisting of her father and her aunt, but in one passage it refers to the fact that Mr. Coldfield had to support "a dependent mother" as well as his family (32).

Indian Agent

Sutpen negotiates his acquisition of land "with or through" the "Chickasaw Indian agent" (25). The adjective is ambiguous, but it's unlikely the agent was a Chickasaw himself. Historically, Indian agents were white men who worked for the U.S. government as the official intermediary between white America and Native Americans.


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