Aleck Sander

Character Key Number: 
Display Name: 
Aleck Sander
Sort Name: 
Aleck Sander
Parent Character Key: 
Ever Present in Yoknapatawpha?: 

Aleck Sander is not a first and last name, but the way this character's given name, Alexander, is spoken. He is the son of the woman who cooks for the Mallison|Stevens family; in Intruder in the Dust her name is Paralee, and in The Town it's Guster. In both novels Aleck Sander is the companion of Chick Mallison, though the relationship and his character are much more fully developed in the first novel. The two boys are the same age, sixteen, but Aleck Sander is black, and thus his place is inescapably constrained by what the novel calls the "pattern of Negro behavior" decreed by southern society (24). When they eat together it's in Paralee's cabin, not the Mallison house (in Sheriff Hampton's house Aleck Sander is left in the kitchen to eat by himself while Chick eats with the other whites in the dining room, 111); when they hunt, Chick carries a rifle and Aleck Sander a homemade "tapstick" (5); Chick goes to "school," Aleck Sander goes to the "Negro school" (126). The young Negro steps far outside those patterns, however, when he courageously accompanies Chick and Miss Habersham into Beat Four, to exhume the body of a white man in order to save a black man's life, proving to be very valuable on that mission. Afterwards he largely disappears from the story, but in the novel's middle chapters Aleck Sander represents an important challenge to racial stereotypes. He appears in some of the chapters that Chick narrates in The Town, but in a much less significant role; that novel also mentions his father (Big Top) and brother (Top).