Bayard Sartoris III

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Bayard Sartoris III
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Sartoris, Bayard III
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Although this Bayard, the third on the Sartoris family tree, has a son, The Mansion, the second to last text Faulkner published, is not wrong to call this Bayard "the last Sartoris Mohican" (210). He appears or is mentioned in seven texts. His one major appearance is in the first, Flags in the Dust, which is organized around his story as a member of the 'Lost Generation' who cannot go home again after going through the First World War as an aviator - or as Faulkner puts it in Requiem for a Nun, using the terminology of a later World War, as "a combat airman" (190). The great-grandson of Colonel John Sartoris, he survives the war physically. Psychologically wounded, however, by having witnessed the death of his twin brother and fellow aviator Johnny he returns to a South that has never recovered from the earlier Civil War. Dispossessed by both wars, Bayard sends himself into exile at the end of that first novel, and dies in a meaningless accident. In "Ad Astra," one of the stories Faulkner set in World War I France, he appears among a group of similarly afflicted and alcoholic veterans. But while several other texts repeat his story, only one of them develops his character any further: in The Mansion at the other end of his career Faulkner has Gavin Stevens and his twin sister Maggie Mallison suggest other, much less glamorous explanations for Bayard's self-destructive despair (210-12) than the "glamorous fatality" (404) he mourns and exalts in Flags, the tragic fate of being born into a world that no longer has a place for a 'Sartoris.'