Carothers Roth Edmonds

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Carothers Roth Edmonds
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Edmonds, Carothers Roth
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The great-great-great-grandson of Carothers McCaslin, the first Yoknapatawpha McCaslin after whom he is named, Carothers (Roth) Edmonds is the last owner of the McCaslin-Edmonds plantation in the fictions, the white landlord of the Negro tenant farmers who work the fields that he owns. Among those tenants is his 'black' relative, Lucas Beauchamp, the grandson of Old Carothers. In Go Down, Moses and the stories the precede it - "A Point of Law" and "Gold Is Not Always" - the relationship between Roth and Lucas is mainly an occasion for comedy. Roth is choleric and rash, and as a result often exasperated by the shrewder Lucas' ability to manipulate him. In the "Delta Autumn" chapter of the novel, however, in his relationship with a more distant relative - the unnamed Negro woman who is the granddaughter of Lucas' brother James - the flaws in Roth's character become more serious. Although he doesn't know the young woman is his kin, he does know about the child he and she have had together, but rejects her and their son. Both the sexual relationship and the cruelty with which Roth denies any human connection to it link him to the sins that his namesake Old Carothers committed a century earlier. Roth appears in a minor role in "Race at Morning," is only mentioned in "Pantaloon in Black," and is defined by his absence in Intruder in the Dust. He is having surgery in a New Orleans hospital during the events of that novel, which could have meant trouble for Lucas - if two other white characters (not related to McCaslins, Edmondses or Beauchamps) hadn't stepped in to help him. Roth is apparently still unmarried when Faulkner's last novel, The Reivers, refers to him in 1961 - which leaves the future of the estate up in the air.