Dilsey Gibson

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Dilsey Gibson
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Gibson, Dilsey
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Dilsey is the matriarch of the Gibson family and the source of whatever emotional stability there is in the Compson family. A major character in The Sound and the Fury, she is married to Roskus, the mother of Versh, Frony, and T.P., and the grandmother of Luster. She is a devout Christian, a loyal servant and a very caring human being. As a character she is both related to the "mammy" stereotype and one of Faulkner's most dignified and impressive creations. Although she is offstage for most of "That Evening Sun," "sick" with an illness that is not described (290), when she does appear in that story she shows the same nurturing generosity toward another black woman, Nancy, as she shows toward the Compson children in the novel. She no longer lives in a cabin on the Compson property or works for the white family in "Appendix Compson"; instead, she lives with her daughter in "the Negro residence section of Memphis" (336). In that text Faulkner gives her and her family their own brief sections at the end: "These others were not Compsons. They were black" (343). Dilsey's personal entry is a kind of epitaph: "They endured" (343). It is in part a testament to her extraordinary strength of character, and at the same time a reminder that, as an artist, Faulkner depicts Dilsey (and her family) as foils, in terms of the story of the Compson family - which does not endure.