Max Harriss

Character Key Number: 
Display Name: 
Max Harriss
Sort Name: 
Harriss, Max
Parent Character Key: 
Ever Present in Yoknapatawpha?: 

In "Knight's Gambit," the one text in which he has a significant presence, Max Harriss is the twenty-one-year-old son of Mr. and Mrs. Harriss (nee Melisandre Backus). Gavin Stevens calls Max "the rich young earl" (192). As a son he takes after his gangster father; in a sense, the eyes have it: despite his "delicate face," there is "nothing delicate about the eyes" (143). Max is the older of "two spoiled children [born] a year apart" (148). As an older brother, Max seems over-protective of his sister along lines that Quentin Compson would have recognized, but his real concern is with the man who he thinks is courting his mother, Sebastian Guladres, who beats him at everything - horses, fencing, women - that the young Yoknapatawphian thinks he has mastered. In the story, Max's resentment gives birth to a particularly original scheme for murder. After it fails, Stevens coerces him into enlisting in the army, and after Stevens marries the widowed Mrs. Harriss, Max becomes one of Steven’s "stepchildren" (238) - though he never appears in that role in a text. He is mentioned, however, though not named, in both The Town and The Mansion.