McCannon, Shreve

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McCannon, Shreve
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McCannon, Shreve
Shreve MacKenzie
Shrevlin McCannon
Middle Class
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Wednesday, January 1, 1890 to Wednesday, December 31, 1890

Shreve is Quentin's roommate at Harvard, where the two of them are freshmen. He is a "few months younger than Quentin" (236). Throughout Chapters 5-9 these two students work together deep into a winter's night to try to reconstruct the story of Sutpen and Bon. He spends part of this time shirtless - "his naked torso pink-gleaming and baby-smooth, cherubic, almost hairless, the twin moons of his spectacles glinting against his moonlike rubicund face" (147); in the bathrobe and overcoat he later puts on, he "looks huge and shapeless like a disheveled bear" (235). Shreve's attitude toward the story is often flippant, even sarcastic, which the narrator refers to "that incorrigible unsentimental sentimentality of the young which takes the form of hard and often crass levity" (221). He teases Quentin about the South ("It's better than the theatre, isn't it," 176), but has real concern for the effect of the past on Quentin. From the Canadian province of Alberta (208), Shreve says that history is "something my people haven't got" (289), and in some respects he provides an outside perspective on the intensely Southern story: he is described at one point listening to Quentin "with intent detached speculation and curiosity" (206). But what he and Quentin share, especially as youths, often produces moments of almost mystical communion between them and (apparently) with the past, especially with the two young men in the story, Henry and Bon, who of course meet at college too. In The Sound and the Fury, where he first appears, Shreve's last name is MacKenzie. In the "Genealogy" that Faulkner includes at the end of this novel we learn that Shreve is a nickname for Shrevlin (309) - and that Shreve is the only character in the novel who is known to be still alive; he's practicing medicine back in Alberta (309).

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