This 1948 novel is the McCaslin family's first re- appearance after Go Down, Moses (1942). Members from five generations and from all three of the family's branches - McCaslin, Edmonds and Beauchamp - are included in Intruder in the Dust, but the larger family story, as told in Moses, is significantly revised, a process that will continue in subsequent texts.  Old Carothers McCaslin, the long-dead patriarch of the family, is described as Carothers (Roth) Edmonds' "great-grandfather" (7); in Moses he is Roth's great-great-grandfather. But the most striking change involves the lineage of the Beauchamps, Old Carothers' illegitimate, mixed-race descendants. Lucas Beauchamp, the black man at the center of the novel's detective plot, is identified as the "son of one of old of Old Carothers McCaslin's . . . slaves" (7). In Moses Lucas is Old Carother's grandson - but also his great-grandson. His father is the product of incest, of the sexual relationship between a white slave-owner and his daughter. Neither that daughter, Tomasina, nor her mother Eunice - the two enslaved woman with whom Old Carothers had a child - are mentioned in Intruder; their place on the family tree is occupied instead by the unnamed male (Tomey's Turl in Moses) who is Lucas' father.  In Moses discovering that his grandfather committed incest with a slave who was his own, owned daughter is the symbolic and human horror that leads Ike McCaslin to renounce his family inheritance. Ike is "still alive at ninety" in Intruder (91), but this novel's one mention of him refers to him only as one of "the hunters" who used to hunt bear in Yoknapatawpha in "the old days" (90). Like Moses, Intruder in the Dust is about the legacy of slavery, in this case the virulent doctrine of racial superiority that makes it seem certain that (white) Yoknapatawpha will lynch Lucas for having apparently killed a (white) man. And Lucas himself remains a commanding figure, one of the most impressive African American characters in the canon. But when Lucas says "I am a McCaslin," it is a boast (19). The novel's various associations of him with grandfathers - his own, or Chick Mallison's, also a white patriarch - imply that those old southern aristocrats are a source of pride, not moral consternation.  If Faulkner's use of the McCaslin genealogy in Moses to look hard and deeply into an American heart of darkness is one of the great achievements of his career, it is disappointing to note how his return to the family in Intruder seems to retreat from or at least palliate that revelation.

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Intruder in the Dust
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McCaslins in Intruder in the Dust
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Affiliated Characters

Carothers Edmonds - Intruder in the Dust
Carothers Edmonds' Father - Intruder in the Dust
Carothers McCaslin - Intruder in the Dust
Isaac McCaslin - Intruder in the Dust
Lucas Beauchamp - Intruder in the Dust
Lucas Beauchamp's Daughter - Intruder in the Dust
Lucas Beauchamp's Father - Intruder in the Dust
Molly Beauchamp - Intruder in the Dust