Milly Jones

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Milly Jones
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Jones, Milly
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Milly Jones appears in both "Wash" and Absalom! as the poor white and illegitimate grandaughter of Wash, who is described in the novel's "Genealogy" as a "hanger-on of Sutpen" (308). She is "eight-years-old" when first mentioned in the short story, and an "infant" when first mentioned in the novel (536, 99). In both texts she is "a fifteen-year-old gal," as Wash puts it in the story, when Sutpen begins a kind of courtship of her, and "already mature [i.e. sexually], after the early way of her kind" (541). Sutpen's intentions are complex but dishonorable: he seeks a son to replace the one he has lost. During Milly's pregnancy in Absalom! Sutpen's daughter actually helps sew a wedding dress for her, to be worn when she gives birth to that son. This is the second wedding dress Judith sews in the novel; neither is ever worn. When Milly's newborn turns out to be a girl, Sutpen dismisses her with a contemptuous insult that results in death for him, for Wash, for her, and for her child. Readers never get a clear sense of how Milly herself feels about any of this, but there is no suggestion in either text that Milly ever has any control over what happens to her.