In the midst of his struggle to write Absalom! Faulkner returned to the Sartorises for a series of stories that he could sell to magazines like the Saturday Evening Post as a much needed source of income. But if money was a material motive for transforming the Bayard who appeared in Flags in the Dust as an old man into the adolescent maturing through the cultural traumas of the Civil War and Reconstruction, both the textual and biographical evidence suggests that Faulkner may also have brought the Sartorises back to the center of his fiction as a way to burnish the image of the plantation aristocrat. The relationship between the two "colonels" - Sartoris and Sutpen - is made more overt in the revisions Faulkner made in the stories. Already in the Post version of "Retreat," Uncle Buck McCaslin celebrates Colonel John's heroism at the expense of the unnamed "damn whippersnapper" who replaces him in command of the Confederate regiment from Jefferson. But in the final story in the novel, "An Odor of Verbena," published for the first time in this novel, the newest member of the Sartoris family - Drusilla, whose marriage to John is the narrative focus of the penultimate story, "Skirmish at Sartoris" - develops at length the contrast between Sutpen's ruthless ambitions and John's noble "dream" (223).

The decision to let Bayard narrate the stories from a dual vantage point - the boy, to whom "the things [his father] did . . . made him seem big to us" (9), and the older man, who in some respects "knows better now" (10) - keeps the novel's portrait of the planter class from becoming too simple. In that last story, Bayard becomes "The Sartoris" (214) in part by revising the aristocratic code by which the Colonel lived. But in the end, Bayard joins Drusilla in building a monument to the first Sartoris: "he would always be there," the "dream" he "had bequeathed us" is something "we could never forget" (253). And the other main member of the family, John's mother-in-law Rosa Millard, takes care of the extended plantation family, slaves and all, while John is away at the war with a selflessness that is impressive, endearing, and a personification of the ideal of noblesse oblige. If Faulkner's representation of the Sutpen family challenges the myth of the Old South, the Sartorises in this novel go a long way toward recuperating it.

The racial politics of the novel are much less disconcerting too, if one wants to preserve "black" and "white" as distinct categories. Sutpen has a child with one of his slaves, and his first born son is also "part Negro." Readers of the stories might have wondered whether the slave Ringo is actually an (illegitimate) member of the Sartoris family, teased by the fact, for example, that as Bayard says, Ringo "calls Granny 'Granny' just like I did" (7), or the fact that Bayard never identifies a father for Ringo. But in revising Faulkner made it clear that there was no place for Ringo on the Sartoris family tree. One of the earliest changes he made was to have Bayard state overtly that another slave, Simon, is "Ringo's father" (17).

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The Unvanquished
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Sartorises in The Unvanquished (novel)
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Affiliated Characters

Aunt Jenny - The Unvanquished
Aunt Jenny's Husband - The Unvanquished
Bayard Sartoris - The Unvanquished
Colonel John Sartoris - The Unvanquished
Mrs. John Sartoris - The Unvanquished
Rosa Millard - The Unvanquished
Uncle Bayard Sartoris - The Unvanquished