Simon Strother

Character Key Number: 
34
Display Name: 
Simon Strother
Sort Name: 
Strother, Simon
Parent Character Key: 
Ever Present in Yoknapatawpha?: 
Yes
Biography: 

Simon first appears, in Flags in the Dust, as the elderly father of Elnora and Caspey and the coachman and butler at the Sartoris place where he has lived his whole life. He is defined by his loyalty to both the Sartorises and his own appetites. The grandson of Joby, Simon was born a slave, but he has only good memories of the old plantation, and still calls Colonel Sartoris "Marse John" when he talks to him, and he still talks to him although "Marse John" has been for forty years (112). Simon is shrewd enough to know how to manipulate his current employer, John's son Bayard, whom Simon calls "Cunnel," but the language the narrator uses to describe Simon is often extremely racist, i.e. "his apelike head" (239). At the end of this novel Simon is found murdered in the cabin of a "mulatto" woman to whom he had given money that he embezzled from the Baptist church (394). He re-appears as a slave in The Unvanquished, which mentions him early as "Ringo's father" (17) and depicts him later as a grief-stricken mourner beside Colonel John's coffin (241). In between these two texts Faulkner complicates the relationship between Simon's family and the white family it serves across these generations when, in "There Was a Queen," he describes Simon not as Elnora's father but as "Elnora's mother's husband" (727) - a locution that reflects the fact disclosed at the start of the story: that Elnora's father is in fact Colonel John. "There Was a Queen" takes place ten years after Simon's death, so how Simon himself lived with that fact remains a question that Faulkner's texts never ask, much less answer.