Tennie's Jim|James Beauchamp

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Tennie's Jim|James Beauchamp
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Tennie's Jim|James Beauchamp
Tennie's Jim Beauchamp
Enslaved Black
Family (new): 
Date of Birth: 
Thursday, December 29, 1864

The tangled thread tracing this character's role(s) in the novel is a good instance of how Faulkner is evolving Go Down, Moses from a set of previous short stories and from his own awakened interest in the stories of the black inhabitants of Yoknapatawpha. "Tennie's Jim" originates in the character of "Jimbo" in the magazine version of "The Old People," where he is a black servant accompanying the white hunters on their yearly trips to the big woods. When Faulkner revises that story for inclusion as a chapter in the novel, this character is re-named "Tennie's Jim," though his role is still the negligible one of servant. In the novel's next chapter, "The Bear," "Tennie's Jim" appears again in the woods (189), and even once at the Edmonds-McCaslin place (220), but still just as one of the servants. However, in the new material that Faulkner wrote for the novel (Section 4 of "The Bear"), he includes a black character named "James Beauchamp": he is the fourth child - and the oldest surviving one - of Tomey’s Turl and Tennie Beauchamp, which makes him a part of the McCaslin family. Born a slave in 1864 (259), James left Yoknapatawpha and "vanished sometime on night of his twenty-first birthday" (260), without claiming the $1000 inheritance left by Lucius McCaslin, the white slave-owner who was his grandfather and great-grandfather. The novel makes no explicit connection between the black servant in the woods ("Tennie's Jim") and the biracial exiled child of the McCaslin family (James Beauchamp) until the second to last chapter, "Delta Autumn." There his granddaughter arrives at the white hunters' camp in the Delta woods and in a pointed moment identifies "James Beauchamp" as her grandfather, telling Ike McCaslin that "you called him Tennie's Jim though he had a name" (343). It is almost as if Faulkner is reproaching himself.

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