Theophilus McCaslin 1

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Theophilus McCaslin 1
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McCaslin, Theophilus 1
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Theophilus McCaslin - better know as "Uncle Buck" - is a son of Old Carothers McCaslin, the twin brother of Buddy, and the father of Ike. While Buddy appears in only two texts, Buck is present or mentioned in ten of them. He is actually called "Theophilus" when he attends the burial of Charles Bon in Absalom! and sends him off as a "Confedrit soldier" (122); the passage contains no hint of the larger McCaslin family or this man's place in it. But in the Unvanquished stories that Faulkner had already begun to publish while writing Absalom! Faulkner is clearly beginning to imagine that larger narrative. Buddy is away from Yoknapatawpha, serving as a Confederate sergeant in Virginia, but in Bayard's accounts of the Sartorises during the war Buck becomes an increasingly important element, appearing in "Raid" before joining Bayard and Ringo in "Vendee" on a quasi-military mission of their own - not against Yankees but against an outlaw named Gumby. When Faulkner revised the stories into the novel The Unvanquished, he adds the detail that the McCaslins "have a big bottom-land plantation about fifteen miles from town" (46), and describes in some detail the advanced ideas about slavery and class that the brothers are putting into practice on that plantation. Buck is also mentioned, briefly, in The Hamlet. But it is in Go Down, Moses that he plays the most significant role, though it's an abstract one. How he became Ike's father - how he and Sophonsiba Beauchamp became man and wife - is a story that remains untold. But the ledgers that Buck and his brother kept about the affairs of the slave plantation they inherited from their father lead Ike to realize how cursed is his inheritance; that is the story, written in the hands of his father and his uncle, about a father and a daughter as well as fathers and sons, that gives the various parts of the novel's narrative an extremely powerful, dark center to revolve around. The novel, however, doesn't shine enough light into that past to let us see how Buck responds to the truth his son learns at secondhand. Buck makes one last appearance in Faulkner's last novel. Faulkner revises the story there to make Buck rather than Buddy the brother who served during the Civil War.