T.P. Gibson

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T.P. Gibson
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Gibson, T.P.
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Ever Present in Yoknapatawpha?: 

T.P. (Faulkner never explains what the initials stand for) is the second son of Dilsey and Roskus, and like them lives as a servant on the Compson place in The Sound and the Fury. As a young man he takes his brother Versh's place as Benjy's caretaker, and helps his father with the Compsons' horses and cow. In 1910 he gets memorably drunk on the champagne - "sassprilluh," T. P. calls it (37) - that has been bought for Caddy's wedding. In 1928 he no longer lives on the Compson property, but still drives the carriage for Mrs. Compson's Sunday afternoon trips to the cemetery. His absence from the place on the afternoon of Easter Sunday makes the novel's brilliant ending possible; this is one of the most impressive uses of "absence" in the canon. T.P. is briefly mentioned in "That Evening Sun." In the "Appendix Compson" that Faulkner wrote in the mid-1940s, "TP" (the name is written without any punctuation) has, like the rest of his family, left Compsons and Yoknapatawpha for a new and possibly freer existence, wearing "fine bright cheap intransigent clothes" "on Memphis's Beale Street" (343).