Uncle Ike McCaslin

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Uncle Ike McCaslin
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McCaslin, Uncle Ike
Isaac McCaslin
Upper Class
Family (new): 
Date of Birth: 
Tuesday, October 1, 1867 to Thursday, October 31, 1867

"Uncle Ike McCaslin" is not the narrator's uncle - nor anyone else's in any of the dozen other Yoknapatawtha fictions in which he appears, beginning with "A Bear Hunt" (1934). And unlike many characters in American literature referred to as "Uncle," Ike isn't black. In his case "Uncle" is a courtesy title, a mark of the other white men's respect for his knowledge of the woods. As "the oldest" and most knowledgeable hunter in the party, Ike assigns the hunting stands to the other men; as the narrator says, "he had been hunting deer in these woods for about a hundred years, I reckon, and if anybody would know where a buck would pass, it would be him" (297).

Uncle Isaac McCaslin is the son of Theophilus "Uncle Buck" McCaslin and Sophonsiba Beauchamp, and the grandson and only direct white male descendant of Old Carothers McCaslin. He is one of the hunters with Mr. Ernest, and Uncle Ike appears in many of Faulkner's best known hunting texts. Although Uncle Ike McCaslin has no children he is venerated as an uncle by many characters in the texts in which he appears. He is central both to the McCaslin-Beauchamp family tree and to the binding together of the stories that comprise Go Down, Moses. The novel begins with the circumstances that lead to his birth, and at the end of Go Down, Moses an elderly Ike witnesses the repetition of miscegenation and abandonment that began with his grandfather. Ike attempts to ensure that his black relatives receive their family inheritance, and he repudiates the plantation ownership that is his birthright, two of many examples of his efforts to make amends for old wounds and make an ethical stance against slavery and private property. Both of those stances have their origin in Ike's tutelage under Sam Fathers, from whom he learns to become an excellent woodsman who cares more for nature than for property.
Property Status: 
owns house
Financial Status: 
laborer (works for wages)
Social Status: 
has influential social contacts (family, business, political)
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Character changes class in this text: