Unnamed Aunt of Rosa Coldfield

Character Key Number: 
Display Name: 
Unnamed Aunt of Rosa Coldfield
Sort Name: 
Unnamed Aunt of Rosa Coldfield
Ever Present in Yoknapatawpha?: 

In Absalom!, Rosa's "spinster aunt" (46) lives with the Coldfields in Jefferson and, after Rosa's mother dies, raises the girl. According to Mr. Compson, this aunt is "that strong vindictive consistent woman who seems to have been twice the man that Mr. Coldfield was and who in very truth was not only Miss Rosa's mother but her father too" (49). "A virgin at thirty-five," when Rosa is born, she brings Rosa up in a "closed masonry of females," defined by rage against "the entire male principle" in general and Thomas Sutpen in particular - at least according to Mr. Compson (46, 47). But the novel does not encourage readers uncritically to accept Mr. Compson's representation; only one page after he defines her as consistently vindictive, readers learn that when Rosa was still a child, "the aunt climbed out the window and vanished" (50). She "elopes with a horse- and mule-trader" (59), and apparently is last seen during the Civil War trying to "pass the Yankee lines" in order to be near her captured "husband" (66).