Unnamed Biracial Woman

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Unnamed Biracial Woman
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Unnamed Biracial Woman
Free Black
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Indianapolis, Indiana
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The character of this unnamed woman with whom Don Boyd has had an affair and a child comes into focus slowly. At the start of the story she is referred to elliptically as the "doe" whom Boyd hunted the year before (268). When she appears before Ike in person at the end of the story, she brings with her "something intangible" (277). She is wearing a man's hat and rain coat, and has "a face young" with "dark eyes" (268). She tells Ike she is a teacher. She is obviously fair-skinned enough to pass as "white," because it is not until she tells Ike that her aunt "took in washing" that he identifies that "intangible something" as her racial heritage as a Negro. She expresses no shame or remorse about the affair or the child she carries in her arms; as she tells Ike, "I knew what I was doing" (277). It seems clear that she loves Boyd, but is not surprised to learn he has abandoned her. Ike endorses her decision to "go back North," where she is originally from (178). (When Faulkner revised the story for publication in Go Down, Moses, he identifies the woman as a descendant of Ike's own grandfather.)

Cancelled bio: She is a biracial woman from Indianapolis. When her father died, she went to live with her aunt in Vicksburg. Her aunt is a black washerwoman. The aunt already had a family too large to support, so the unnamed woman gets a job teaching school in Aluschaskuna, where she meets Don Boyd while he is in town for hunting supplies. They have an affair. She also stays with Don for six weeks when he is in New Mexico during the winter. She cooks for him and looks after his clothes. When they realize she is pregnant, they make an arrangement that she will take money and not bother Don again, but she returns to Aluschaskuna with her son during the hunting season hoping to see Don so she can confirm the romance has dissolved. She plans to return North with her son.
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