Unnamed Enslaved Butler

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Unnamed Enslaved Butler
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Unnamed Enslaved Butler
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One of the most important characters in Absalom, Absalom! is referred to only by the unfortunate label of "monkey nigger" (186, 188, 189) or "the monkey-dressed nigger butler" (187). This is the slave of the planter for whom Sutpen's father works, and who, when Sutpen comes to the front door of the plantation's big house with a message, "keeps the door barred with his body" (187) and tells the white boy "never to come to the front door again but to go around to the back" (188). This man is described in terms of his fine clothes: "the very broadcloth and linen and silk stockings" (189). Even at the time, the young Sutpen realizes that this slave is acting as the agent of the rich white man who owns the house.