Unnamed Enslaved Grandmother|Mother of Sam Fathers

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Unnamed Enslaved Grandmother|Mother of Sam Fathers
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Unnamed Enslaved Grandmother|Mother of Sam Fathers
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The woman who is the mother of Sam Fathers appears in four texts, though never as exactly the same person; her character changes as Faulkner's idea of the character Sam Fathers changes. In "A Justice," Sam is the son a slave whom Doom wins on a steamboat; she is married to another slave, but forced into a sexual relationship with one of the Indians, Crawford, who is the biological father of Sam. The next time she appears, it is actually as "Sam's grandmother" (202), though it's possible that Faulkner meant her to be his mother; again she is a slave owned by Doom and, in this text, impregnated by him, so that Sam is the (illegitimate) son of a Chickasaw chief. Doom forces her to marry another slave, then sells all three - including Sam - to the great-grandfather of the story's white narrator. In "The Bear," she is "a slave woman" who was impregnated by a Chickasaw chief (282). In Go Down, Moses, by adding one word to her description, Faulkner gives Sam a different racial identity. In this text Sam's mother is a "quadroon slave woman" (157). A "quadroon," in the dictinary of Faulkner's South, is someone with three white and one black grandparents. Legally Sam is still a 'Negro,' but being the son of this mother means that he has four times as much 'Indian blood' and three times as much 'white blood' as 'Negro blood' - though of course all human blood is the same color. In none of these texts is much said about her or her experience.