Unnamed Grandfather of Mrs. Harriss

Character Key Number: 
Display Name: 
Unnamed Grandfather of Mrs. Harriss
Sort Name: 
Unnamed Grandfather of Mrs. Harriss
Ever Present in Yoknapatawpha?: 

This character 'appears' in "Knight's Gambit" by way of one of Faulkner's typical negative formulations, in the middle of a sentence that develops the idea that Sebastian Gualdres is a "stranger" in Yoknapatawpha by noting that, when locals visit him at the Backus-Harriss Plantation, they are "guests not of the woman who owned the place and whose family name they had known all her life and her father's and grandfather's too" - that is, they are his guests (174). But the point here is that this woman - Mrs. Harriss - had this grandfather, and he lived in Yoknapatawpha, although that is all we know about him. Compounding the complexity of the family history here is that "Mrs. Harriss" only gets a "family name" in the later novel, The Town, where she is identified as Melisandre Backus. That family name links her genealogically to characters originally mentioned in "My Grandmother Millard" 6 years before "Knight's Gambit" (and 14 years before The Town). Does this mean Faulkner was thinking of Mrs. Harriss' grandfather in "Knight's Gambit" as Philip St-Just Backus, or perhaps a son of his? There is no way to answer a question like this, but in a "cumulative character" index I suppose it has to be asked.