V.K. Ratcliffe III

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V.K. Ratcliffe III
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Ratcliffe III, V.K.
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This man, the grandson of a Russian immigrant, is the first Yoknapatawphan member of the family that culminates in the V.K. Ratliff who appears in ten fictions. He arrives early enough in the county's history to be one of the men who "started Jefferson," as The Town puts it (338). He appears fairly late in the Faulkner's career, first appearing in "A Name for the City" and again in Requiem for a Nun as the nascent settlement's "post trader" - i.e. the person in charge of the Indian agency's trading post (206). In these two texts he works with men named Peabody and Compson to bring about the naming of Jefferson. In all three of these works his name is two letters longer than the last member of the family; The Town explains that over time his descendants "forgot how to spell it Ratcliffe and just spelled it like it sounds" - i.e. Ratliff (338). When he is mentioned in The Mansion, however, the narrative says his name is already "Ratliff" when he first arrives in Yoknapatawpha (184). It seems Faulkner too forgot how to spell it Ratcliffe.