Reader's Encyclopedia

Compson

A family in The Sound and the Fury and other works by William Faulkner. One of the old, aristocratic families of Yoknapatawpha County, the Compsons trace their American ancestry back to the early 18th century, but, by the early 20th century, the family is decaying. In the 1930s, the family property is sold and the last male Compson is a childless bachelor. The family includes Benjamin, the idiot of The Sound and the Fury; Candace (Caddy), a girl whose checkered career includes a seduction, a marriage to a banker and another to a motion - picture executive, and who is last seen in Paris during the German occupation; Jason Lycurgus Compson I, the first of the family to settle in Mississippi; Jason II, a brigadier general in the Civil War, to whom Thomas Sutpen of Absalom, Absalom! tells part of his story; Jason III, an intelligent but ineffectual lawyer, who first sells some of the family property; Jason IV, a shrewd and selfish storekeeper, who sells the remaining property; Quentin Compson, the illegitimate daughter of Caddy; Quentin MacLachan Compson, an introspective young man, who commits suicide at Harvard in 1910.

In addition to The Sound and the Fury, the Compson family appears in the short story "That Evening Sun," and Quentin MacLachan Compson is one of the three narrators in Absalom, Absalom! (1936).

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