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Compson Family


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Characters in Faulkner's fiction, an old family centrally involved in Jefferson history from the town's earliest years, figures most prominently in The Sound and the Fury and more briefly in Absalom, Absalom!, The Town, and The Mansion The family is traced back to Quentin MacLachan Compson, who comes to Carolina from Scotland in the 18th century and who, while his son Charles Stuart Compson is fighting with the British in Georgia in 1778, takes his infant grandson Jason Lycurgus Compson to Kentucky. In 1811 Jason Lycurgus goes to the Chickasaw Agency in Mississippi, where he wins money racing horses against Ikkemotubbe, a Chickasaw chief from whom he obtains a square mile of land, on which he builds an estate, while the town of Jefferson begins to grow around it. Jason Lycurgus's son Quentin MacLachan II becomes governor of Mississippi, and his son Jason Lycurgus II becomes a Confederate general, later helping to build the railroad to Jefferson. His son Jason III (Jason Richmond, Sr.), a lawyer, becomes a recluse who spends his time drinking, reading the classics, and exercising his cynical wit in the years after he marries Caroline Bascomb and fathers four children: a daughter, Candace (Caddy), and three sons, Quentin III, Benjamin (Benjy), originally named Maury, and Jason IV, whose sad stories are the subject of The Sound and the Fury. The last generation of the Compson family is Caddy's illegitimate daughter Quentin, for Jason remains a bachelor, Quentin commits suicide, and the idiot Benjy is castrated and, according to The Mansion, dies in the fire he sets to the family house.

Subjects: Literature.


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