That Evening Sun

by

William Faulkner

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Jason Compson Character Analysis

Jason is the youngest of the Compson children and only about four years old when the events in the story take place. Jason is just beginning to learn the rules of the society roundabout him and often looking for clarification from the adults in the story. Jason seems especially confused about and fascinated by the concept of who is “a nigger” and who isn’t, not yet understanding the racial divides in the south; this underscores the story’s suggestion that racism is a learned behavior, rather than something innate. The fact that the story ends with Jason riding on Mr. Compson’s shoulders and announcing that he “is not a nigger” suggests that, in the future, these racial divides will remain unchallenged, and that Jason will be protected by his own status as a white man—just as his father protects him when Caddy makes fun of him and calls him a “scairy cat.”

Jason Compson Quotes in That Evening Sun

The That Evening Sun quotes below are all either spoken by Jason Compson or refer to Jason Compson. For each quote, you can also see the other characters and themes related to it (each theme is indicated by its own dot and icon, like this one:
Racism and Segregation Theme Icon
). Note: all page numbers and citation info for the quotes below refer to the Vintage edition of That Evening Sun published in 1995.
That Evening Sun Quotes

And then about half the time we’d have to go down the lane to Nancy’s cabin and tell her to come on and cook breakfast. We would stop at the ditch, because father told us not to have anything to do with Jesus – he was a short, black man with a razor scar down his face – and we would throw rocks at Nancy’s house until she came to the door, leaning her head around it without any clothes on.

Related Characters: Quentin Compson (speaker), Nancy , Caddy Compson, Jason Compson, Jesus, Dilsey
Related Symbols: The Ditch
Page Number: 290
Explanation and Analysis:

“You'll leave me alone, to take Nancy home?” mother said. “Is her safety more precious to you than mine!”

“I won’t be long," father said.

“You'll leave these children unprotected, with that Negro about?”

“I'm going too," Caddy said. “Let me go, Father.”

“What would he do with them, if he were unfortunate enough to have them?" father said.

“I want to go, too,” Jason said.

“Jason!” mother said. She was speaking to father. You could tell that by the way she said the name. Like she believed that all day father had been trying to think of doing the thing she wouldn't like the most and that she knew all the time that after a while he would think of it.

Related Characters: Quentin Compson (speaker), Caddy Compson (speaker), Jason Compson (speaker), Mr. Compson (speaker), Mrs. Compson (speaker), Nancy , Jesus
Page Number: 294
Explanation and Analysis:

“Well, he's gone now,” father said.

“There's nothing for you to be afraid of now. And if you'd just let white men alone.”

“Let what white men alone?” Caddy said. “How let them alone?”

“He aint gone nowhere," Nancy said. "I can feel him. I can feel him now, in this lane. He hearing us talk, every word, hid somewhere, waiting. I aint seen him, and I aint going to see him again but once more, with that razor in his mouth. That razor on that string down his back, inside his shirt. And then I aint going to be even surprised.”

Related Characters: Quentin Compson (speaker), Nancy (speaker), Caddy Compson (speaker), Mr. Compson (speaker), Jason Compson, Jesus
Page Number: 294
Explanation and Analysis:

“Hush,” Nancy said. She was talking loud when we crossed the ditch and stooped through the fence where she used to stoop through with the clothes on her head. Then we came to her house. We were going fast then. She opened the door. The smell of the house was like the lamp and the smell of Nancy was like the wick, like they were waiting for one another to begin to smell. She lit the lamp and closed the door and put the bar up. Then she quit talking loud, looking at us […] There was something about Nancy's house; something you could smell besides Nancy and the house. Jason smelled it, even. “I don't want to stay here,” he said.

Related Characters: Quentin Compson (speaker), Nancy (speaker), Jason Compson (speaker), Caddy Compson, Jesus
Related Symbols: The Ditch
Page Number: 302
Explanation and Analysis:

She came and sat in a chair before the hearth. There was a little fire there. Nancy built it up, when it was already hot inside. She built a good blaze. She told a story. She talked like her eyes looked, like her eyes watching us and her voice talking to us did not belong to her. Like she was, living somewhere else, waiting somewhere else. She was outside the cabin. Her voice was inside and the shape of her, the Nancy that could stoop under a barbed wire fence with a bundle of clothes balanced on her head as though without weight, like a balloon, was there. But that was all.

Related Characters: Quentin Compson (speaker), Nancy , Caddy Compson, Jason Compson, Jesus
Related Symbols: Darkness
Page Number: 302
Explanation and Analysis:

We left her sitting before the fire. “Come and put the bar up,” father said. But she didn't move. She didn't look at us again, sitting quietly there between the lamp and the fire. From some distance down the lane we could look back and see her through the open door. “What, Father?” Caddy said. “What’s going to happen?” “Nothing,” father said. Jason was on father's back, so Jason was the tallest of all of us. We went down into the ditch. I looked at it, quiet. I couldn't see much where the moonlight and the shadows tangled. “If Jesus is hid here, he can see us, cant he?” Caddy said. “He's not there,” father said. “He went away a long time ago.”

Related Characters: Quentin Compson (speaker), Caddy Compson (speaker), Mr. Compson (speaker), Nancy , Jason Compson, Jesus
Related Symbols: The Ditch, Darkness
Page Number: 309
Explanation and Analysis:
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That Evening Sun PDF

Jason Compson Character Timeline in That Evening Sun

The timeline below shows where the character Jason Compson appears in That Evening Sun. The colored dots and icons indicate which themes are associated with that appearance.
That Evening Sun
Racism and Segregation Theme Icon
Naivety, Ignorance, and Nostalgia Theme Icon
...on top of the bundle of laundry she carried. Quentin and his brother and sister, Jason and Caddy, would follow Nancy and marvel at how the bundle “never bobbed nor wavered,”... (full context)
Racism and Segregation Theme Icon
Naivety, Ignorance, and Nostalgia Theme Icon
...complains that Nancy was not a very reliable servant and describes how he, Caddy, and Jason would often have to go to Nancy’s cabin and wake her up so that she... (full context)
Racism and Segregation Theme Icon
Naivety, Ignorance, and Nostalgia Theme Icon
Fear and Vulnerability Theme Icon
Quentin notes that he, Caddy, and Jason also notice Nancy’s “apron swelling out” when she is cooking for them because Dilsey is... (full context)
Racism and Segregation Theme Icon
Naivety, Ignorance, and Nostalgia Theme Icon
Fear and Vulnerability Theme Icon
...for Jesus to come and get her, but Quentin says that Jesus has left town. Jason thinks Nancy is “scared of the dark” and doesn’t want to walk home. Caddy tells... (full context)
Racism and Segregation Theme Icon
Naivety, Ignorance, and Nostalgia Theme Icon
Fear and Vulnerability Theme Icon
...own, as he will leave her and the children “unprotected” with Jesus about. Caddy and Jason then beg to go with their father and Nancy and, although Mrs. Compson is irritated,... (full context)
Racism and Segregation Theme Icon
Fear and Vulnerability Theme Icon
...to be Jesus’s mother yet also sometimes says she isn’t “kin” to him. Caddy teases Jason about being “scairder than niggers,” but Jason denies it. (full context)
Racism and Segregation Theme Icon
Fear and Vulnerability Theme Icon
...after it gets dark. Dilsey asks Nancy how she knows that Jesus has come back. Jason, who is also in the kitchen, says that “Jesus is a nigger.” Nancy tells Dilsey... (full context)
Racism and Segregation Theme Icon
Naivety, Ignorance, and Nostalgia Theme Icon
Fear and Vulnerability Theme Icon
...why Nancy is afraid of Jesus and if Mrs. Compson is afraid of Mr. Compson. Jason starts to cry and says he will only stop crying if Dilsey makes him a... (full context)
Racism and Segregation Theme Icon
Naivety, Ignorance, and Nostalgia Theme Icon
...before asking the children if they remember having fun when she stayed in their room. Jason says he didn’t have any fun, but Caddy reminds him that he was not there,... (full context)
Racism and Segregation Theme Icon
Fear and Vulnerability Theme Icon
...children set off down the lane with Nancy. The lane is dark, and Caddy teases Jason about being scared. Caddy asks Nancy why she is “talking so loud” and Nancy laughs... (full context)
Racism and Segregation Theme Icon
Naivety, Ignorance, and Nostalgia Theme Icon
Fear and Vulnerability Theme Icon
...says that there is “something you could smell besides Nancy in the house,” something even Jason smells. The young boy wants to go home. (full context)
Racism and Segregation Theme Icon
Fear and Vulnerability Theme Icon
...queen would need to go near a ditch or get home and bar her door. Jason says he doesn’t like the story and wants to go home. He says that he... (full context)
Racism and Segregation Theme Icon
Naivety, Ignorance, and Nostalgia Theme Icon
Fear and Vulnerability Theme Icon
Nancy gets the popper out from under the bed, but it is broken. Jason begins to cry when he sees this and again says he wants to go home.... (full context)
Fear and Vulnerability Theme Icon
...and sleep in their room again and that, if she can, they will have fun. Jason says that he hasn’t had any fun, and that Nancy got smoke in his eye... (full context)
Racism and Segregation Theme Icon
Naivety, Ignorance, and Nostalgia Theme Icon
Fear and Vulnerability Theme Icon
...Jesus is watching them from the ditch, but Mr. Compson says that Jesus is gone. Jason is sitting on his father’s shoulders and it looks like Mr. Compson “has two heads,... (full context)