That Evening Sun

by

William Faulkner

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Mrs. Compson Character Analysis

Mrs. Compson is the mother of Quentin, Caddy, and Jason, and the wife of Mr. Compson. Mrs. Compson comes across as spoiled, pampered, and petulant. She is jealous and suspicious of Nancy, whom Mrs. Compson likely knows works as a prostitute. Mrs. Compson dislikes her husband walking Nancy home even though, as Mr. Compson says, Mrs. Compson has less to fear than Nancy and knows that no one is “waiting outside with a razor” for her. In Mrs. Compson’s mind, even though she is not in real danger, her own comfort is more important than Nancy’s genuine fear for her life. Mrs. Compson views Nancy as unimportant in comparison to herself because Nancy is black, poor, and a servant, while Mrs. Compson is a respectable white woman—and therefore more valuable in the social hierarchies of the period.

Mrs. Compson Quotes in That Evening Sun

The That Evening Sun quotes below are all either spoken by Mrs. Compson or refer to Mrs. 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

“Mother wants to know if you are through,” I said.

“Yes,” Nancy said. She looked at me. “I done finished.” She looked at me.

“What is it?” I said. “What is it?”

“I aint nothing but a nigger,” Nancy said. “It aint none of my fault.”

She looked at me, sitting in the chair before the cold stove, the sailor hat on her head. I went back to the library. It was the cold stove and all, when you think of a kitchen being warm and busy and cheerful. And with the cold stove and the dishes all put away, and nobody wanting to eat at that hour.

Related Characters: Quentin Compson (speaker), Nancy (speaker), Mrs. Compson
Page Number: 293
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:
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That Evening Sun PDF

Mrs. Compson Character Timeline in That Evening Sun

The timeline below shows where the character Mrs. 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
Fear and Vulnerability Theme Icon
...and Mr. Compson tells Jesus to stay away from the house. One evening, after supper, Mrs. Compson remarks that Nancy is taking a long time to wash and dry the dishes and... (full context)
Racism and Segregation Theme Icon
Naivety, Ignorance, and Nostalgia Theme Icon
Fear and Vulnerability Theme Icon
...going to walk Nancy home because Nancy thinks that Jesus has come back to town. Mrs. Compson asks if Nancy has seen Jesus, but Mr. Compson says she hasn’t. Mrs. Compson then... (full context)
Racism and Segregation Theme Icon
Fear and Vulnerability Theme Icon
...family begin to walk Nancy home every night after she has finished her work. Eventually Mrs. Compson becomes annoyed that she is being “left alone in this big house” while Mr. Compson... (full context)
Racism and Segregation Theme Icon
Naivety, Ignorance, and Nostalgia Theme Icon
Fear and Vulnerability Theme Icon
...them like she did last time. She persuades the children to ask their mother, but Mrs. Compson says that she “can’t have Negroes sleeping in the bedrooms.” Caddy asks Mrs. Compson why... (full context)
Racism and Segregation Theme Icon
Naivety, Ignorance, and Nostalgia Theme Icon
...have any fun, but Caddy reminds him that he was not there, but asleep in Mrs. Compson ’s room. Nancy says that if the children come home with her, they will have... (full context)