The first narrator of the book, a mute, mentally disabled man. Benjy was originally named “Maury” after his uncle, but Caroline changed his name when she discovered his disability. Benjy has no understanding… (read full character analysis)
The oldest Compson child and the novel’s second narrator, Quentin is close with his father and Caddy. He feels the constant burden of his family’s past greatness and its present decline. This turns into… (read full character analysis)
Jason is the only one of the four siblings—Quentin, Caddy, Benjy, and himself—to receive Mrs. Compson’s affection, but he grows up into a bitter, loveless man. As an adult Jason… (read full character analysis)
The only Compson daughter and arguably the novel’s most important character, as she is the object of her brothers’ obsessions. Caddy is the only Compson who seems capable of loving truly, as she cares for… (read full character analysis)
Caddy’s illegitimate daughter who is raised without knowing her mother’s name. Quentin becomes promiscuous like Caddy, but she does not feel any shame for her actions. She is also partly raised by the cruel… (read full character analysis)
Caroline Bascomb Compson, the mother of the family, a dithering, self-obsessed hypochondriac who is unable to connect with or support her children. She favors Jason for some reason, and is preoccupied with the honor of her Bascomb family name. She is immensely prideful.
Dilsey’s teenaged grandson, who likes to make mischief but is able to fully care for Benjy.
Dilsey’s husband, the patriarch of the Gibsons, Roskus suffers from paralyzing rheumatism and talks about how unlucky the Compsons are.
The Compson children’s grandmother, who never appears in the novel except when she dies. A symbol of the old South and its death.
Dilsey’s son, who accidentally gets drunk with Benjy at Caddy’s wedding.
Dilsey’s daughter, another Compson servant.
Dilsey’s son, who is Benjy’s caretaker for a while.
Caroline’s brother, a man who lives by borrowing money and food from the family, and has an affair with their neighbor, Mrs. Patterson.
The man in the red tie
A man from a traveling minstrel show who runs away with Miss Quentin.
Jason’s boss at the farm supply store, an honorable man who is patient with Jason’s sarcasm.
Caddy’s first lover, and possibly the father of her child.
Caddy’s husband, who was once known for cheating at cards. He divorces Caddy when he learns that Miss Quentin is not his child.
A handsome, swaggering Harvard student who boasts of his exploits with women.
Gerald’s mother, who accompanies him and brags about him.
Quentin’s roommate and friend.
A Harvard boy who makes fun of Quentin’s virginity.
A black man who hangs around Harvard and befriends Quentin.
A visiting preacher who delivers a powerful Easter sermon.
A prostitute that Jason visits in Memphis.
The Compsons’ neighbor, who has an affair with Uncle Maury.
Mrs. Patterson’s husband, who learns of his wife’s affair when he intercepts Benjy delivering her a love letter from Maury.
The first boy Caddy kisses.
A man who beats Benjy after Benjy chases some schoolgirls. He is the father of one of the girls.
A girl Quentin kissed, who makes Caddy jealous.
The angry brother of an Italian girl who follows Quentin.
A town librarian who sees a picture of Caddy in a magazine, long after Caddy has left town. She wants to save Caddy, but realizes it would be impossible.