Absalom, Absalom!: Chapter 2

Setting: the "front gallery" of the Compson house, at twilight, while Quentin waits from "after supper until it would be time for [him] to start." This chapter contains the longest segment in the novel written by the third-person narrator: pp. 23-32, about the period between Sutpen's arrival in Yoknapatawpha to his engagement to Goodhue Coldfield's "marriageable daughter." Even this section, however, relies often on other characters as its sources of information -- "as Miss Coldfield told Quentin," "as General Compson told his son, Quentin's father," etc. The remainder of the chapter (pp. 33-45) is all inside quotation marks: the narrator is Mr. Compson, telling Quentin more of Sutpen's story himself.

c1820
Sutpen, 14 years old, "turn[s] his back on all he knew"
to seek "vindication of a past affront"
40
AFTER
1820
Sutpen "make[s] that mistake . . . which became his doom"
"in a country and among a people whose language he had to learn"
41
1833
JUNE
Sutpen first appears, alone, in Jefferson
takes title to 100 square miles of land, then returns with slaves and French architect
23, 26
1835
JUNE
Sutpen's house is finished, "save for windowglass and ironware"
28
1838
Sutpen goes to church to court Ellen Coldfield
leaves Jefferson "for second time" and returns with furnishings for house
posse of citizens arrests Sutpen, Goodhue Coldfield bails him out
Sutpen and Ellen marry in church
31, 33, 39
1853
JUNE
Henry, 14 years old, throws up watching his father wrestle with slaves
40
1910
FEBRUARY
Quentin gets letter from Mr. Compson while a student at Harvard
23

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