Absalom, Absalom! Contrasting Regions: The South Quotes
How we cite our quotes:
He came here with a horse and two pistols and a name which nobody ever heard before, knew for certain was his anymore than the horse was his own or even the pistols, seeking some place to hide himself, and Yoknapatawpha County supplied him with it. (1.10)
Sutpen comes from small town to small city looking for a place to establish himself. He has no past and no name, but he has money and a strong will. Here he is able to build a new identity, for better or worse.
[…] because our father knew who his father was in Tennessee and who his grandfather was in Virginia and our neighbors and the people we lived among knew that we knew and we knew they knew we knew and we knew that they would have believed us about who and where we came from even if we had lied, just as anyone could have looked at him once and known that he would be lying about who and where and why he came from by the very fact that apparently he had to refuse to say at all. (1.11)
Miss Rosa explains to Quentin how alien Sutpen seemed when he arrived in town. Though she repeatedly uses the word "knew," what she really expresses here is how little they knew about him. Who knew that the difference between West Virginia and Virginia would be so massive?
And he was no younger son sent out from some old quiet country like Virginia or Carolina with the surplus negroes to take up new land, because anyone could look at these negroes and tell that they may have come (and probably did) from a much older country than Virginia or Carolina but it wasn't a quiet one. (1.11)
With all the talk of South vs. North, New Orleans vs. Yoknapatawpha County, we forget that there are foreigners around, too. Imagine how out of place they must feel.