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Absalom, Absalom!

Absalom, Absalom!


by William Faulkner

Henry Sutpen Timeline and Summary

This character timeline is in chronological order. This isn't how things go down in the book, but we wanted to make it a little easier to follow. Even Faulkner wanted it that way (he includes a chronology in the book itself), so we feel okay about it.

  • 1839: Henry is born; he's the son of Thomas and Ellen Sutpen
  • 1859: He meets the oh-so-dreamy Charles Bon at the University of Mississippi and brings him home for Christmas.
  • 1860: The next year, he brings Charles Bon home for Christmas again and finds out some crucial information about Charles from his father (we're not sure what, though).
  • December 24, 1860: Ah, Christmas drama. Henry repudiates Sutpen and returns to New Orleans with Charles Bon.
  • 1861: Together with Charles, he enlists as a private in a regiment to fight for the South in the Civil War.
  • c. 1862: Henry rescues Bon in battle when he is wounded and meets his father in a tent on the battlefield. We're led to believe that this is when Sutpen tells Henry that Charles is part black.
  • 1865: He returns to Sutpen's Hundred with Charles Bon, but shoots him at the gate of the plantation when Charles refuses to renounce his wife. He tells Judith what he has done but not why (sounds kind of like how Faulkner tells this whole story!); then he drops the body at his sister's feet and disappears.
  • c. 1905: Henry returns to Sutpen's Hundred (unbeknownst to us).
  • 1909: Quentin shows up at the house, and Henry tells him he has come home "to die."
  • c. 1910: Sure enough, he dies – unfortunately, it's in a fire set by his half-sister, Clytie.