Isaac McCaslin (Uncle Ike)
Isaac McCaslin (Uncle Ike), the grandson of Lucius Quintus Carothers McCaslin and heir to his plantation. Isaac, whose father dies while he is young, has two father figures: Sam Fathers, once a slave of Isaac’s grandfather, and Cass Edmonds, a cousin sixteen years his elder. Sam Fathers teaches Isaac to hunt and to appreciate nature. As a child, Isaac longs for his tenth birthday, when he will be old enough to go on hunting trips to the wilderness. When Isaac turns twenty-one, he tells Cass that he is relinquishing his patrimony. He argues with Cass, who has been handling the responsibilities of the land, saying that no one should own land. Isaac’s objections run deeper: At the age of sixteen, he read the commissary ledgers that reveal his grandfather’s sexual relationship with Eunice and Tomasina, both slaves. He believes he must relinquish his patrimony in order to be free of the miscegenation, the incest, and the repudiation of black family members. Isaac leaves the plantation and lives an ascetic life in Jefferson as a carpenter. He continues to hunt with the men who took him to the wilderness, and as he ages, he continues that relationship with their sons and grandsons. Isaac marries, but the marriage is barren and unsuccessful because his wife cannot forgive him for not accepting his birthright.
Lucas Beauchamp, the grandson and great-grandson of Lucius Quintus Carothers McCaslin, descended through McCaslin slaves. He is allotted $1,000 at the age of twenty-one, which allows him to leave the land if he wants to begin a life elsewhere. The money is left to him by Isaac’s father and twin brother, who decided to multiply the $1,000 legacy the original McCaslin left to his own son Turl, Lucas’ father, who refused the legacy. As soon as Lucas turns twenty-one, he demands not only his $1,000 but also the same sum...
(The entire section is 783 words.)