What does "fey fit" mean in this sentence from To Kill a  Mockingbird?"Local opinion held Mr. Underwood to be an intense, profane little man, whose father in a fey fit of humour christened Braxton...

What does "fey fit" mean in this sentence from To Kill a  Mockingbird?

"Local opinion held Mr. Underwood to be an intense, profane little man, whose father in a fey fit of humour christened Braxton Bragg, a name Mr. Underwood had done his best to live down. Atticus said naming people after Confederate generals made slow steady drinkers."

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bullgatortail | High School Teacher | (Level 1) Distinguished Educator

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First, it is important to know a little about Confederate General Braxton Bragg as well as the definition of the word "fey." Bragg was one of the most incompetent of the Confederate army commanders during the American Civil War, known for his bad temper and inability to work with subordinate officers. Though he was close friends with Confederate President Jefferson Davis, most of Bragg's division and corps commanders hated him, and Davis eventually removed his friend from command. Underwood seems to fit many of Bragg's own personal characteristics, and Underwood's father's "fey fit of humor" in naming him Braxton Bragg Underwood--instead of after the more revered Robert E. Lee or Stonewall Jackson--seems a fitting description, since "fey" is defined as an almost supernatural power of clairvoyance. Like Bragg, Underwood had few friends and they both shared an uneven temperament. Underwood must have known something about Bragg's incompetent reputation, and as Atticus said,

naming people after Confederate generals made slow steady drinkers.

Underwood could not have been very proud of his name, and "he had done his best to live it down."

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