Who is the fourth narrator in Absalom, Absalom!?

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Kristen Lentz | Middle School Teacher | (Level 1) Educator Emeritus

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William Faulkner pushes the limit with the 'unreliable narrator' device in Absalom, Absalom! with not one, but four extremely unreliable narrators.  The novel features four different perspectives of different events and people, and each of the perspectives are incredibly subjective, influenced by the characters' own emotions and feelings.

The four narrators are Rosa, Mr. Compson, Quentin, and Shreve. 

Miss Rosa-- She is the narrator closest to the action, because she actually has a first-hand account of what happened with Sutpen.  However, the reader has to take into account that she is telling her side of the story from her point of view, which makes it incredibly biased.

Mr. Compson-- This is Quentin's father.  He has his own version of the story which portrays Sutpen as more of an old-fashioned Southern hero with tragic flaws.

Quentin Compson-- Quentin actively tries to fill in the details and solve the mystery surrounding the Sutpen family.

Shreve McCannon-- The fourth narrator and the most removed from the action, Shreve is Quentin's roommate at Harvard.  Since Shreve has never met any of the Sutpen family and has never even been to the south, Shreve offers a less-biased view of events, but his understanding is also based purely on hearsay and conjecture. 

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