"‘I’m older than that,’ Quentin said. ‘I go to school.’"

The Progressive Era between the 1890s and 1930s ushered in a new, idealistic approach which emphasized inclusivity and universal access to education, though the South felt the benefits of this rather later than other areas. Whereas by the turn of the century compulsory attendance had been introduced across the North and West, Mississippi would not enact such laws until 1918, making it the last state to do so. However, one could attend a free public school between the ages of five and 21. Most would begin their education aged eight, as Quentin does and as Faulkner himself did. It seems likely that Oxford Graded School, which he attended, is the model he had in mind for the Compsons.