"the wages of sin"
Rossetti's 'Found' portrays a man coming upon a former sweetheart. Her fallen status is symbolized by the faded roses on her dress
Public DomainRossetti's 'Found' portrays a man coming upon a former sweetheart. Her fallen status is symbolized by the faded roses on her dress - Credit: Dante Gabriel Rossetti

The second Book of Peter contains this condemnation of the inhabitants of Sodom and Gomorrah, whose sexual depravity and refusal to repent incur the wrath of God:

 

Having eyes full of adultery, and that cannot cease from sin; beguiling unstable souls: an heart they have exercised with covetous practices; cursed children: Which have forsaken the right way, and are gone astray, following the way of Balaam the son of Bosor, who loved the wages of unrighteousness. (2 Peter 2.14-15)

 

In Mrs Compson’s imagination, this assocation of sexual sin and money underscores Caddy’s status as a ‘fallen woman’. Several critics have taken it to imply that Caddy is working as a prostitute; Faulkner, however, doubtless intended to show the extent to which women who had ‘fallen’ from their ideal condition of purity and those who charged for sex were relegated to the same social category.