In the history of Faulkner criticism, the term compassion occurs remarkably often. This compassion has never been defined or explained, a fact which this study seeks to rectify. It explores and analyzes the element of compassion in his three early novels, "Soldier's Pay", "Mosquitoes" and Sartoris", and in three of his major novels, "The Sound and the Fury", "As I Lay Dying" and "Light in August", placing the development of compassion in Faulkner's fiction in the context of his maturation as an artist. While describing the function, nature and effectiveness of compassion in Faulkner's fiction, the book engages with relevant critical issues in Faulkner studies. Reception theory, as developed by Wolfgang Iser and Hans-Robert Jauss, provides the theoretical framework necessary to examine the modalities of reception and response-inviting structures of Faulker's fiction. The analyses of the narrative progression and readerly processes of identification of these six novels disclose the significance of compassion; it is central to the increasingly challenging demands Faulkner made on his readers to be active and fully involved participants, co-creators of his texts.