Transferring Violence in Absalom, Absalom

At the heart of Absalom, Absalom is the violence of class division, national division, and racial division; particularly the violence between white Southerners and black slaves as a substitute for the violence poor whites would like to commit against wealthy whites. Thomas Sutpen’s barn fights with his “wild negroes” and his youth’s encounter with the … Read moreTransferring Violence in Absalom, Absalom

Ambivalence and Anguish: The Inescapability of the Old South and its Destruction of Quentin Compson in Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom

William Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom identifies the fundamental problem of Southern history as a wretched combination of two predominant qualities: the shameful and abhorrent nature of the past, and the haunting and mythical presence of such a past in the hearts and minds of the descendents of the old South. In the essay “Faulkner and the … Read moreAmbivalence and Anguish: The Inescapability of the Old South and its Destruction of Quentin Compson in Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom

Relations Between Blacks and Whites in Faulkner’s Literature

Part of an old southern family from Mississippi, William Faulkner chooses to inscribe in his writing the culture of his white heritage: the stories, myths and nightmares of the South. He particularly selects to portray the fall of the old aristocracy and its interaction with the people in the imaginary town of Jefferson. He also … Read moreRelations Between Blacks and Whites in Faulkner’s Literature

“I am Telling”: Narrative and Identity in Absalom, Absalom!

Who says what – and how and when – may be the most compelling way William Faulkner constructs his characters in Absalom, Absalom! Storytelling is not just an act in which the saga of the Sutpens is recounted, revised, and even recreated; it is a gesture of self-disclosure. Each revelation about the past provides a … Read more“I am Telling”: Narrative and Identity in Absalom, Absalom!

The Problem with Being There: The Distorting Effect of Personal Experience in Absalom, Absalom

Absalom, Absalom displays two narrators standing at opposite poles in their understanding of time. The first of these, Rosa Coldfield, narrates to a patiently listening Quentin Compson what one might call the life and times of Thomas Sutpen. This rather faulty description of her act, though, immediately suggests something that is missing from her notion … Read moreThe Problem with Being There: The Distorting Effect of Personal Experience in Absalom, Absalom

My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?

The novel Absalom Absalom! by William Faulkner is filled with biblical references, from the creation story to Abraham, from David and Goliath to the story of Ham. Faulkner infuses the novel with biblical language, making it impossible to ignore the book’s religious undertones. Throughout the novel, one of the central characters Thomas Sutpen is likened … Read moreMy God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?

“Mother Sister Wife”: An Evaluation of the Disparagement of Women and its Antagonistic Effects in Absalom, Absalom!

Deeply entrenched misogynistic attitudes pervaded the nineteenth century. Almost all men expected women to fill the role of mother, sister, or wife. They could not imagine and often actively worked against a society in which females could exist outside of these three main positions. William Faulkner firmly establishes this societal rule in his work Absalom, … Read more“Mother Sister Wife”: An Evaluation of the Disparagement of Women and its Antagonistic Effects in Absalom, Absalom!

Narrative Voice in William Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom

“On or about December 1910 human nature changed. All human relations shifted…and when human relations change there is at the same time change in religion, politics, and literature”; thus, Modernism was born (Woolf qtd in Galens 175). Modernism was a movement that pursued a truthful portrayal of the world by focusing on the human experience … Read moreNarrative Voice in William Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom

Choosing Connnection; Choosing Control

Absalom, Absalom! by William Faulkner is a maze; it is a maze with innumerable detours and dead ends, pathways that lead to a finale and obstacles to be overcome on the way there. One such obstacle is the triangular relationship between Henry Sutpen, Judith Sutpen, and Charles Bon. Not equally balanced is this triangle and … Read moreChoosing Connnection; Choosing Control