Faulkner's Condemnation of the South in Absalom, Absalom

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Faulkner's Condemnation of the South in Absalom, Absalom

William Faulkner came from an old, proud, and distinguished

Mississippi family, which included a governor, a colonel in the Confederate

army, and notable business pioneers. Through his experiences from growing up in the old South, Faulkner

has been able to express the values of the South through his characters.

William Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom offers a strong condemnation of the

mores and morals of the South.

Faulkner's strong condemnation of the values of the South emanates

from the actual story of the Sutpen family whose history must be seen as

connected to the history of the South (Bloom 74). Quentin tells this story

in response to a Northerner's question: "What is the South like?" As the

novel progresses, Quentin is explaining the story of the Sutpen myth and

revealing it to the reader. Faulkner says that the duty of an author, as

an artist, is to depict the human heart in conflict with itself. This

attitude is revealed in the conflicts that Henry Sutpen undergoes in

Absalom, Absalom.

Thomas Sutpen is the son of a poor mountain farmer who founded the

Sutpen estate. Thomas Sutpen stands for all the great and noble qualities

of the South, and at the same time represents the failure of the South by

rejecting the past and committing the same types of acts that his ancestors

did (Connelly 34). He rejects his own father to adopt a plantation owner

as his surrogate father, who acts as a model of what a man is supposed to

be. When the plantation owner tells Sutpen to use the back door instead of

the front door, Faulkner is using ...

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Works Cited

Aswell, Duncan. "The Puzzling Design of Absalom, Absalom!" Muhlenfeld 93-108

Bloom, Harold, ed. Absalom, Absalom! Modern Critical Interpretations. New

York: Chelsea. 1987.

Connelly, Don. "The History and Truth in Absalom, Absalom!" Northwestern

University, 1991.

Faulkner, William. Absalom, Absalom! New York: Vintage, 1972

Levins, Lynn. "The Four Narrative Perspectives in Absalom, Absalom!" Austin: U

of Texas, 1971.

Muhlenfeld, Elizabeth, ed. William Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom!: A Critical

Casebook. New York: Garland, 1984.

Rollyson, Carl. "The Re-creation of the Past in Absalom, Absalom!" Mississippi

Quarterly 29 (1976): 361-74

Searle Leroy. "Opening the Door: Truth in Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom!"

Unpublished essay. N.d.
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