William Faulkner accepted his Nobel Peace Prize in December 1950. During his acceptance speech, Faulkner proclaimed that the award was made not to him as a man, but to his life’s work, which was created, “out of the materials of the human spirit something which did not exist before.” (PF ) He felt that the modern writer had lost connection to his spirit and that he must reconnect with the universal truths of the heart—“love and honor and pity and pride and compassion and sacrifice.” (PF ) Through his characters voice and exposure of their spirit, Faulkner solidified man’s immortality by “lifting his heart, by reminding him of the courage and honor and hope and pride and compassion and pity and sacrifice which have been the glory of his past.”(PF ) Although some critics have characterized his work as violet, dealing with immoral themes and the miseries and brutality of life; it can be argued that even his most sad and depraved characters express positive virtues and personal strengths, even if by a negative example. The purpose of this paper is to discuss the portrayal and manifestation of the human spirit in a select few of William Faulkner’s literary characters, showing that they possess both human strength and flaws. So what is the human spirit and why is it significant? It is a somewhat indefinable concept.
New York: Vintage, 1959. Gwynn, Frederick L., and Joseph Blotner, eds. Faulkner in the University. Charlottesville: University of Virginia Press, 1995. King, Richard B.
Vickery, Olga W. The Novels of William Faulkner: A Critical Interpretation, 2nd ed. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1964, pp. 191-208. Watson, James Gray. The Snopes Dilemma: Faulkner's Trilogy.
New York: Chambers Harrap Publishers, 1997. Perkins, Georgie, Barbara Perkins, Phillip Leininger. Hemingway, Ernest [Miller] Readers Encyclopedia of America Literature, 438-442. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 1991.
Contemporary Literary Criticism. Vol. 11, 1975. Hoffman, F. J. and Vickery, O. W. William Faulkner: Three Decades of Criticism. New York, Harbinger, 1960.
“Toni Morrison's Jazz and the City. “ African American Review, 35. 2 (Summer 2001): 219-231. Print. Thornton Jerome E. “The Paradoxical Journey of the African American in African American Fiction.” New Literary History, 21.3 (Spring 1990): 733-745.
20 March 2001. < http://www.unc.edu/courses/eng81br1/lang2.html>. Lewis, David Levering, ed. The Portable Harlem Renaissance Reader. NY: Viking Penguin, 1994.
" (Paterson 178) This quote refers to the Christian bible story of Abraham, and the rivalry of his two sons, Jacob and Esau. Religion teaches one their general morals, however when one cannot rely on religious beliefs to control their life and their soul in universal concept. Louise is easily presuaded by a prayer and does not dare to finish it for that's what she's afraid of and that's what makes her unique. The simple prayer is, "Now I lay me to sleep, I pray the lord my soul to keep. If I should die before I wake, I pray the lord ... ... middle of paper ... ...derneath.
In William Shakespeare’s “Hamlet”, Hamlet undergoes many trials in life that test his moral fortitude and overall character. His moral code revolves around the central aspects of Christianity; by following such guidelines, one spend eternal life in heaven. Hamlet’s religious views are deeply offended when his mother, Gertrude, hastily marrying his uncle, Claudius. When Hamlet deliver’s his soliloquy contemplating suicide, he chooses life over going to hell. Then, when the opportunity arises to strike revenge on his father, he hesitates and does not kill Claudius in prayer.