Society’s Expectations of Manhood in Faulkner’s The Unvanquished

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Society’s Expectations of Manhood in Faulkner’s The Unvanquished In The Unvanquished, William Faulkner casts the narrator of the novel as an adult looking back on his boyhood. Early on, the author takes for granted that the actions he describes at the beginning of the story are recognizable to his audience as things boys do. Then, five pages into the novel, the narrator tells us his age at the time the story occurs, that he is a boy on the cusp of becoming a teenager. Using this narrative strategy allows Faulkner to view the Civil War from the perspective of a son whose father is a Confederate officer and plantation owner. Faulkner taps into southern society’s expectations of manhood in The Unvanquished. Regardless of the generation in which he is born, a man from that peculiar region below the old Mason-Dixon Line must be acquainted with at least some of the history of the Civil War. Faulkner apparently takes this tacit maxim for granted in the first few pages of his novel. We encounter two boys pretending they are in Vicksburg, Mississippi. We know they are not really in tha...

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