The Maturation of Bayard in Faulkner’s The Unvanquished

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The Maturation of Bayard in Faulkner’s The Unvanquished William Faulkner tells his novel The Unvanquished through the eyes and ears of Bayard, the son of Confederate Colonel John Sartoris. The author’s use of a young boy during such a turbulent time in American history allows him to relate events from a unique perspective. Bayard holds dual functions within the novel, as both a character and a narrator. The character of Bayard matures into a young adult within the work, while narrator Bayard relays the events of the story many years later. Several details within the work clue the reader to Bayard’s actual maturity. Diction from the opening chapter provides immediate clues. Although only twelve, the descriptions of Bayard’s mock-battlefield contain vocabulary far beyond his years (recalcitrance, topography, recapitulant) (p. 3-4), and Bayard admits his earlier shortcoming with words: “I was just twelve then; I didn’t know triumph; I didn’t even know the word” (p. 5). If the young boy did not know triumph, he most likely had not learned multi-syllabic words with etymological roo...

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