The Narrative Technique of Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom!

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The Narrative Technique of Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom!

Guilt should be viewed through the eyes of more than one person,

southern or otherwise. William Faulkner filters the story, Absalom, Absalom!,

through several minds providing the reader with a dilution of its representation.

Miss Rosa, frustrated, lonely, mad, is unable to answer her own questions

concerning Sutpen's motivation. Mr. Compson sees much of the evil and the

illusion of romanticism of the evil that turned Southern ladies into ghosts.

Charles Bon and Henry Sutpen are evaluated for their motives through Quentin

Compson and Shreve McCannon. Quentin attempt to evade his awareness, Shreve the

outsider (with Quentin's help) reconstructs the story and understands the

meaning of Thomas Sutpen's life. In the novel Absalom, Absalom!, a multiple

consciousness technique is used to reassess the process of historical

reconstruction by the narrators.

Chapter one is the scene in which Miss Rosa tells Quentin about the

early days in Sutpen's life. It's here that Rosa explains to Quentin why she

wanted to visit old mansion on this day. She is the one narrator that is unable

to view Sutpen objectively. The first chapter serves as merely an introduction

to the history of Sutpen based on what Miss Rosa heard as a child and her brief

personal experiences.

The narration of Absalom, Absalom!, can be considered a coded activity.

Faulkner creates the complex narration beginning at chapter 2. It ironic that

one of Faulkner's greatest novels is one in which the author only appears as the

teller of the story in one brief section; The details of the hero's arrival,

Thomas Sutpen, i...

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...orical knowledge (Connelly 12).

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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