Tragic Realization Through Trials in Works of William Styron

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Tragic Realization Through Trials in Works of William Styron The apocalyptic view maintains that life is a struggle between good and evil that can not be justified morally. Samuel Coale suggests that it is that ethical "quest, the search of values of [William Styron's] heroes amid the stark realities of pain and suffering" that plays into his novels (399). Nat Turner, in The Confessions of Nat Turner, revisits his insurrection and comes to terms with his relationship with God and his own role in the rebellion. The two main characters in Sophie's Choice, Stingo and Sophie, both go through separate trials and end with different conclusions concerning man's impact in life. In The Long March, Captain Mannix struggles with senseless death and his role in an opposing society. Each of these characters fights others but is also forced to confront the hell that his or her body houses. The Confessions of Nat Turner is divided into two parts: the rush of evil and violence and the calm after the storm. The story of the insurrection is told in flashback as Nat analyzes his actions from his jail cell. Throughout the rebellion, Nat defends himself by saying that God has commanded him to rid the world of white people. However, as he continues through his meditation, he realizes that God may have not been there after all, prodding him along. His first revelation comes when he finds he cannot pray in jail. Though he attempts to do so, the words do not come and he does not feel God's presence. Only after he thinks over the entire ordeal can he begin to talk to God again. Nat's motto throughout the insurrection originates from the Bible, "The first shall be last and the last shall be first." Styron explain... ... middle of paper ... ...6. Rpt. in Contemporary Literary Criticism, Vol. 60. New York: Gale, 1990, 399-403. Hoffman, Frederick J. "William Styron: The Metaphysical Hurt." The Art of Southern Fiction: A Study of Some Modern Novelists. 1967. Rpt. in Contemporary Literary Criticism, Vol. 15. Detroit, Michigan: Gale, 1980, 524-26. Kakutani, Michiko. "William Styron and His Life and Work." The New York Times Book Review. Dec 1982, 3,26. Rpt. in Contemporary Literary Criticism, Vol. 60. New York: Gale, 1990, 394-96. Pearce, Richard. "William Styron." American Writers. Ed. Leonard Unger. New York: Scribner's, 1974. "Sophie's Choice." Magill Book Reviews. 1979, n.pag. MAS. Styron, William. The Confessions of Nat Turner. New York: Random,1966. _____. The Long March. New York: Random, 1952. _____. Sophie's Choice. New York: Random, 1976.

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