William Faulkner, with the successful use of imagery, explains that the only way humans can achieve true freedom is by connecting with nature. In “The Bear,” wilderness consists of “big woods bigger and older than any records of documents [available]” (Faulkner 185), meaning that the only way humans can achieve freedom in nature is by connecting with it, not by terminating it. Connecting with nature allows humans to discover the intimate deliverance that nature offers (Vickery 211). Ike seeks this deliverance when he “enters his novitiate to true wilderness” (Faulkner 189). At first Ike’s purpose is to be the human who “hunts [and kills] the bear” (Faulkner 204). However, once he obtains a deeper connection to the wilderness through Old Ben, his idea change. Ike, who once felt that all he needed in life was “humanity to survive” (Faulkner 186), begins to have a change of heart when he realizes that he shares a connection between him, Old Ben and nature. The relationship between Ike and Old Ben begins the first time the bear makes an appearance, Ike “looking at [Ike]… without an...
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... the complexity of passion, lust, hate, and fear which drives the heart” (Faulkner 250) away from true freedom.
The allegory of man’s arrogance in his quest to be god-like causes him to lose their freedom (Perluck). William Faulkner, through allusion, uses imagery and symbolism to show that the only way man can attain true liberty is by connecting with nature. Ike is able to achieve this connection by discovering methods to connect with nature, which he benefits from by also obtaining a better morality.
Vickery, Olga. The Novels of William Faulkner: A Critical Interpretation. Bear, Man, and God. Ed, Francis Lee Utley, Lynne Bloom, Arthur F. Kinney, New York (1964); 323-327.
Vickery, Olga. The Novels of William Faulkner: A Critical Interpretation. Bear, Man, and God. Ed, Francis Lee Utley, Lynne Bloom, Arthur F. Kinney, New York (1964); 209-212.
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