The Home By William Faulkner Essay

The Home By William Faulkner Essay

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What is the meaning of the home? In most works of literature, the home is a symbol associated with comfort, family, and happiness. However, in William Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom!, the home takes on a different meaning than in most literary works. In the novel, the home is actually used as a symbol for isolation and hostility. This is not only apparent in descriptions of Thomas Sutpen’s home, where most of the negativity in the novel is cultivated, but the motif of isolation is present in descriptions of Miss Rosa Coldfield’s home as well.
Thomas Sutpen appears in Yoknapatawpha County as a complete stranger. He has few interactions with the county members and quickly begins to build a large plantation and lavish mansion that occupies one hundred miles. His piece of land is referred to as “Sutpen’s Hundred” by the members of Yoknapatawpha County. His land is also noted as being “...twelve miles from town and almost that far by neighbor” (Faulkner 29). The isolation that Sutpen creates through his home and land space is apparent from the beginning. By reserving one hundred miles of land for he and his family, Sutpen successfully removes himself from the surrounding community, and in turn separates his family from the community. He is also nearly twelve miles from a neighboring home, which further contributes to the isolation he creates. This isolation ultimately serves as a breeding ground for hostility amongst members of his family, which likely occurs due to the fact that his family rarely interacts with individuals outside of their property. While the concept of home is able to represent comfort or a positive form of shelter, Faulkner seems to use the home as a representation of the negative effects of shelter; that...

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... Judith, are also described as “prisoners” to the home. Ellen does not seem to make much of an impact as a typical mother/homemaker figure, which was common during this time. Sutpen steps into her sphere by being the primary provider of domestic comfort by becoming so concerned with the affairs of his home. He fails to provide the level of comfort necessary to keep a happy home by forcing the members of his family to become isolated. Sutpen is okay with being isolated by his home, but his family is impacted negatively by this isolation. His family grows to be prisoners to not only the home but his ways as well. Sutpen is primarily concerned with supporting the life that the house seems to have, rather than the lives of his family. This is all quite striking given the fact that the home is often associated with positive or warm feelings in most literary works.

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