Essay on The Women of Absalom, Absalom!

Essay on The Women of Absalom, Absalom!

Length: 1896 words (5.4 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Powerful Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The Women of Absalom, Absalom!


The women of William Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom! embrace fundamental characteristics of the nature of the South and its relation to the women who inhabit the area. The women particularly challenge the reader to an examination of the time of the Civil War, the relation of the war to the South, and the relation of the people to their surroundings. There is a call for recognition of the intrinsic complexities of the South that stem from the mythological base of the gentlemen class and the qualities of hierarchy that so ensue. The women are very much caught in the web that is the South, the intricacies of their lives linked to the inherent social structures.

There is a sense that the women have been thrust into an environment that is not complimentary to their quality. Rosa Coldfield is “strong with forty-three years of hate,” against a world that has wronged her (the world of the South) with its male insistence that “if you haven’t got honor and pride, then nothing matters” (Faulkner 279). What Rosa has is emotion, true reaction, feelings, instinct. In the realm of the South, the instinct of emotion and truth is something that runs behind honor and pride, its presence fully realized and known but not given credibility over hierarchy: “Only there is something in you that doesn’t care about honor and pride yet that lives, that even walks backward for a whole year just to live” (279). The inner struggle of the South sets forth a destructive trap that derives from the arbitrarily enforced systems of male creation, especially honor and pride, that are not only based in domination but also in a false sense of hierarchy.

A harsh but true criticism of the South may be found in the words...


... middle of paper ...


...-like symbols are fading--“black once but faded now to that fierce muted metallic green of old peacock feathers”--revealing the length and magnitude of the struggle (142). The contrast is apparent by the mention of the peacock feathers, which in their natural state are lively and radiant. There is an inability for the woman to reconcile with the man because “the indomitable woman-blood ignores the man’s world in which the blood kinsman shows the coverage or cowardice, the folly or lust or fear, for which his fellows praise or crucify him” (123). One must follow the male characteristics to the roots of their southern heritage to acknowledge the full tragic beauty of the female.



Works Cited

Chevalier and Gheerbrant. The Penguin Dictionary of Symbols. New York: Penguin, 1996.

Faulkner, William. Absalom, Absalom! New York: Vintage International, 1990.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

William Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom! Essay

- William Faulkner's "Absalom, Absalom!" When asked by his Canadian roommate, Shreve, to "[t]ell about the South. What's it like there. What do they do there. Why do they live there. Why do they live at all", Quentin Compson chose to tell the story of Colonel Thomas Sutpen (142).The previous summer, Quentin had been summoned by Miss Rosa Coldfield, the sister of Sutpen's wife, to hear the story of how Sutpen destroyed her family and his own. In Miss Rosa's home, he sat "listening, having to listen, to one of the ghosts which had refused to lie still even longer than most had, telling him about old ghost-times"(4)....   [tags: William Faulkner Absalom Essays]

Powerful Essays
1875 words (5.4 pages)

Absalom, Absalom! Essay

- -She is an old spinster (virgin) who has been described as “a ghost” in this novel because she is as all the other women who were living in the time of the civil war and lost their husbands. “Miss Coldfield in the eternal black which she had worn for forty-three years now, whether for sister, father, or nothusband none knew,”(2). She is the only female narrator among this narrative union. She narrates the story of the aggressive life of Thomas Sutpen as the only living link between the past and present....   [tags: Absalom, Absalom! Essays]

Free Essays
827 words (2.4 pages)

How William Faulkner Constructs His Characters in Absalom, Absalom! Essay

- How William Faulkner Constructs His Characters in Absalom, Absalom. Who says what - and how and when - may be the most compelling way William Faulkner constructs his characters in Absalom, Absalom. Storytelling is not just an act in which the saga of the Sutpens is recounted, revised, and even recreated; it is a gesture of self-disclosure. Each revelation about the past provides a glimpse into the present state of the narrating character's mind. The rhetoric, the digressions, the strange (and often obsessive) fixations of each character's account are the products of a range of personalities and view points, unable to agree on a definitive version of the story....   [tags: Absalom, Absalom Literature Narratives Essays]

Powerful Essays
4448 words (12.7 pages)

"Absalom, Absalom!" and "Gone With The Wind" Essay examples

- William Faulkner's classic Absalom, Absalom!, certainly ranks among the gems of twentieth century American literature and indeed is arguably the best Southern novel ever written. Indeed it might well be thought of as a metaphor of the Confederate legacy of the lost cause myth, which so desperately seeks an answer for how such a noble cause, championed by just and honorable men went down in utter collapse and defeat. For among the sorted affairs of the Sutpen clan lie the elements of destruction of Southern society....   [tags: legacy, South, William Faulkner, Margaret Mitchell]

Powerful Essays
1087 words (3.1 pages)

The Sound And The Fury By William Faulkner Essay

- The author of The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner is considered to be one of the greatest and most influential modernist writers of the twentieth century. The Sound and the Fury happens to be one of his most critiqued and studied pieces. Most essays written about the book focus on either the ideas that the mother is egotistical, cold, selfish or that the daughter retrogressive, impure, and soiled. Faulkner blames the decay of the family unit on the daughter Caddy’s virginity and the loss of her purity....   [tags: William Faulkner, Novel, Absalom, Absalom!]

Powerful Essays
1124 words (3.2 pages)

Essay on The Fantasy of Orality in Absalom, Absalom!

-     Four years after the publication of the first edition of Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom!, Wallace Stevens described a modern aesthetic form which necessarily acted against its own status as a (fixed) form1. "What will [temporarily] suffice" in "Modern Poetry" would replace, as the mind's object, what is--or, perhaps more faithfully to the modernist vision, what used to be. The poem of the motion of the mind in time would replace the poem of permanent meaning. The fundamental difference between present and past, the breakdown of static forms, and the necessity of temporal flow all inform Stevens' aesthetic, which works towards a dynamic experience in time, as a substitute for the communicati...   [tags: Absalom Absalom Essays]

Powerful Essays
3066 words (8.8 pages)

The Themes of Faulkner's Absalom! Absalom! Essay

- The Themes of Faulkner's Absalom. Absalom. The theme of Absalom. Absalom. is the connectedness of humanity and the power of illusion vs. truth. In order to really translate these entities to the reader Faulkner uses the form of stream-of-consciousness. In this style of metaphorical writing one thing can lead you to all things, and vice versa. This is the form of the novel. One can compare this work to a gothic novel, to a Greek tragedy, to an entire metaphor for the situation of the South in itself, but the content is mainly giving us a metaphor for the connectedness of humans....   [tags: Absalom! Absalom! Essays]

Powerful Essays
1270 words (3.6 pages)

Faulkner's Condemnation of the South in Absalom, Absalom Essay

- Faulkner's Condemnation of the South in Absalom, Absalom     William Faulkner came from an old, proud, and distinguished Mississippi family, which included a governor, a colonel in the Confederate army, and notable business pioneers.  Through his experiences from growing up in the old South, Faulkner has been able to express the values of the South through his characters. William Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom offers a strong condemnation of the mores and morals of the South.         Faulkner's strong condemnation of the values of the South emanates from the actual story of the Sutpen family whose history must be seen as connected to the history of the South (Bloom 74).  Q...   [tags: Absalom Absalom Essays]

Powerful Essays
1356 words (3.9 pages)

The Narrative Technique of Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom! Essay

- 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....   [tags: Absalom Absalom Essays]

Powerful Essays
2148 words (6.1 pages)

William Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom! Essay example

- William Faulkner's "Absalom, Absalom!" William Faulkner’s novel entitled Absalom, Absalom. is a book which systematically utilizes the concept of discovering the past in the present. Faulkner’s use of the past in the present is pertinent in both the construction of the plot of Absalom, Absalom. as well as the extension of its interpreted meanings. Furthermore, Faulkner’s writing of Absalom, Absalom. appears to have been motivated by the great ills and conflicts of the American South, which was most poignant during the American Civil War, while the title, as well as its implications, was simultaneously conceived in Faulkner’s mind....   [tags: Faulkner Absalom Essays]

Powerful Essays
1431 words (4.1 pages)