Bayard’s Search for Subjective Truth in Faulkner’s The Unvanquished

Bayard’s Search for Subjective Truth in Faulkner’s The Unvanquished

Length: 526 words (1.5 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Excellent

Open Document

Essay Preview

More ↓
Bayard’s Search for Subjective Truth in Faulkner’s The Unvanquished


Unlike Sarty Snopes of “Barn Burning”, the narrator of The Unvanquished leads a somewhat existential life. Sarty takes an objectively moral stance when abandoning his abusive father. Conversely, Bayard Sartoris is faced with the “ambiguity and absurdity of the human situation” and is on a search for subjective truth (Kierkegaard). Though he acts on behalf of his family, he does things that he knows can be considered wrong. Additionally, he is asked to believe new information and take in experiences that are foreign to him. For him, it seems that “existence precedes essence” in his childhood. During this journey, Bayard describes instances in which his apprehension of information is primary, as is his need for empirical evidence.

As he is about to run headlong into the first Union regiment that he has ever seen, Bayard observes, “There is a limit to what a child can accept, assimilate; not to what it can believe because a child can believe anything, given time, but to what it can accept, a limit in time, in the very time which nourishes the believing of the incredible” (66). When he is given visible proof of the Union Army, it is overwhelming. The regiment that he encounters becomes tangible proof of the war.

Later in the book, he again reflects on the war. He catalogs the proofs that he has been given — injured and half-starved countrymen — but persists in his existential doubt. He notes, “So we knew a war existed; we had to believe that, just as we had to believe that the name for the sort of life we had led for the last three years was hardship and suffering. Yet we had no proof of it. In fact, we had even less than no proof; we had had thrust into our faces the very shabby and unavoidable obverse of proof…” (94). Because he has not seen the battles, he has difficulty acknowledging the reality of war.

Even as Bayard is faced with the idea of war, he recalls of himself and Ringo that, “What counted was, what one of us had done or seen that the other had not, and ever since that Christmas I had been ahead of Ringo because I had seen a railroad, a locomotive” (81). In the midst of an already chaotic situation, the childlike fascination with the locomotive is a bit illogical.

How to Cite this Page

MLA Citation:
"Bayard’s Search for Subjective Truth in Faulkner’s The Unvanquished." 123HelpMe.com. 18 Jun 2019
    <https://www.123helpme.com/view.asp?id=25664>.

Need Writing Help?

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

Check your paper »

The Truth Project: The Search of Truth Essays

- Why do we believe what we believe. This question is rarely asked of anyone directly. We live in a culture where the “why” is superseded by the “what”. “What do you believe?” has always been a popular topic for discussion. However, when a believer is no longer faced with the ‘what’ and instead challenged by a ‘why,’ lines begin to blur and minds start to blank. What can we possibly offer in response and from where can we derive our answers. Isaiah 6 gives us the solution: we must gaze into the face of God....   [tags: culture, why, what, jounrey, exposes]

Research Papers
1287 words (3.7 pages)

Essay on Truth Is The Pursuit Of Truth

- Truth: Scientific Fact, Philosophical Perception, or Simple Fiction Humans are in the pursuit of truth within their every endeavour, however, truth evades us. We search for meaning in every relationship, every happening in our lives, every worldly event, for each and every waking moment. We search. Truth, as defined by Wikipedia is, most often used to mean being in accord with fact or reality, or fidelity to an original or to a standard or ideal. Truth may also often be used in modern contexts to refer to an idea of ‘truth to self,’ or authenticity” (Wikipedia, 2015)....   [tags: Truth, Religion, Epistemology, Belief]

Research Papers
1365 words (3.9 pages)

Oedipus Rex: The Search for Truth Essay

- THESIS STATEMENT Throughout Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex, Oedipus frantically searched for the truth, but due to his pride, remained blind to his own connection to the dire plague that infected Thebes. PURPOSE STATEMENT Through critical analysis of Sophocles’ Oedipus Rex, the work Oedipus Rex, and other research it is affirmed that Oedipus searched for the truth but due to his pride could not see his connection to the plague that infected Thebes. INTRODUCTION Everyone desires to know the truth. It provides peace of mind, reassurance, closure, and a knowledge of what actually matters and what is superficial....   [tags: Literary Analysis ]

Research Papers
2217 words (6.3 pages)

Essay about Explaining Subjective Consciousness

- Explaining Subjective Consciousness I often ask myself, why me. There are billions of brains on this planet alone, and no one knows how many sentient beings exist in the galaxy, or in the entire universe. I share 99.8% of my DNA with chimps (if I remember well), and even more with any human on the planet. Granted, there is no brain that works _exactly_ like mine. But the differences seem trivial. Why must I be witness to the data processing that occurs inside this particular brain. The problem has been obscured for a long time, because no two people are exactly alike....   [tags: Subjective Consciousness Paradox Essays]

Research Papers
4310 words (12.3 pages)

Essay about The Search for Truth or Meaning in James Joyce's Dubliners

- The Search for Truth or Meaning in Dubliners     Several of James Joyce's stories in Dubliners can read as lamentations on a frustrating inability of man to represent meaning by external means, including written word. When characters in "Araby," "Counterparts," and "A Painful Case" attempt to represent or signify themselves, other characters, or abstract spiritual entities with or through words, they not only fail, but end up emotionally ruined. Moreover, the inconclusive endings of the three stories correspond with the fates of their characters....   [tags: Dubliners Essays]

Research Papers
1799 words (5.1 pages)

Photojournalism is Subjective NOT Objective Essay examples

- Photojournalism has long been considered to have a tradition of reflecting the truth. It has been a major element in newspaper and magazine reporting since the early 20th century. It was probably only about a century ago when people believed that what they saw in photographs was factual. This impact of visual image as seen by the viewer was based on the old belief that "the camera never lies". Wheeler says that photojournalism has "acquired a special standing in the public mind, a confidence that photo can reflect reality in a uniquely compelling and credible way." (Wheeler T, 2002, p....   [tags: Photography Journalism]

Research Papers
1486 words (4.2 pages)

College Admissions Essay - The Search for Truth

- College Admissions Essay - The Search for Truth Whoever said that we were supposed to take everything on faith. Not God, that's for certain. He's always told us to try it for ourselves, and see if it makes our lives better. I'll never forget the day my high school chemistry teacher had a nervous breakdown because he tried to understand a universe where there was no God, whatsoever. (That is true, to my knowledge, by the way.) I've always been surprised how much faith people put in science, though....   [tags: College Admissions Essays]

Free Essays
348 words (1 pages)

Essay about The Search for Truth in A Tale of Two Cities

- The Search for Truth in A Tale of Two Cities           "Since before the ancient Greeks, mankind has striven to discern and define truth, a noble if somewhat arduous task"( Swisher 118). Even modern society, despite losing so many of the old, "prudish" morals of preceding generations, still holds truth as one of the greatest virtues and to find truth in life, one of the greatest accomplishments. Authors such as Charles Dickens reflect this great desire to seek and find truth, using many varying mediums to express their opinions or discoveries....   [tags: Tale Two Cities Essays]

Research Papers
2656 words (7.6 pages)

Essay on The Truth

- The “Truth”      Every thought that ever entered our mind is a consequence of our struggle to reach out for the truth. Since our early age we have been thought to believe that there has to be right and wrong and we continuously searched for the “correct” answer. Unlike school’s multiple choice tests, life thought us that there is more than one correct answer. At one point we learned that some questions don’t have answers at all, or they are way too complex for our mind to understand them. Yet we never stopped struggling to reach out for the ultimate truth....   [tags: Definition True Truth Philosophy Essays]

Research Papers
1282 words (3.7 pages)

The Search Essay example

- The Search      I used to work for the F.B.I., in the Portland office. It was my childhood dream to be the one who gets the bad guy. My fiftieth birthday was in just three months. I had a wife and three children, still do, and the same job I'd had since my graduation from Quantico. We were living just outside Portland. My oldest son, John jr., was in his third year at Washington. The twins were high school seniors at this time and my pride and joy, daddy's little girls. Carolyn and I had celebrated our twenty- fifth anniversary, that's the silver one I think, the previous Thursday night....   [tags: Creative Writing Search and Rescue Essays]

Research Papers
4126 words (11.8 pages)

Related Searches

Bayard and Ringo are still children, and they retain their thirst for experience, regardless of the circumstances.

Consistently, Bayard acts on behalf of his family and, by extension, the Rebel Army. He and Ringo shoot at a Yankee, help secure a regiment of soldiers, and aid in the sale of stolen mules. Granny continues to pray for the forgiveness of their sins and dutifully washes cursing mouths with soap bubbles. Even so, Bayard does not acknowledge his actions as sinful. He is acting in his own best interest and believes his actions are morally correct. Though his thinking does not reflect the nagging angst and doubt of some other existential protagonists, he practices subjective morality and lives in an uncertain and often absurd world.

Return to 123HelpMe.com