Essay on William Faulkner 's The Dust As A Black Man Accused Of Murder

Essay on William Faulkner 's The Dust As A Black Man Accused Of Murder

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Intruder in the Dust by William Faulkner followed the adventures of Chick Malison and his companions as they proved the innocence of Lucas Beauchamp, a black man accused of murder. The novel, first published in 1948, the adapted into film a year later as the fight for racial justice was beginning to strengthen heavily in the United States. Faulkner used Intruder in the Dust as a way to highlight racial injustice and the issues it bore on humanity. Some of the issues that both the book and movie addressed were a white society unable to view blacks as their equals, stereotypes of what black should have been, and standing for injustice despite skin color.
The book and movie began in the town square where white men had gathered to watch Sheriff Hampton bring Lucas into the jail. This scene is very powerful, as the townspeople both white and black had already decided that Lucas was indeed guilty of killing a white man named Vinson Gowrie that was all determined without a trial or any evidence. The movie does a great job of exploring this point during the town square scene, and when Chick arrived home his family who was not present in town during the whole ordeal had also concluded Lucas was guilty too.
Lucas Beauchamp was not the average black person living in the city in which the story was set. Blacks and whites viewed Lucas as an "uppity nigger". When Lucas would come to town for business on the weekends, he would dress in a black suit with a crisp white shirt, pistol on his side and, a gold toothpick in his mouth. He was better- off than the typical black person in this town, and his demeanor always reminded white people of his wealth and property. In the movie, Chick openly made the statement that the Gowries "are going to make ...


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...h meant that no matter what do not stop fighting injustice (Faulkner, 1948, p. 205). Lawyer Stevens along with Chick showed progression through their moral and ethical perspectives. This point was made clearer in the book than the movie, as well. Stevens initially believed that Lucas was guilty along with the town before viewing all of the evidence. Faulkner showed through the character of Stevens and Chick that racial justice and equality for humanity can be learned by all regardless of race or age. The book was able to portray these topics in a more explicit manner than the movie had been able to; perhaps because the film censored some of the issues because it was released during a period of high racial tension in America. William Faulkner did a great job of highlighting those essential lessons throughout Intruder in the Dust, which made this book an awesome read.

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