Essay on William Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom

Essay on William Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom

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William Faulkner is the author of Absalom, Absalom!, a Southern novel published in 1936. Faulkner dedicates his writing in Absalom, Absalom! to follow the story of ruthless Thomas Sutpen and his life as he struggles against the suspicion and doubt of the small-town folk that were born and raised in Jefferson, Mississippi. Himself a native-born Mississippian, Faulkner entered the world in September of 1897, and left it in July of 1962 at sixty-four years of age. He was the eldest of four brothers, and the son of parents whose prominent families had been destroyed and leveled to poverty with the advent of the Civil War in America during the 1860s. Faulkner was christened William Cuthbert Falkner after his great-grandfather, Colonel William Faulkner, who achieved relative literary success with his publication of The White Rose of Memphis during the 1880s.
The setting of Absalom, Absalom! is located in the town of Jefferson in the fictitious Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi, where the story of the protagonist, Thomas Sutpen, is relayed to Quentin Compson through various characters that either were directly involved in the events that unfolded, or were privy to friends or relatives with first-hand knowledge of the happenings with the Sutpen family. The actions and motives of Sutpen are explored and expounded upon through a literary technique known as stream of consciousness writing; Faulkner wastes no time with introducing characters and plot in favor of allowing the reader to delve into the woven web of Southern life related in the novel. Through the use of various view points, narration in the form of a flowing stream of consciousness, detailed asides, and immersion in the Southern approach to living and way of life, Faulkn...


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...ild untutored genius of the backwoods.”
Overall, Faulkner masterfully blends several elements of literature with his own personal flair, producing a novel simmering with the life and story of the characters. His round-about narration technique, paired with his stream of consciousness writing, produce a twisted, difficult plot line, complete with complex and eccentric characters, all within the bounds of a single novel.




Works Cited

Millgate, Michael. "The Achievement of William Faulkner." The Achievement of William Faulkner Constable (1966). Rpt. in Contemporary Literary Criticism Select. Detroit: Gale, 2008. Literature Resource Center. Web. 21 Feb. 2012.
Young, Thomas Daniel. "Absalom, Absalom!: Overview." Reference Guide to American Literature. Ed. Jim Kamp. 3rd ed. Detroit: St. James Press, 1994. Literature Resource Center. Web. 21 Feb. 2012.

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