William Faulkner Essay, Research Paper
Faulkner s Works A Breadth of Social Vision
In Faulkner s works, his distinctive achievement was to combine a penetrating grasp of individual consciousness the story behind every brow with a remarkable breadth of social vision. His writings encompassed with many different types of people equal authority aristocrats and poor whites; black people and Indians; old maids and matriarchs; Christ-like scapegoats and pathological murderers; intellectuals and idiots (Standberg 1). Faulkner created a body of work that was mainly American yet reflects the universal values of human life ( William 1). He summarized his life s work in terms of an internal struggle the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself which alone can make good writing because only that is worth writing about.
On one side of that conflict is the ideal self, trying to recognize its potential for love, honor, compassion, pride, and sacrifice. On the other side is the weakness that keeps these ideas from being realized. In Faulkner s works, he portrays his individual protagonist as relating their effort to some unique private symbol of identity (Strandberg 1). In every story written, Faulkner gives his characters some kind of symbolism by
Letting them define the symbols of worth for themselves. Thus, in A Rose for Emily the symbol of Emily s worth is the bridal chamber in the attic in which her mummified
Lover awaits her nightly embrace; in A Justice it is the steamboat that Ikkemotubbe forces his people to haul overland so he can install his bride in a dwelling appropriate to a chieftain; and in Wash the symbol of enhanced worth is the great-grandchild whose imminent birth will fuse Wash s white trash bloodlines with those of the infant s father, Thomas Sutpen. All of these characters used were murderers, which leads to show the symbolism of personal worth.
Faulkner s works are highly complex, just like himself (Blotner 668). The Bear is Faulkner s best-known and most highly regarded story. This story takes place among the wilderness and has a wilderness narrative. The work done in this story symbolizes the destruction of the wilderness (Blotner 676). It also relates the mythic initiation of a young boy into manhood. In this story Faulkner shows a mythic two-toed bear, Old Ben, who has been eluding hunters for years. The hunters have been trying to follow Ben, but not kill him. They bring a dog, named Lion, out to the camp for the young boy to keep. One day, Lion tried to attack Ben and caused Ben to get shot by one of the hunters. In this story, Faulkner compares the awe and majesty of the now-departed wilderness with the civilization that has taken place over the years.
Faulkner borrowed freely from historical and classic mythology, from existentialism, psychology, the Bible, or any of the many books he read (Blotner 669). His style was often verbose, especially if a talkative narrator is speaking or a troubled individual is pouring out thoughts (Blotner 669). Faulkner may even include a sentence
That lasts pages long. Faulkner s philosophy has been difficult for many critics to understand. He believed in God but did not pretend to be a Christian. He borrowed freely from the Bible, yet used as parallels to Christ uncouth characters such as Joe Christmas in Light in August (Blotner 669). Critics in the United States think of his writings as excellent, but it should be known that his work is uneven. Almost everything he writes about is available anywhere, including apprenticeship poems and stories (Blotner 669). Faulkner s assumption that events and situations do attain an objective significance in their common effect makes his work an ideal subject for a study of the relation of literature to social history (Jehlen-Introduction 1).
Self-reflectivity must accompany reconsideration s of such issues as the characterization of women, male-female relationships, and sexual identity in the texts of William Faulkner (Fowler 55). From the very beginning of Faulkner s career, he has been the main target of censure for the allegedly anti-feminine sentiments that pervade much of his fiction (Fowler 144). The subject of Faulkner in relation to women has elicited an outpouring of critical enthusiasm, so complex and problematic is this field of inquiry that as yet there has been little consensus on the most fundamental questions. Some scholars praise Faulkner s sympathetic portrayals of women characters, while some locate a deep-seated strain of misogyny in Faulkner s fiction. As it is evident in his early fiction, Faulkner strives to define woman and the feminine in order to place her in the text-given world that is closest to his own vision (Fowler 253). When he is describing women, Faulkner describes her in abstract impressionistic terms of shapes and colors, which deny her an element of humanity (Fowler 125).
William Faulkner has become known as one of the most important figures in 20th century literature (Holman 52). He has put a big impact on many people and has also left many philosophers and critics with much to think about. Later in his years, he received the Nobel Prize (1949), the National Book Award (1951), and two Pulitzer prizes (1955,1963), which have all lead up to his fame and (Holman 52).