Sutpens white women in W. Faulkners Absalom, Absalom!
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Because the novel itself is full of useful passages that have to be interpreted and questioned, I have decided to limit the secondary literature for this term paper in order to stay close to the book as much as possible. My research in the internet did not turn out to be useful for this term paper. One absolute important aspect which should be kept in mind during entire the novel is the fact that nothing actually is a fact.
Starting with Rosa Coldfield, Faulkner introduces furthermore Mr.
As it would not be enough, two totally different settings move the detailed hints about the plot even more apart from each other:. Every single narrator in Absalom, Absalom! The problem is that none of them has experienced the whole Sutpen saga personally and that they discuss it among each other:. Quentin and Shreve only put together the pieces which seem to be important and interesting for them; Rosa Coldfield was too young and lived during her childhood too far away from the plantation to be totally engaged in the story and Mr.
Compson hands it down from his father to his son Quentin. At the end of Beloved , there is at least a faint hope of the restoration of order on the micro-level of the family and a decidedly bright outlook for the young Denver. Denver, the descendant of the oppressed, finds a source of independence in her newly acquired knowledge of her past and reinvents herself.
Quentin, however, is devastated by the insufferable story of the South, in which he did not participate but for which he nonetheless feels responsible: I am going to have to hear it all again he thought I am going to have to hear it all over again I am already hearing it all over again I am listening to it all over again I shall have to never listen to anything else but this again forever. The two novels taken together tell the story of the American South from complementary sides, from the points of view of the powerful and the powerless, the oppressors and the victims, thus providing a comprehensive social panorama of the 19th-century American South.
In the traditions of Gothic realism and postcolonial Gothic respectively, the South emerges as populated with supernatural beings: slaveholders are portrayed as demons and their victims as a whole range of creatures from the other side — monsters who try to fight oppression, zombies whose souls have been devoured by the oppressive system, ghosts and revenants who return to haunt their wrongdoers and hybrids whose transgressive nature is feared by the oppressors and the oppressed alike. The unexpected effect of these unequivocally Gothic descriptions is, paradoxically, a feeling that by appropriating Gothic conventions Morrison and Faulkner painted a very realistic picture of the 19th-century American South.
Works Cited Baehl, Valerie. Briggs, Julia. Introduction: Down at the Crossroads. Crook, Nora. Denison, Sheri Ann.
Faulkner, William. Absalom, Absalom! Vintage, Giles, Michelle. Grewal, Gurleen. Louisiana State University Press, Kirsch, Elizabeth.
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Kolmerten, Carol A. Introduction: Refusing to Look Away. Kolmerten, et al.
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Morrison, Toni. Plume Books, Smith, Allan Lloyd. Snodgrass, Mary Ellen. Encyclopedia of Gothic Literature. Facts on File, Sundguist, Eric J. Faulkner: The House Divided. John Hopkins University Press, Worrall, David. Whether writers appropriate the Gothic completely or take only some of its elements, it is because of this pronounced adaptability that they see this genre as a convenient vehicle for conveying their messages.
The gender side of the Southern story, as seen and told by Morrison and Faulkner, though neither separable from race nor less important, is beyond the scope of this paper and will not be examined in greater detail. However, it is built by slaves, and the means with which it is furnished are of dubious origin. Swift unnavigable waters, swinging screaming baboons, sleeping snakes, red gums ready for their sweet white blood.
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In a way, he thought, they were right. The more coloredpeople spent their strength trying to convince them how gentle they were, how clever and loving, how human, the more they used themselves up to persuade whites of something Negroes believed could not be questioned, the deeper and more tangled the jungle grew inside. But it wasn't the jungle blacks brought with them to this place from the other livable place. It was the jungle whitefolks planted in them.
And it grew. It spread. In, through and after life, it spread, until it invaded the whites who had made it. Touched them every one. Changed and altered them. Made them bloody, silly, worse than even they wanted to be, so scared were they of the jungle they had made. The screaming baboon lived under their own white skin; the red gums were their own.
The question remains whether Rosa consciously manipulates listeners in order to transfer her bitterness and hatred to them or just expresses her perspective and truly lives in a horror story, in a world populated with demons and ghosts. Like Rosa, Mr. Compson locates the reasons behind the tragic events in the supernatural sphere, but for him it was impersonal destiny that caused the tragedy, in which human participants were only puppets with little power to act of their own volition, while Rosa Coldfield blames the events unequivocally on the demoniac Sutpen. Their different stances may be seen as reflecting the difference in the views of the war, its causes and outcome, of the privileged and subaltern groups.
The constant intertwining of the past and the present and disjointed chronology, which characterize both novels, create an impression of a haunted narrative caught in a vicious circle. Where not one but two pots simmered on the stove; where the lamp burned all night long.
Strangers rested while children tried on their shoes. Messages were left there, for whoever needed them was sure to stop in one day ISSN ; doi: At the beginning, enthusiasm and joy because of the newly attained freedom repressed the memory of the horrors that preceded freedom. As time went by, and free life settled, former slaves realized that the past was still very much alive.
William Faulkner — American novelist. Sound and the Fury.
Joseph Conrad — master mariner and author. The story of Thomas Sutpen and the intricate patterns of other lives involved with his are narrated mainly through Quentin Compson, the grandson of Sutpen's befriender, General Compson. Born to a poor-white family in the West Virginia mountains in , Sutpen runs away at 14 and makes his way to Haiti. There he later marries Eulalia Bon, a planter's daughter, and they have a son, Charles. Discovering his wife's partial black ancestry, Sutpen leaves her and the child, and two years later appears in Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi, with a band of wild Haitian blacks.
When Bon comes home with Henry for Christmas, he falls in love with Judith, but Sutpen forbids their marriage. To Henry he reveals that he is Bon's father but conceals the black background , and Henry reacts by renouncing his birthright and leaving with Bon, and upon the out-break of the Civil War, the two go off to fight.
During the war Ellen dies but the men survive. Intent on begetting an heir and founding a dynasty, Sutpen gets engaged to his sister-in-law Rosa Coldfield, who leaves him when he suggests that they try to have a son before marrying. When he casts off Milly Jones and the child because it is a girl, Wash kills Sutpen with a scythe.