William Faulkner was one of the most esteemed writers from the south. He wrote and published many novels, short stories and poems. All his writing s had an impact to the world and to the literary world as well. He left a mark with his writing. This paper seeks to study the themes and meanings in William Faulkner’s books and look into different scopes of the same. His skill and narrative style is the main theme in this paper. The thesis of this paper is to explore the social and moral themes as attributed by Faulkner in his stories and novels.
William Faulkner Biography Information
William Faulkner was born in September 25 in 1897in New Albany, Mississippi and died in 1962. He studied at the Mississippi University and temporarily worked at a book store. Falkner has written many books which attempt to create a saga of his own life. The hosts of characters in his books are from the historic growth and subsequent decadence of the south. His books are created and designed on the model of actual human drama from the historic drama from many decades in the past. Faulkner’s novel had one unique theme’’ the decay of the south as represented by the Sartorius & Compson families plus the emergence of ruthless new comers, who were the Synopses. (Peek, 1999) He was definitely affected by the events of the past in the southern land. This technique brought Faulkner fame and his books received much attention from scholars, philosophers and the population of the south in general. The technique used in Faulkner’s book is the distortion of time by using a monologue. The theme and techniques of his books were especially successful in the book, the sound and the fury (1929) and The Sanctuary
(1931).Faulkner wrote many novels, short stories and poems which were published. Some of his novels include Light in August, Hamlet, the Town, and Requiem for a Nun, sound and the fury, the sanctuary, the Mansion among many others.
Theme and meanings in William Faulkner’s Books
William Faulkner’s was one of the most important writers in the 20th century. Faulkner’s focus in most of his books was to explore the social and moral themes. The theme in all of his books is related to the decay Virginia Woolf of the south as represented by the sortories & Compsons families plus the emergence of ruthless new comers, who were the spnopses. His writing always dealt with looking or searching for meaning, the connection between the present and the past, plus the common social and moral burdens. He used historic attributes from the south and his family as well. His novels were based on a myth of the decayed fragments in relation to civil war, slavery and many other aspects.Irvin Howe, states that Faulkner’s dramatic background is the reason why the language in his novels is tortured, incoherent and forced. In the novel the sound and fury, Faulkner employs narrative styles and a unique techniques known as ‘stream of consciousness’ .These techniques were pioneered by other novelists such as and
James Joyce. This novel is centered on the Campson family who were struggling to deal with the reputation of the family and the dissolution of the same. (Skei, 1999) The first section of the book is characterized by a disjointed narrative style plus frequent chronological leaps, which gives the book a unique effect. The second section of the book focuses on the events leading to the suicide of Quentin Campton. The title of this novel is taken from the Macbeths soliloquy in the 5th act, scene 5 and second last sentence ‘’ and then it is hear no more, it is a tale told by idiots, full of sound and fury signifying nothing’’. The notion of the ‘’ tale told by idiots’’ is obvious in this case and Faulkner uses it in most of his book as a theme. In this book, the narratives displayed are varieties of idiocy. The fourth part of the book emphasis on different themes and events in the Camp son’s family.
In this case, Falkner uses an interweaving and non linear structure in the novel in order to make the synopsis of the novel difficult. He also makes use of italics to indicate points in different sections that have a significant moment in the past or in history. However, these italics have proved to be very confusing and require a specific close reading in the end. Many critics criticized the use of points in the book as an odd and peculiar style. Quentin is the most intelligent but also the most tormented of the Compsons children. This clearly shows Faulkner’s technique in comparison to his past life in Harvard. He walked along the streets of Cambridge contemplating death while remembering the circumstances around the family’s estrangement. He was intelligent but most tormented the same way he depicted Quetin to be. In the second part of the book, Quentin is obsessed with the Candy’s purity and virginity and with the southern ideals .These ideals were ideals of chivalry. This section of the book has such a staggering complexity which is often studied by scholars. (Schreiber, 2001) The third section shows the economic foundation of the Compton’s family after their father’s death. As he (Quentin) supports his siblings, this role makes him bitter and cynical. He has no sensitivity or compassion towards his siblings and ends up blackmailing his sister into making him the sole guardian. He then uses the role to steal form his sister. The theme of this narration is in a linear fashion. In this section the conflict between two predominant traits is seen in the Compton family. The difference emerges between recklessness and sensitivity. Can someone be reckless and sensitive? at the same time? In most of his work or writing, Faulkner used an experimental style with put most of his attention on the diction and Candice. He wrote emotional, subtle, cerebral, gothic or grotesque stories. The characters in the stories mostly included slaves, descendants of slaves, or the poor white, the southern aristocrat and the working southern.
In a particular interview with the Paris review in the year 1956, Faulkner remarks that writers should take on surgery or bricklaying if they are interested in the techniques of surgery and brick laying. He also stated that there was no mechanical way to get ones writing done. In other words, there is no short cut to good writing or excellent narration; one has to follow the long path in order to enjoy good results in writing and narrations. Therefore, a young writer would make a fool of himself if he followed a theme. This simply means that writing is not about following a theme from other written materials but it is based on experience, skill and style. He asserts that writers must teach themselves from their mistakes. (Skei, 1999) The best way to learn is through making mistakes, to fall and rise from mistakes will give the writer glory in his writing and narration. Flanner O’Connor, one of the most esteemed writers from the west, stated that the very presence of Faulkner was, made a big difference in the writer’s field. O’Connor attributed that the difference that was made by Faulkner distinguish between what a writer could do and what they could not do. Faulkner also wrote a collection of short stories which included the barn burning and the knights Gambit (1949) among many others.
An Exploration of the Hamlet by William Faulkner
The Hamlet is one of the ‘snopes’ trilogy which was completed by other books such as the town in 1957 and the mansion in 1959.This novel mainly explores the scopes family in depth and detail. It is center around the bend, where the heirs of the family have migrated to other parts which are unknown. Scopes progresses from being poor to being controversial and dangerous.
On the other hand Ratliff is the moral hero of the novel. In this part of the novel, Faulkner uses the eccentricities of the snoop family to bring out the effect of great comedy especially in the description of scopes and his inclination towards livestock. In the first chapter of the book, Bend introduces lawlessness, the social and the economic background of the settlers. Abner gets mixed up to the incident of barn burning. This is discovered when he has a dispute with de Spain. The dispute is about De Spains expensive French carpet. The second chapter of the book is based on the Eula’s childhood. She is the 16child of the family.
Eula is seen as a symbolic mythological figure. In this chapter of the book, Eula’s and flem’s relationship before marriage is reclaimed; the Ratliff’s knowledge of bend is deeply analyzed. This book is an ironic and classical tragedy. It is based on the pretensions of the south and the great depths of decay after the war and the reconstruction of the south. It informs and narrates the advent and rise of the scopes family the Hamlet is also set in a humble present, it shows comic or laughable yet humble aftermath of the war. (Moreland, 2007) The book also tells the stories of other member of the scopes family. One of the members of this family kills a man and hides the body. One of his cousins arrives and demands a share of the money the murdered man was carrying. Mink did not know that the man was actually carrying money; he then tries to retrieve the money from the dead body.
The dead man’s dogs circle the spot where that nobody lies. The man considers if they should sound a gun shot but are scared that a gunshot would attract the police. This part of the book brought out comical effects. It is clearly seen from the different aspects of this book that Faulkner enjoyed writing his books; he lived in his books while writing. It was like going back the history memory lane while writing. Faulkner continued the stories about the family’s characters a few years later. These characters appeared in the book, the mansion. It is important to note that some of the stories in the Hamlet were published as short stories separately from the book. Faulkner’s great writing is seen in every chapter of this book. He uses a grand style that seems to be amused by the unusual characters form the small town. Faulkner seems to enjoy bringing out and showing off the grand southern traditions slowly crumbling into nothing in the as time passes. This book is a superb insight and look into the dysfunctional southern society psyches. The structure of the book is less and episodic whereas most of the scenes are unbelievable, comical and over the top. This book is not only entertaining but worth reading. This book marks the beginning of the scopes family sag and explores the seedy depths and peculiarities of the town. Faulkner uses theme in an amazing way by mind bending them.
An Exploration of the Barn Burning, a Short Story by William Faulkner
Barn and burning is a short story written by William Faulkner. This story brought Faulkner fame from his time and in the modern times as well. It appeared for the first time in the Harpers in 1939 .This short story has been widely anthologized in many different aspects. This short story tells of the classic conflicts and the influence of the fathers from the past or from history. It also speaks of the vengeance as seen in the third person perspective in the young child that is mentioned in the story. This short story is a prequel to the town, the Hamlet and the Mansion.
These tree novels make up the scopes family saga .The plot of the short story starts as the Sarty, a member of the scopes family is in the process of being driven out of town. The Reason he is being driven out of town is because of burning down his landlord’s barn. The court calls Sarty in to testify and there is no proof that points at this family. However, the scopes family is asked to leave the town. This has a great effect on one member of the family, Abner. He has a great hatred for the society and can’t control his pyromania for the same. The barn burning caused great grief to the Scopes family. In this short story Faulkner uses a very insignificant event that causes great repercussions on the same. The barn burning had a great effect on their father’s legacy. This story came at the mid time of Faulkner’s career as a writer. It consummate control of the devices of the modern times. (Anderson, 2007) These devices include the stream of consciousness narration, the use of extended sentences, use of culturally degenerated settings in the story, use of interrupting clauses and the use of images with extreme violence. However, critics have highly criticized the use of these gestures. They assert that these gestures have disturbed the audiences in the past .He was accused of using excess mannerism and obscurity. However, his depiction of the gestures that he stood accused of, were Faulkner’s way of bringing out the situation that was in the south in the aftermath of the way. The excessive use of violence was used to depict the state of events in the south and represent the social and moral themes from the historic back ground.
William Faulkner wrote unique novels which attempted to create a saga in his own life. The characters in his books are from the historic growth and subsequent decadence of the south.
These books were created and designed on the model of actual human drama and historic drama extending to more than two and a half decades before. The themes used in the novels depicted the emergence of newcomers to the south. Faulkner makes use of unique techniques such as the distortion of time .He employs narrative and styles known as streams of consciousness and uses interweaving & non linear structures in order to make the synopsis of the novels more difficult.
His writing style consummated the control of devices in the modern times such as use of culturally degenerated settings, use of extended sentences and use of interruption clauses among many other devices.