LITERARY TREND AND AUTHOR CANON
Faulkner was known for the novels and short stories set in the fictional Yoknapatawpha County, based on the real Lafayette County, Mississippi.
Modernist fiction characterised by:
ABSALOM, ABSALOM! (published 1936)
The novel has a permanent sense of dread, with frightening moments and characters who behave obsessively. The central gothic element is Sutpen’s Hundred, the mannor on which each character projects his or her feelings (it’s perceived as a dream, a nightmare, a person, and a haven). The house was built by slaves, with death and suffering, so it has something like an evil spirit.
The main character, Sutpen, loses everything and dies a violent death. Although he is an unlikeable person, his tragic flaw is arrogance, which will lead to his death.
|Sutpen’s family history (told by people in the other periods)||Before, during, and after the Civil War||Jefferson, Mississippi Yoknapatawpha Haiti|
|Rosa and Quentin||September 1909||Yoknapatawpha|
|Quentin and Shreve||January 1910||Harvard|
Sutpen’s family history has a very complicated genealogy which includes incest and blatant racism. Furthermore, the conflicts between children and parents and between brothers add to the tragedy of the family, which the main character uses to build his dynasty, only to find a violent ending.
Related theme: the home. Many characters in the novel are seeking a place to live and a sense of belonging, a source of food, and a source of support. Sutpen believes that by building a huge mansion he can create a feeling of home. He builds the house but never manages to turn it into a home because he is egotistical. The grand house ends up being destroyed because it was never invested with sentimental value.
The story of Thomas Sutpen, a man who tries to build a dynasty in the American South is told by several characters, including his former fiancée and the grandson of one of his friends. An ambitious man who lacks morals, he leaves his first wife and child when he finds out that his wife is of African descent. Years later, after he becomes a rich plantation owner, his repudiated son befriends his son from his second marriage and becomes his daughter’s fiancée. The two half-brothers fight together in the war, but, when the younger one finds out that the other is half-African, he kills him. The father loses his fortune and family and tries to re-establish his dynasty by having a child with a much younger woman. He is murdered by her grandfather. Years later, Sutpen’s daughter by a slave woman sets fire to the mansion, killing herself and Henry, the son who had murdered his half-brother.
Characters presented in the analysis of the literary fragment should be adapted to the fragment itself.
POINT OF VIEW
“It was a summer of wisteria. The twilight was full of it and of the smell of father’s cigar as they sat on the front gallery after supper until it would be time for Quentin to start, while in the deep shaggy lawn below the veranda the fireflies blew and drifted in soft random – the odor, the scent, which five months later Mr. Compson’s letter would carry up from Mississippi and over the long iron New England snow and into Quentin’s sitting room at Harvard.”