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Absalom, Absalom! - My God, Why Have You Forsaken Me?

Uploaded by Gotskillz on Jul 04, 2004

The novel Absalom Absalom! by William Faulkner is filled with biblical references, from the creation story to Abraham, from David and Goliath to the story of Ham. Faulkner infuses the novel with biblical language, making it impossible to ignore the book's religious undertones. Throughout the novel, one of the central characters Thomas Sutpen is likened to God through his own "plan" and the creation of his homestead, Sutpen's Hundred, which mirrors the creation story in the first chapters of Genesis. An even more striking biblical resemblance, however, is how much Sutpen's first son serves as a Christ-like figure in the book. In the Bible, God sacrifices Jesus for the good of humankind and for the future, so that people will learn from the sacrifice. In Absalom, Absalom!, Sutpen sacrifices his racially mixed son, Charles Bon, by refusing to acknowledge their relationship, in an attempt to preserve his pure white dynasty. Faulkner's word choice repeatedly connects Jesus to Charles Bon, whose name appropriately means "good," particularly in the Christmas scene, in which Henry Sutpen convinces Bon to come home to meet his family. Unbeknownst to Henry however, his family is Bon's family as well. It cannot be an accident that Faulkner had this reunion occur on Christmas, for it's very name contains the word Christ, and the holiday celebrates His birth. This scene marks a type of birth for Bon as well; it is the first time that he is physically seen by members of his long lost family, and the first time that Sutpen sees Bon as a grown man.

The entire recounting of the Christmas scene, told in joint perspective by Quentin and Shreve, is wrought with the images of body and flesh. They describe the imagined perspective of Charles Bon, saying:

"but there, just behind a little, obscured a little by that alien blood - in order that he exist in the face of the man who shaped us [Henry and Charles] both out of that blind chancy darkness which we call the future; there; there; at any moment, second, I shall penetrate by something of will -(254).

Charles Bon is described as an extension of Sutpen, or created " -in the face of the man who shaped -" Bon and Henry. This phrase is alluding to the creation of humans "in the image and likeness of God" (Genesis 1 25-27). Just as God created Jesus in his...

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Uploaded by:   Gotskillz

Date:   07/04/2004

Category:   Literature

Length:   10 pages (2,256 words)

Views:   5238

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