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Absalom, Absalom! - Understanding the Story is a Bonus

Uploaded by Quest4Glory on Jun 19, 2005

It is not even hard to summarize William Faulkner's monumental novel "Absalom, Absalom!" in one sentence. In a nutshell it is a mystery: why did Sutpen's son, Henry, kill Charles Bon, his friend and classmate and suitor to his sister, Judith?. But one can't forget it is Faulkner and anything he wrote is just more than simply a mystery or a drama and so on. People read his books not mostly because of the story -- but actually for his narrative, for his writing. Understanding the story is a bonus.

Regarded as one of his most difficult books --and virtually, all his books are difficult -- "Absalom, Absalom!" is one of the most important novels published in the 20 Century in any language. With this book, the writer went beyond what he had done with books like "The Sound and the Fury", "As I lay Dying" and "Light in August". "Absalom, Absalom!" is Faulkner in extreme.

Here he perfects his experience in narrative -- that's why all reader's concentration is not enough. Unintroduced characters pop up, the narrative brings them (namely Charles Bon, Walsh Jones...) as if the reader were familiar with them. That is one of challenges. At first it is not clear who this people are, but once readers keep moving and gathering information those people start to make sense. Narrator also changes without much warning.

With "Absalom, Absalom!" Faulkner also develops more his stream-of- consciousness technique. In this device the inner experience of a character in a scene is contrasted with the scene's outward appearance. This is considered his greatest achievements.

In this novel, the writer tries to exposure the moral crisis that led to the destruction of the South. "Absalom, Absalom!" tells the story of a man Sutpen trying to forge a dynasty. It also is the exploitation of individuals can guide or control their destinies and win an external force or fate. As one characters believes, the protagonist's story is an example of a great and powerful man brought down by a hostile fate.

To tell this battle, Faulkner uses multiple points of view that add or even contradict each other. For some, like Miss Rosa, Sutpen is a demon, the supernatural force of evil. While for Mr Compson he is a courageous and admirable man. Who are we supposed to believe in? Miss Rosa knew him, while Mr Compson's father was the one who...

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Uploaded by:   Quest4Glory

Date:   06/19/2005

Category:   Literature

Length:   2 pages (484 words)

Views:   5021

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