Faulkner essay

Faulkner essay - Amrhein 1 William Amrhein Diane DeBella...

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Amrhein 1 William Amrhein Diane DeBella WRTG 3020 – Southern Tradition 21 February 2008 The Voice of a Changing South During his esteemed career, William Faulkner acted as a spokesperson for the South, filling the role of its staunchest advocate and harshest critic. The urge to expose the South’s problems has roots in the author’s life; although his family was very traditional, he was exposed to certain things that might have led to his alternative belief structure. While struggling to become a modernist from the old Victorian South, he was writing his stories “A Rose for Emily,” “Dry September,” and “Barn Burning.” In these stories, his criticism focuses on the refusal of the South to let the past be the past, and adopt a more modern way of looking at the world that is not crippled by adherence to tradition. “A Rose for Emily” tells the story of a community that allows clear dysfunctional behavior to continue for an entire lifetime because the members of the community are too busy tip-toeing around the situation, for instance when they cover up the odor. “Dry September” shows how the old southern ideals of racism can cripple the perception of a group, which can turn into a destructive mob because they won’t listen to their own logic. Sarty in “Barn Burning” shows that the only way to stop some behavior from happening is to violate these old norms, thus becoming Faulkner’s ideal character. Although he struggles with the fact that he wants to expose his father because he’s been taught that family loyalty is important, he decides that listening to himself is more important, much like Faulkner did throughout his career. Faulkner relays a clear message that strict obedience to southern tradition and values allows destructive behavior to continue in a community, due to the limiting effect these traditions have
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Amrhein 2 on people’s perception and logic. Faulkner’s aversion to the pre- Civil War South put him in a rather odd place at the time he was writing. Before 1910, the South was in such shambles that there was not enough money to send people to school to learn to write (Howe 3.) After this recovery period, a lot of southern writing started to surface that romanticized about the Old South. The talented southern writers wrote solely about the past because of the disparity of their current situation. As Howe states, “For it was the reality of twentieth century life, in all its coarse provocation, which drove so many southern writers to a regional past that in happier circumstances might have been peacefully neglected (3.)” Faulkner was the only one of his contemporaries to realize that looking back on the time as the glory years was only prolonging the South’s agony, as their ideas before the war were the reason for their suffering. Faulkner’s critical beliefs often reflect through the eyes of a narrator. The narrator in “A
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This note was uploaded on 04/16/2008 for the course WRTG 3020 taught by Professor Lyons,t during the Spring '08 term at Colorado.

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Faulkner essay - Amrhein 1 William Amrhein Diane DeBella...

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