Course Hero Logo

Go Down, Moses | Study Guide

William Faulkner

Download a PDF to print or study offline.

Study Guide
Cite This Study Guide

How to Cite This Study Guide

quotation mark graphic


Course Hero. "Go Down, Moses Study Guide." Course Hero. 24 Feb. 2018. Web. 27 May 2023. <>.

In text

(Course Hero)



Course Hero. (2018, February 24). Go Down, Moses Study Guide. In Course Hero. Retrieved May 27, 2023, from

In text

(Course Hero, 2018)



Course Hero. "Go Down, Moses Study Guide." February 24, 2018. Accessed May 27, 2023.


Course Hero, "Go Down, Moses Study Guide," February 24, 2018, accessed May 27, 2023,


Go Down, Moses infographic thumbnail


William Faulkner

Year Published



Short Stories


Drama, Fiction

At a Glance

Go Down, Moses is traditionally classified as a collection of short stories in that each section of the book presents a complete story that can exist independently of the other sections. However, Faulkner regarded Go Down, Moses as a novel because it relates the long and complex history of the descendants of Carothers McCaslin, the owner of a plantation near Jefferson in Faulkner's fictional Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi. The stories are connected in that most of the characters are related to one another, and taken as a whole, the text presents a picture of the entire McCaslin family—both the "official" white descendants of Carothers McCaslin and his "unofficial" black descendants through his liaisons with two enslaved women. Although Carothers McCaslin does not appear directly in any of the stories, both sides of his family must cope with the enduring consequences of his legacy.

Perspective and Narrator

Each story in Go Down, Moses is told by a third-person narrator.


The stories in Go Down, Moses are written in the past tense.

About the Title

The title Go Down, Moses alludes to a traditional Christian hymn dating back to at least 1861. Popular among the enslaved populations of the American South, the hymn recalls the biblical story of the prophet Moses, who delivered the people of Israel from slavery in Egypt. The verses detail the suffering of the Israelites, mirroring the suffering of American slaves in relation to the white population of the South: "Go Down, Moses / Way down in Egypt land / Tell all pharaohs to / Let my people go!"


This study guide and infographic for William Faulkner's Go Down, Moses offer summary and analysis on themes, symbols, and other literary devices found in the text. Explore Course Hero's library of literature materials, including documents and Q&A pairs.

Buy this book from
Cite This Study Guide

information icon Have study documents to share about Go Down, Moses? Upload them to earn free Course Hero access!