Black vs. White and New vs. Old in Go Down, Moses Essay

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Black vs. White and New vs. Old in Go Down, Moses In the novel Go Down, Moses, William Faulkner examines the relationship between blacks and whites in the South. His attempt to trace the evolution of the roles and mentalities of whites and blacks from the emancipation to the 1940s focuses on several key transitional figures. In "The Fire and the Hearth," Lucas Beauchamp specifically represents two extremes of pride: in the old people, who were proud of their land and their traditions; and in the new generation, whose pride forced them to break away from the traditions of the South. Lucas' background uniquely shapes him for this role. He represents the general sentiments of both blacks and whites because of his mixed heritage,…show more content…
Have contained, that is. Because I wouldn't have used the second one, he thought. I would have paid. I would have waited for the rope, even the coal oil. I would have paid. So I reckon I aint got old Carother's blood for nothing, after all. Old Carothers, he thought. I needed him and he come and spoke for me. (57) Lucas feels a sense of integrity, almost nobility in himself because of the fact that had the gun not misfired, he would have faced the consequences of having killed Zack Edmonds, rather than killing himself with the second bullet. He believes that restraint would have come from Carothers, who "spoke" for him, by enabling him to try to kill Edmonds. This represents the pride that the whites of the old generation felt in their ancestry, especially in such prominent families as the McCaslins, with glorified patriarchs such as Carothers. Yet Lucas' intent to kill Edmonds, also a descendent of Carothers McCaslin, represents the proud rebellion of the new generation of blacks. Because Edmonds is white and, Lucas believes, has wronged him, Lucas takes action, instead of resigning himself to his situation, as black slaves might have been compelled to do. Lucas takes pride in "old Carothers' blood," yet at the same time he rebels against the control that Carothers and his white descendants have had, and continue to have, over the black people living on

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