Race Relations and Environmental Destruction in William Faulkner's Go Down, Moses

835 WordsFeb 22, 20183 Pages
There is a perverse lie that humans have tricked themselves into believing for generations. Its consequences have proven to be unstoppable, unchangeable, and ultimately catastrophic on a global level. This toxic deception that humankind continues to believe is that the natural world can be conquered and manipulated to serve man’s will. However, this craving for control does not end with Mother Nature, but continues with an insatiable hunger to rule over other human beings. William Faulkner, in his novel Go Down, Moses, explores the racial tensions and disastrous environmental results that arose in the South when humankind, believing in this lie, tried to dominate and capitalize off nature and its fellow man. Faulkner attributes the decline of the American South to its economic exploitations and its racial oppression. In “Touching Race in Go Down, Moses” John T. Matthews argues that these two elements were not mutually exclusive but instead were intertwined through their reliance on one another. He describes how the South’s capitalism depended on racism, first through slavery and then through wage slavery, “Slavery proper took a people for everything; the wage slavery that succeeded it merely robbed them blind” (25). The prospect black tenants had of being able to earn their own income was quickly eradicated once they realized that their meager wages were merely a façade for keeping them as slaves. As tenants they were still exposed to the extreme violence and

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