Essay on William Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom!

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William Faulkner's "Absalom, Absalom!"

William Faulkner’s novel entitled Absalom, Absalom! is a book which systematically utilizes the concept of discovering the past in the present. Faulkner’s use of the past in the present is pertinent in both the construction of the plot of Absalom, Absalom! as well as the extension of its interpreted meanings. Furthermore, Faulkner’s writing of Absalom, Absalom! appears to have been motivated by the great ills and conflicts of the American South, which was most poignant during the American Civil War, while the title, as well as its implications, was simultaneously conceived in Faulkner’s mind. The fact that the story of Absalom in the Old Testament and the plot of Absalom, Absalom! are so
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The ability for Faulkner to obtain and convey the truth, or what one should do, does not, however, hinge upon his telling of the story. Instead, Faulkner presents, through his characters, similar inhibitions that existed in the story of Absalom in the Old Testament with the belief that the past in the present will reveal, being compelled separately and individually, truth for the benefit of the projected future.

Within the context of Absalom, Absalom!, the revival of the past into the present is achieved by focusing on Thomas Sutpen’s, or who is Colonel Sutpen’s, deplorable story and how it is incorporated into the lives of those related to or associated with him. When Ms. Rosa Coldfield is relaying her interpretation of the past story of Colonel Sutpen to his friend’s grandson, Quentin, Quentin battles to disassociate himself from the stigmas of the South, specifically the time period of the American Civil war, with which his grandfather, General Compson, was imbued: Then hearing would reconcile and he would seem to listen to two separate Quentins now-the Quentin Compson preparing for Harvard in the South, the deep South dead since 1865 and peopled with garrulous outraged baffled ghosts, listening, having to listen, to one of the ghosts which had refused to lie still even longer than most had, telling him about old
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