Essay about William Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom!

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William Faulkner's "Absalom, Absalom!" When asked by his Canadian roommate, Shreve, to "[t]ell about the South. What's it like there. What do they do there. Why do they live there. Why do they live at all", Quentin Compson chose to tell the story of Colonel Thomas Sutpen (142).The previous summer, Quentin had been summoned by Miss Rosa Coldfield, the sister of Sutpen's wife, to hear the story of how Sutpen destroyed her family and his own. In Miss Rosa's home, he sat "listening, having to listen, to one of the ghosts which had refused to lie still even longer than most had, telling him about old ghost-times"(4). Over the course of that summer, before his arrival at Harvard, Quentin was drawn deep into the story of this "fiend…show more content…
The conflict arose after the Christmas of 1860 when Sutpen informed his son Henry that Charles Bon, one of Henry's classmates, was his half-brother and of mixed racial background. Under these circumstances, Sutpen contended that Judith, his daughter, could not marry Charles Bon. Henry refused to believe this information about the classmate he idolized and, in turn, renounced his father, his family, and "the very roof under which he had been born" (10). He promptly fled Sutpen's Hundred alongside his half-brother and headed for Bon's home in New Orleans. Shortly afterwards, the South renounced the Union and seceded, forming an independent sovereignty and starting the Civil War. During the war, Sutpen's Hundred, like the rest of the South, experienced devastation. The land was torn up because most of the battles were fought on Southern soil and the region, primarily agrarian, struggled to support itself without the help of the industrial North. Sutpen's wife, Ellen, and his daughters, Clytie and Judith, spent the four years of the war scrounging for food and wearing rags. Judith now rode into town "in the made-over dress which all Southern women now wore, in the carriage still but drawn now by a mule, a plow mule, soon the plow mule, and no coachman to drive it either" to tend to the wounded soldiers in the improvised hospital in Jefferson (99). Further, Wash Jones, a man
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