William Faulkner's Race Essay

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William Faulkner's Race
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William Faulkner, the eldest son to parents Murry and Maud Butler Falkner, was born in New Albany, Mississippi in 1897. Although Faulkner was not a keen student in high school, which eventually lead to his dropping out before graduation, he was very enthusiastic about undirected learning. After years of studying independently, Faulkner allowed a friend of his family, Phil Stone, to assist him with his academic vocation. This relationship inspired Faulkner and after a short period spent with the Royal Air Force in 1918 he decided to go to university where he began writing and publishing poetry. In 1924 Stone’s financial assistance helped Faulkner publish a
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Oxford provided Faulkner with intimate access to the rich character of the rural south which was conscious of its past and separated from the urban-industrial mainstream that Faulkner found very distracting. He wanted to accurately portray life in the south and he “could not have done otherwise than to include Blacks among the people who inhabit the lands of his novels”(Glissant, pp. 56). Faulkner did not pretend to understand the suffering and complexity of the lives of the black community but, because he grew up witnessing their struggle he was able to represent them in an honest and sometimes brutal fashion. He spent his whole life in the south and, “Blacks lived there … They were servants in the Falkner family or perhaps workers for the railroad company founded by his great grand-father. They were surely mule drivers or farm laborers …”(Urgo and Abadie, pp. 137). It is difficult to say whether or not Faulkner felt sympathy for these people but it is clear through Faulkner’s writing that he believed their story needed to be told.

It is easy to understand why Faulkner included Black characters in his novels, however, the question of how he portrays them still remains. In 1929, inspired by the unavoidable racial intermingling occurring in the south at this time, Faulkner produced one of his greatest works, The Sound and The Fury. In the fourth