Absalom Absalom A Narrative Perscective Essay, Research Paper
Metropolitan State College of Denver
Absalom, Absalom! ; An Advanced Narrative Technique
Eng. 413. Major Writers: William Faulkner
Friday, December 06, 1996
Guilt should be viewed through the eyes of more than one
individual, southern or otherwise. William Faulkner filters the
narrative, Absalom, Absalom! , through several heads supplying the
reader with a dilution of its representation. Miss Rosa,
frustrated, lonely, mad, is unable to reply her ain inquiries
refering Sutpen? s motive. Mr. Compson sees much of the
immorality and the semblance of romanticism of the immorality that turned
Southern ladies into shades. Charles Bon and Henry Sutpen are
evaluated for their motivations through Quentin Compson and Shreve
McCannon. Quentin effort to hedge his consciousness, Shreve the
foreigner ( with Quentin? s aid ) reconstructs the narrative and
understands the significance of Thomas Sutpen? s life. In the novel
Absalom, Absalom! , a multiple consciousness technique is used to
reevaluate the procedure of historical Reconstruction by the
Chapter one is the scene in which Miss Rosa tells Quentin
about the early yearss in Sutpen? s life. It? s here that Rosa
explains to Quentin why she wanted to see old sign of the zodiac on this
twenty-four hours. She is the 1 storyteller that is unable to see Sutpen
objectively. The first chapter serves as simply an debut
to the history of Sutpen based on what Miss Rosa heard as a kid
and her brief personal experiences.
The narrative of Absalom, Absalom! , can be considered a
coded activity. Faulkner creates the complex narrative get downing
at chapter 2. It ironic that one of Faulkner? s greatest novels
is one in which the writer merely appears as the Teller of the
narrative in one brief subdivision ; The inside informations of the hero? s reaching,
Thomas Sutpen, into Jefferson in chapter 2. Although Faulkner
sets the scene up in each subdivision ( The omniscient storyteller ) , most
of the novel is delivered through a continual flow of talk via
Quentin appears to believe the stuff for the first half of
the chapter 2. The storyteller, throughout the novel, works as a
historiographer. The storytellers seem to move like a theoretical account for readers.
The storyteller really teaches the reader how to take part in
the historical remembrance of Absalom Absalom! The storyteller
besides introduces the reader to things to come. The complexness of
the fresh involves more than merely reading the novel. The reader
must go an nonsubjective scholar as to the history of Mr. Sutpen.
Mr. Compson? s subdivision of chapter two ( 43-58 ) contains words
like? possibly? and? doubtless. ? For illustration: Compson speculates
that Mr. Coldfield? s motive for a little nuptials was? possibly?
parsimoniousness or? possibly? due to the community? s attitude toward his
prospective son-in-law ( 50 ) . The aunt? s? doubtless? : did non
forgive Sutpen for non holding a past and looked at the populace
marrying? likely? as a manner of procuring her niece? s hereafter as a
married woman ( 52 ) . Faulkner uses these qualifiers to rise the
bad nature of the narrative, so that Compson? s battle
in the metahistorical procedure, instead that Sutpen? s history,
becomes the primary focal point ( Connelly 3 ) .
As Mr. Compson continues his presentation of the Sutpen
history, Compson begins to explicate Sutpen on two really different
planes of significance. Sutpen, through the narrative of Mr.
Compson, becomes the tragic hero and a pragmatist ( Duncan 96 ) .
After this, Compson switches his attack to one of more personal
engagement. The beginning of chapter 4, Faulkner displays this
with the usage of phrases like? I believe? or? I imagine? Mr.
Compson begins to utilize a more humanist attack to the relation of
the narrative. Mr. Compson demands Henry? must hold cognize what his
male parent said was true and could non deny it? ( 91 ) . Compson make
premises based on his ain decisions at this clip. The words
? believe? and? imagine? once more reveal for the reader that he/she
must do some of their ain guesss in order to determine
some of Sutpen? s historical facts.
Mr. Compson is making his ain Reconstruction of Sutpen? s
history. Again, Faulkner uses words like? believes? and
? doubtless? to do us understand Compson? s account of the
yesteryear. The reader is now compelled to believe the storyteller.
Compson insists at the terminal of this transition that? Henry must hold
been the 1 who seduced Judith? ( 99 ) . It appears that this
transition is highly of import to Compson? s history. Rather than
merely roll uping the facts and so entering them, the reader now
Begins to recognize the all history is capable to reading.
With the reader get downing to oppugn the historical
Reconstruction of Sutpen? s life, Miss Rosa take over the
narrative in chapter 5. It? s of import to cognize that her
narrative is in italics. The italics signal a interruption from
usually motivated narrative. ? when the storytellers shift to
italics, they show about a quantum spring to the perceptual experience of new
relationships, giving new facts? ( Serole 2 ) . There is now a
desire for the reader and the storyteller to unknot the truth.
Miss Rosa? s subdivision seems to be a dream. The dreamlike qualities
in her remembrance of the narratives may non be true. By the terminal
of Miss Rosa? s narrative subdivision we are examining and hankering to
uncover the character? s motivations and history. Through Miss Rosa,
Faulkner presses the reader to believe that such a dreamlike
quality contains truths. ? The reader merely every bit frequently finds himself
informant to a proairetic sequence that appears absolutely logical
but lacks the coherency of significance, as if he had non been given
the hermeneutic hints requisite to hold oning the purpose of
event and motivation of its narrative? ( Bloom 108 ) .
Chapter 6 Markss the start of Quentin taking over the
narrative of the novel, with Shreve providing information that
finally considers him a storyteller. The chapter trades with
Shreve inquiring Quentin to state him about the South. As Quentin
delivers the narrative, Shreve on occasion interrupts and
summarizes information for the reader. Faulkner now makes us
believe Quentin? s histories of the yesteryear. Quentin? s reading
of the yesteryear is now the focal point of the reader.
As chapter 7 Begins, Quentin turns to Sutpen? s life,
which is really Sutpen? s history of his ain young person. The lone
firsthand relation is mediated by three coevalss of talkers
and hearers. The important presentation is once more
undermined. A unusual deficiency of engagement, contrasting the
foreground prejudices and deformations of Rosa? s and Compson? s earlier
versions, characterizes this subdivision. The creative activity by the
coevalss of mediation and Sutpens? s withdrawal from his ain
experience, which is described as? non stating about himself, He
as stating a narrative? ( Matthews 157 ) .
In Sutpen? s ain life, he is obsessed with the relation
of the? expansive design. ? The wealth, land, and household and which
would revenge his repute. The linking of the Sutpen? s expansive
design, his dynasty, and his pursuit for a historical presence can
be found throughout his narrative. ? Sutpen? s compensatory secret plan,
what he repeatedly calls his & # 8216 ; design & # 8217 ; will be conceived to
guarantee his topographic point on the proper side of the saloon of difference?
( Bloom 117 ) . Thomas Sutpen was convinced that the
excuses he offers for his actions do explicate, and
General Compson tries to lucubrate on Sutpen? s bare narrative, adding
his analysis of Sutpen? s defect, his artlessness ( 240,252 ) .
The following pertinent subdivision of the book begins when Shreve
acquire his opportunity to narrate. Shreve makes givens about Bon? s
artlessness. It is here that Shreve reveals to the reader that Bon
was an instrument of retaliation for his female parent. The attorney is a
character entirely of Shreve? s innovation, which allows him to
explicate the? possibly? s? environing Bon? s find of his
parenthood: ? possibly? he wrote the letters that were the accelerator
for the event to follow ( Krause 156 ) . Quentin and Shreve both
Begin to believe as one at this point. The compelling nature in
portion to the attending to inside informations, such as the attorney? s leger in
which the value of Sutpen? s kids is computed.
Shreve sorts through all sorts of premises. His
geographic expedition of the history of Thomas Sutpen leads the reader to
believe his speculations. Shreve discards inside informations that do non
explain and maintain what seems most capable of lighting the
devastation of Sutpen? s dynasty. Shreve? s doggedness is what
generates an undeniably compelling narrative ( Conelly 9 ) . Shreve
contends: ? possibly she didn? T because the devil would believe she
had, ? Shreve besides states: ? possibly she merely ne’er thought at that place
could be anyone as stopping point to her as that lone child. ? It is here
that Faulkner begins to hold Shreve be a investigator of kinds. If
consistence is achieved, so the decisions are valid because
they follow logic ( Leroy 28 ) .
Shreve? s account is important, but is non the concluding
measure toward explicating Bon? s motivations for slaying. Shreve and
Quentin? s aggregation of informations and cumulative response was likely
true plenty for them. What Bon thought and knew and did during
his alleged wooing of Judith and his effort to derive his
father? s recognition get a new insisting when Shreve
momently ceases speech production ( 333 ) . The storyteller slips Shreve and
Quentin into the functions of Henry and Charles. Shreve and Quentin
believe that they have constructed and are experience Bon and his
Henry had merely taken in pace because he did non yet
believe it even though he knew that it was true & # 8230 ; knew but
still did non believe, who was traveling intentionally to look
upon and turn out to himself that which, so Shreve and Quentin
believed, would be like decease for him to larn. ( 334-335 )
Shreve and Quentin virtually live in Charles and Henry? s
places. This is when Quentin say that he and Shreve are both Mr.
Compson, or on the other manus that Mr. Compson and he may both be
Shreve and that so it may hold been Thomas Sutpen who brought
them all into being. ? Even what we usually name? reported
address? -direct quotation- is the merchandise of an act of
ventriloquy, in a couple of four voices in which Quentin and
Shreve become compounded with Henry and Bon? ( Bloom 119 ) .
Shreve ceased once more. It was merely every bit good, since he had no
hearer. Possibly he was cognizant of it. Then all of a sudden he
had no speaker either, though perchance he was non cognizant of
this. Because now neither of them were at that place. they were
both in Carolina and the clip was 46 old ages ago, and
it was non even four now but compounded still further, since
now both of them were Henry Sutpen and both of them were
Bon compound each of both yet either, smelling the really
fume which had blown and faded off 46 old ages ago for
the camp fires firing in a pine grove, the gaunt and
ragged work forces sitting or lying about them speaking. ( 351 )
Faulkner has carried most of the novel therefore far with
esthesiss such as sight and sound. Faulkner introduces and even
more powerful centripetal trigger, odor. When the reader goes
through Miss Rosa? s subdivision of the novel, the reader is
conditioned to see psychological truth ; these unqualified
experiences are the apogee of that hunt. ? The experience
offered here does non replace and annul the earlier
narrations ; instead, through the new rhetorical manner of
presentation in which? was? has become? is? , Faulkner achieves a
sense of closing. The quest for accounts is complete?
( Conelly 11 ) . It now seems that the past in now being reenacted
by Quentin and Shreve. The voices are Bon, Henry, and Sutpen are
apparent. We here these voices and experience these actions as
taking topographic point in the present and the existent and fanciful collide
( Rollyson 361 ) . The transition now seem to be the truth of history
instead than merely an reading.
The traditional narrative is dropped from being. The
fact, readings, guesss and speculations are now woven
together. It appears that Faulkner? s inquiry of historical
remembrance is non what we right down. It is alternatively a
aggregation of human state of affairs, complex personal relationships,
analytical accomplishments used to retrace the facts and a originative
expression into the yesteryear. The reader doesn? T simply look at the yesteryear,
the reader has to reevaluate the yesteryear. The reader is compelled to
believe when the senses are all used to build and conceive of the
true history, and measure it adequate to see it valid. In
Absalom, Absalom! the reader is compelled to believe the narrative
that unravels before their really ain eyes. The narrative is played
out in forepart of us, and the reader is drawn in easy to the
procedure of understanding the history of Thomas Sutpen. Absalom
Absalom! is non history, but a novel. about the pursuit for
historical cognition ( Connelly 12 ) .
Aswell, Duncan. ? The Puzzling Design of Absalom, Absalom! ?
Bloom, Harold, erectile dysfunction. Absalom, Absalom! Modern Critical
Interpretations. New York: Chelsea. 1987.
Connelly, Don. ? The History and Truth in Absalom, Absalom! ?
Northwestern University, 1991.
Faulkner, William. Absalom, Absalom! New York: Vintage, 1972
Levins, Lynn. ? The Four Narrative Perspectives in Absalom,
Absalom! ? Austin: U of Texas, 1971.
Muhlenfeld, Elizabeth, erectile dysfunction. William Faulkner? s Absalom, Absalom! :
A Critical Casebook. New York: Garland, 1984.
Rollyson, Carl. ? The Re-creation of the Past in Absalom,
Absalom! ? Mississippi Quarterly 29 ( 1976 ) : 361-74
Searle Leroy. ? Opening the Door: Truth in Faulkner? s Absalom,
Absalom! ? Unpublished essay. N.d.