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|Title: ||Narrative, Identity, and History in Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom!|
|Keywords: ||William Faulkner, Absalom, Absalom!, narrative perspective, racial identity, miscegenation, whiteness studies|
|Issue Date: ||2015-03-11 22:36:09 (UTC+8)|
|Abstract: ||This paper proposes to explore the involuted relationship between the narrative perspective and racial identity in William Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom! (1936).
A highly experimental writer, Faulkner invents an amazing array of narrative techniques and strategies during his most prolific period (1929-1936), in which he published, among other things, his four masterpieces, The Sound and the Fury (1929), As I Lay Dying (1930), Light in August (1932), and Absalom, Absalom! (1936). In Light in August, Faulkner begins to tackle seriously the issue of racial identity and, more specifically, the issue of miscegenation. Miscegenation becomes the predominant thematic concern in his next novel, Absalom, Absalom! Thomas Sutpen’s dream of a dynasty based on the Southern plantation system is shattered when the vexing problem of miscegenation blows up in his face.
Although there are four narrators in the novel—Rosa Coldfield, Mr. Compson, Quentin, and Shreve, it is finally Quentin who assumes the full burden of piecing together a coherent story about the Sutpen myth. Nevertheless, in choosing a white, especially a guilty white, as the main narrator (the other three narrators are also whites, but they are not necessarily guilty whites), Faulkner creates a problem: the voice of the black or the mix-blood is still suppressed or silenced despite Quentin’s guilty conscience. The blacks become apparitions in the novel, but they do not vanish. Their conspicuous “absence” or “invisibility,” paradoxically, creates haunting presence for the whites. Drawing on recent research on whiteness studies, my paper attempts to examine this problem.
|Appears in Collections:||[Graduate Institute & Department of English] Proceeding|
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|Narrative Strategies and Race Issues.doc||Narrative Strategies and Race Issues in Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom!||78Kb||Microsoft Word||144||View/Open|
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