Animal Diction In Faulkner's Psycho

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Turn off the sound while watching a horror movie. Watch the asinine teenager investigate the door, creaking open by some haunting force. Scared? Probably not. The horror movie genre feeds off of brilliantly unsettling soundtracks to terrify the audience, peeking through their hands as the creature emerges from the hollow darkness behind the girl. Even the great director Alfred Hitchcock alloted much of his movies’ successes to the clever use of the soundtrack, like the screeching violins in the illustrious film, Psycho. Daniel Blumstein, an evolutionary biologist, ascribes the terrifying sound to the fact that this music emulates the restored cries from babies which trigger emotional distress in the surrounding humans. Similar to how music …show more content…
For example, Faulkner describes Abner, the father, as presenting the characteristics of “wolf-like independence” with “latent ravening ferocity”(271). This specific choice of animalizing Abner as a ‘lone wolf’ allows the reader to assume his selfishness and his willingness to cast aside the needs of his family to burn barns. Faulkner’s ability to illustrate Abner as a barbaric persona continues to hint towards his father’s individual quest to torch barns and rebel against the wealthier individuals. Similarly, Carver tells narrator’s wife’s love story as a child where she “was in love with the guy, and he was in love with her, etc”(102). By using this “etc” in the narrator’s voice, Carver leads the audience to believe that the narrator feels uncomfortable outlining a truly romantic story because their pure, fairy-tale love emasculates him. This colloquial shortening of his wife’s life reveals the narrator to be upset by love outside of his own. Moreover, during an intensely emotional scene where Abner recently “struck [his son] with the flat of his hand”, Faulkner describes the strike like one to strike “the two mules at the store…[or] to kill a horse fly”(272). The degrading diction that the son is merely a an unimportant mule to the father forces the reader to despise Abner as a solipsistic man who fails to contain an ounce of …show more content…
For example, Faulkner writes Barn Burning from the perspective of Sarty, Abner’s youngest son, to show that even a close family member abhors the father. Through Sarty’s inner dialogue, Faulkner describes Abner as a “sporadic… Lilliputian mowing machine”(275) that was “cut from tin in the iron folds of the frock coat which had not been made for him”(272). The point of view from the child combined with his inner dialogue influences the readers to villainize Abner more due to the fact that an innocent, loved-one of this man views him as this uncompassionate machine, programed for only destruction. Moreover, the perspective allows for the reader to understand the moral dilemma Sarty faces when he turns over his father since Sarty believed that the new farm could “change him now from what maybe he couldn’t help but be”(273). Faulkner reveals to the audience the love and optimize that Sarty exhibits towards his father in order to display just how dreadful Abner is since his own loving son betrays him in the end. Moreover, Carver, writing from the point of view of the self-centered husband, illustrates a scene where the narrator “flip[s his wife’s] robe open… exposing a juicy thigh”(108-9). This comical scenario causes a sympathetic response to the narrator because he exhibits such cluelessness in an awkward yet innocent way.

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