Faulkner Antiquarianism

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The history of the South has suffered various blows throughout its trajectory. One finds a similar depiction of Southern history in works of Faulkner. The sense of history in Faulkner’s novels is acute, to say the least. In On the Prejudices, Predilections and Firm Beliefs of William Faulkner, Cleanth Brooks observes that “Faulkner’s novels are drenched in history and his most thoughtful characters frequently speculate about its meaning . . . Faulkner’s historical concern is much more than an amiable antiquarianism” (148). It is noteworthy to mention that Faulkner has not sought to romanticize the Southern history but rather presented it as vivaciously brutal. Faulkner who grew up in the aftermath of the Civil War absorbed the Southern myth …show more content…
The newly freed blacks were perceived as a threat—especially black men who could potentially harm the white women. In a bid to safeguard the white society from blacks more stringent laws came into force making the already volatile relations between whites and blacks chaotic. Much of the same paranoia about the racial segregation was present in the twentieth century when Faulkner began his career as a writer. His 1932 novel, Light in August depicts the racial tension by providing a heart wrenching and authentic account of Southern obsession with the issue of race. At the outset, the novel assumes a tone of racial exploitation that ends leaving a bloody trail of violence, resulting in the brutal death of Joe Christmas, its main character. Christmas who is unsure about his racial identity throughout the novel is presented as a wanderer, a man who does not belong to any place since his racial makeup is dubious. The dilemma of Christmas is not only social but psychological too, as he is unable to relate himself to a community that is fanatically concerned about racial purity. Broadly speaking, the identities, at least in the novel are constructed on the basis of …show more content…
In a typical act of remembering, these two types are brought together and a specific memory from one’s life is recalled. These autobiographical memories are the content of the self. They locate us in sociohistorical time, they locate us in our societies and in our social groups, they define the self. In important ways, autobiographical memories allow the self to develop and at the same time they constrain what we can become.

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