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William Faulkner

Southern Literature
William Faulkner

Terms to know

Southern literature : (sometimes called the literature of the American South) is defined as American about the Southern United States or by writers from this region.The leading figures of Southern literature are Flannery O’Connor, Katherine Anne Porter ,William Faulkner etc.

William Faulkner

William Faulkner’ life

William Faulkner(1897-1962)was born in New Albany, Mississippi. He attended the University of Mississippi in Oxford before and after his service in the Royal Canadian Air Force in World I. His literary career began in New Orleans where he met Sherwood Anderson, who helped him get his first novel Soldier’s Pay published in 1926. The work which won Faulkner a Nobel Prize in 1950 is often a depiction of life in his fictional Yoknapatawpha County, an imaginative reconstruction of the area adjacent (毗连的 )to Oxford.

His Literary Achievement



Has been considered as one of America’s greatest authors in the 20th century who ranks with Hemingway. A regionalist(local colorist)dealing with his imagery Yoknapatawpha Country. Won the Nobel Prize for the Literature in 1949.

I. Local Colorism
1. Definition ? It is a type of writing that was popular in the late 19th century, particularly among authors in the American South of the particular region in which the story took place. Local color fiction “exploits the speech, dress, mannerisms, habits of thought which are peculiar to a certain region. Local color writing exists primarily for the portrayal of the people and life of a geographical setting” (Holman 295). Local colorism is the detailed representation in prose fiction of the setting, dialect, customs, dress and ways of thinking and feeling which are distinctive of a particular region. 2. Local colorists: Mark Twain, Bret Harte, Harriet Beecher Stowe, Willa Cather, John Steinbeck and William Faulkner.

William Faulkner American Writer 1897-1962
The Nobel Prize in Literature 1949

"for his powerful and artistically unique contribution to the modern American novel"

Terms to know
Stream of consciousness: the continuous flow of sense-perceptions, thoughts, feelings, and memories in the human mind. Multiple points of view: It refers to how characters react differently to the same person or situation.

His Major Works
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Mosquitoes(1927)《蚊群》 Sartoris (1929)《沙多里斯》: the first of Yoknapatawpha saga. The Sound and the Fury (1929)《喧哗与骚动》 As I Lay Dying (1930)《在我弥留之际》 A Rose for Emily (1930) 《献给爱米丽的玫瑰》 Sanctuary (1931)《圣殿》 Light in August (1932)《八月之光》 Absalom, Absalom! (1936)《押沙龙,押沙龙!》 The Hamlet (1940)《小乡村》 Go Down, Moses (1942)《去吧,摩西》 The Reivers (1962)《劫掠者团伙》Pulitzer prize winning work.

The Sound and the Fury
It describes the decay and dwonfall of an old southern aristocratic family, symbolizing the old social order, told from five different points of views. It is a story of deterioration (堕 落) from the past to present.

A Rose for Emily
William Faulkner


1.(mood) Did you find this story depressing?

Uplifting? Disgusting? What is your overall reaction to the story?


2. (writer’s attitude, theme, symbolism) How do you understand the title?


3. (setting, symbolism) Is Emily’s house a symbol?
4. (setting) What does this story tell you about the culture and morals of the American South during that period? 5. (plot) What would happen to Miss Emily’s



house after the townspeople find the body? Who is it?

Plot: Work out Miss Emily Grierson Timeline :
? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ? ?

Miss Emily's funeral is held. Flash back: Miss Emily's father dies, and her taxes are remitted. The tax collectors come to Miss Emily's house. A few years later, Miss Emily's house begins to reek. The smell goes away. Flashback: Miss Emily's father dies and leaves her only the house. Miss Emily refuses to believe he is dead, but eventually realizes it's true. She meets Homer Barron. Later, she buys arsenic from the pharmacy. She buys men's toilet items and clothing. Homer Barron is seen going into her house but not leaving. Emily remains cooped up in her house for a long time. When she emerges, her hair has turned gray. She gives painting lessons. She stops giving painting lessons She completely stops leaving the house. She dies. Her funeral is held. The townspeople find the corpse of a man.


6. (Point of view) Why does the narrator use the pronoun “we”? How does the narrator in "A Rose for Emily" contribute to the plot development?



? ? ? ? ? ? ?

7. Character : what might be the purpose of the characters? Miss Emily Grierson Tobe Homer Barron Miss Emily's Father Colonel Sartoris Judge Stevens Old Lady Wyatt The Cousins the townspeople


7.1. (character) What kind of a woman Miss Emily is? How is she portrayed in the story? Is

it significant that Emily is the last Grierson? Why or why not?

7.2. Miss Emily is a kind of symbol of the Old South, with its outdated ideas of chivalry, formal manners, and tradition. Do you see her also as a victim of those values?

? ? ? ? ? ?

8. What is the theme of the story?

8.1. Isolation /alienation physical and emotional 8.2. Memory and the Past “The past is never dead. It's not even past.” If this story is a memory, whose memory is it? Is Emily trapped by the past? If so, which elements of the past trap her? Does she try to escape the trap?


8.3. Reality / Visions of America The story covers about 74 years, beginning sometime just before the Civil War. The focus, however, is on the periods from about 1894 to 1935.
8.4. Women’s struggle in a patriarchal society “rule of fathers” in modern times, it more generally refers to social systems in which power is primarily held by adult men.

? ?


The Themes of Faulkner’s Novels
1. History and race 2.Deterioration (退化, 堕落) 3.Conflicts between man and environment/society 4.Horror, violence and the abnormal

His Writing Techniques
1. complex plot 2. stream of consciousness 3. multiple points of view 4. violation of chronology 5. “anti-hero”

Analyze the two passages from the perspective of narrative point of view. ? I found myself on Gatsby’s side, and alone.
From the moment I telephoned news of the catastrophe to West Egg Village, every surmise about him, and every practical question, was referred to me…I called up Daisy half an hour after we found him, called her instinctively and without hesitation. But she and Tom had gone away early that afternoon, and taken baggage with them. (The Great Gatsby)


At first we were glad that Miss Emily would have an interest, because the ladies all said, “Of course a Grierson would not think seriously of a Northerner, a day laborer.” But there were still others, older people, who said that even grief could not cause a real lady to forget noblesse oblige—without calling it noblesse oblige. They just said, “Poor Emily. Her kinsfolk should come to her.” (A Rose for Emily)


The narrative point of view adopted by Fitzgerald is “selected omniscient point of view”. The story teller Nick is related to everyone in the novel and is calm and detected observer who is never quick to make judgments. In A Rose for Emily William Faulkner used “multiple points of view” which refers to how characters react differently to the same person or situation. The multiple-perspective viewpoints had provided the writers with more than one way to explain the reality. From Nick’s narration, the readers can get an objective description of the characters and discover what a ruthless and selfish woman Daisy is from her reaction to Gatsby’s death. However, in “A Rose for Emily”, the description of Miss Emily is rather subjective and the readers are engaged in creating order out of fragmentation.

Read the two passages and find out the differences between them in “This Mr. style. termsis of Carraway,” I said.

“Oh” He sounded relived. “This is Klipspringer.” I was relieved too, for that seemed to promise anothr friend at Gatsby’s grave… “The funeral’s tomorrow,” I said. “Three o’clock, here at the house. I wish you’d tell anybody who’d be interested.” … “Well, I’ll certainly. What I called up about is—” “Wait a minute,” I interupted. “How about saying you’ll come?” … “Well, the fact is —the truth of the matter is that I’m staying with some people up here in Greenwich, and they rather expect me to be with them tomorrow. In fact, there’s a sort of picnic or something. Of course I’ll do my very best to get away.” (The Great Gatsby p. 156)


B. It was a big, squarish frame house that had once been white, decorated with cupolas and spires and scrolled balconies in the heavily lightsome style of the seventies, set on what had once been our most select street. But garages and cotton gins had encroached and obliterated even the august names of that neighborhood; only Miss Emily’s house was left, lifting its stubborn and coquettish decay above the cotton wagons and the gasoline pumps—an eyesore among eyesores. (A Rose for Emily)


Fitzgerald was one of the great stylists in American literature. His prose is smooth, sensitive, and completely original in its diction and metaphors. Its simplicity and gracefulness, its skill in manipulating the relation between the general and the specific reveal his consummate artistry. William Faulkner employs exceedingly long, unwieldy sentences. Faulkner said he wrote long sentences for two reasons. First, he was writing with “a foreknowledge of death,” and thus a pressure “to put the whole history of the human heart on the head of a pin.” Second, he explained, “a character in a story at any moment of action is not just himself as he is then, he is all that made him, and the long sentence is an attempt to get his past and possibly his future into the instant in which he does something.”

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