William Faulkner American Literature Analysis
Faulkner’s works, like their creator, are highly complex. His style has caused much difficulty for readers, especially if The Sound and the Fury, Light in August, As I Lay Dying, or Absalom, Absalom! is the reader’s introduction to Faulkner. These best of his earlier Yoknapatawpha novels vary in structure but are alike in one point—an obscurity that results from unusual, complicated organization and presentation. The Sound and the Fury has multiple narrators, extended streams of consciousness, and subtle time shifts. It is divided into four, at times seemingly disconnected, parts. Light in August has three narratives interwoven, with past and present intermixed. As I Lay Dying is a series of numerous brief chapters, each a stream of consciousness, usually but not always by a member of the Bundren family. Absalom, Absalom! is told using various levels of time and narrator viewpoint.
Faulkner himself and some of his major critics have recommended The Unvanquished as the best starting place. In spite of multiple narratives, real and metaphorical, there is one narrator: Bayard Sartoris, an old man recalling experiences of his early life during the American Civil War. Several viewpoints are presented, but all by him. Time is interrupted by an occasional flashback or digression, but generally the thrust is chronological, once the digressive nature of the entire narrative is...
(The entire section is 5130 words.)
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