What is the depiction of familial relationships in Go Down, Moses?

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thanatassa eNotes educator| Certified Educator

William Faulkner's "Go Down Moses" is a group of related short stories or an episodic novel dealing with the McCaslin family. As in many of Faulkner's works, the southern system of family is inextricably tied with the system of slavery and the ubiquity of misegenation. Uncharacteristically, Native American traditions are invoked in the relationship of the family to the land.

One of the central points about the McCaslin family is that after generations of affairs between masters and slaves, blood and kinship ties are blended across racial boundaries. There are actually two families, one black and one white bearing McCaslin blood, and only in the final chapters are the two brought back into tentative harmony. The question of what it is to be a McCaslin is complicated by the fact that the people who display the most characteristic McCaslin traits are partially black.