Absalom, Absalom! Ideas for Reports and Papers
by William Faulkner

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Ideas for Reports and Papers

(Beacham's Guide to Literature for Young Adults)

1. Define the nature of a legend, and discuss the mythic elements in the novel that help characterize Faulkner's story as a legend.

2. Determine the various ways Faulkner gave his novel historical perspective. What stylistic elements can authors use to bring the past to life?

3. Consider the role women play in Faulkner's story, particularly Rosa, Ellen, and Judith. Do you think these women are exploited by men? Discuss the different kinds of exploitation that occurred in the South during the Civil War era.

4. Create a character who epitomizes the stereotypical image of the "Southern gentleman."

5. Discuss the idea of capitalism and materialism as viewed by the residents of Yoknapatawpha County. Did these ideas prevail during the Civil War era, and do they prevail today?

6. Explain the notion of possession as it fits into the mode of thinking in nineteenth-century Southern society.

7. Exploitation occurs in different forms in Absalom, Absalom! Discuss the exploitation that occurred in the Antebellum South as it applied to blacks, to women, and to the earth.

8. Discuss the importance of how Quentin and Shreve come to the conclusions they do about Sutpen's story. Discuss how they arrive at this conclusion, and illustrate how this process parallels the construction of a literary work of fiction.

9. After reading Absalom, Absalom!, the reader understands that the rift between blacks and whites so permeated Southern culture that miscegenation became a crime worse than incest. Recount the details from the novel, and particularly from Henry's murder of Charles Bon, that support this statement.