illustrated portrait of American author William Faulkner

William Faulkner

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What is a theme from Faulkner's Nobel Prize Acceptance Speech?

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One theme that comes out of Faulkner's acceptance speech has to do with the human predicament.  Faulkner drives home the point that the critical element that humans possess to address an insecure world is the ability to endure and eventually triumph.  Faulkner details this through invoking the "cursed capacity" of human beings to endure extraordinary amounts of suffering.  This ability is what will enable human beings to sustain through difficult times and find the grounds for victory within these contexts.  Faulkner defines the most essential human context as being one in which humans are left asking the fundamental question as to "When will I be blown up?"  

The challenges obvious in such a context, Faulkner's speech links te speech to the human predicament.  It is here in which the theme of what it means to be a human being is developed.  The ability to endure and eventually triumph is what Faulkner sees as an integral part of human identity.  As Faulkner details the responsibilities of artists in their depiction of what it means to be human, the theme of endurance and triumph becomes an essential part of this equation.

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