The Unvanquished

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The UnvanquishedThe Unvanquished is a novel in which honor plays a key roll in. Granny, Bayard and Ringo all grow in this book with they key ethic of honor. Bayard and Ringo grow in honor with the help of Granny and Granny finds honor grows in her with the help of both.

Granny has a big hand in helping raise Bayard, the young white son of Colonel John Sartoris, and Ringo, a young black slave of theirs. Granny would watch them as Bayard's father was fighting in the war. She taught them honor by making them live by the bible. No cursing, talking back or lying. This was brought to a test however when the boys shot at a Yankee officer, missing the officer but killing their prize horse. When Granny was confronted by the situation she lied to the Yankee's saying their were no young children living at her house.

This taught the children that even though you should live by the code, there are still situations in life when fibbing will get you out of trouble. Granny grew by this situation because she was forced to show the children that not even she was perfect. Granny still showed honor, only to the children and their lives.

Granny, Bayard and Ringo all got into this business of stealing and selling the horses and mules they stole from the Yankee's back to the Yankee's. This was considered a great sin by Granny although she kept on doing it. She was not only sinning herself but, because she needed the boys help in order to do this, she was also forcing the boys to sin. This in itself being a variable sin for a southern woman. In the end she showed honor by taking the sins onto herself: "I have sinned. I have stolen and I have born false wittiness against my neighbor, though that neighbor was an enemy of my country. And more than that, I have caused these children to sin. I hereby take their sin upon my conscience" (Faulkner 148). She believes she is being a good grandmother by taking on these sins and the boys believe so also. So along with this honor lesson she showed the boys, she showed them how it is not right to steal.

Anytime Granny would go to get horses she would walk in unarmed, knowing they could kill her. Granny does die by trying to get some horses from a very dishonorable man, Ab Snopes, maybe the only character in this novel with no sense of honor. However, Granny walked into this situation, as with all others, with honor. Honor for Colonel Sartoris and for the boys, she just had to get all that money back that she had squandered through the horse dealings. No money was obtained though and as a result Granny was killed.

Bayard and Ringo show honor throughout the entire novel, but it is after the death of their grandmother that, together, they show the most. After she is killed they go to hunt down Ab Snopes with the help of Uncle Buck. They first ran into a suspicious character, Grumby, who, they find out, is also looking for Snopes. However, Grumby tries to harm the group. Bayard seems to question his honor at this time, should he kill a man or not? In the end it comes down to sheer survival. When Bayard shot Grumby he shot him in the back, and though this may not be considered an honorable way to shot a man, it took honor to pursue a man you know may kill you before you even get a shot off.

Ab Snopes was also killed in the same fashion, he was after them but they wanted it more. Ab had killed their grandmother and they had to uphold her honor. After they killed him they took his hand and put in on their grandmothers grave. This showed the honor and respect they had for their grandmother, dead or alive. She had instilled in them the difference between right and wrong and to know when it may be alright to something that others may consider wrong.

One last showing of real honor was when Bayard, who grows the most in honor throughout this novel, deems revenge on the killer of his father. He would not let anyone help him in this voyage. His fathers army and Ringo both asked to help but he turned them down. He went to him without weapon and even let the man shot at him twice before running him out of town. However lucky Bayard was that the man missed hitting him twice at a very short distance, he showed honor with not even taking a gun to defend himself. He knew he might be harmed and even killed but he did not want the family tradition of killing to go on any further. He defended his fathers name in a new way, with love for the common man no matter what he has done. That shows the most honor and courage in the novel.

The only person in this novel who does not show any honor is Ab Snopes. He kills in cold blood and shows no remorse even in the end. He steals from others without consequence, until he is killed by Bayard. He is shown in this novel as a sad, dark and dreary man. Well deserving of his ending.

Honor was shown in this novel throughout. Through good times and through bad. Through times that may be controversial and times that they are cheered on. In the end, although good characters were sacrificed, Bayard and Ringo grew with honor and courage to do the right thing and taught how to figure out on their own just what that may be.