Absalom Absalom A narrative Perscective. On William Faulkner

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Absalom, Absalom!; An Innovative Narrative Technique

Eng. 413. Major Authors: William Faulkner

Friday, December 06, 1996

Guilt should be viewed through the eyes of more than one

person, southern or otherwise. William Faulkner filters the

story, Absalom, Absalom!, through several minds providing the

reader with a dilution of its representation. Miss Rosa,

frustrated, lonely, mad, is unable to answer her own questions

concerning Sutpen's motivation. Mr. Compson sees much of the

evil and the illusion of romanticism of the evil that turned

Southern ladies into ghosts. Charles Bon and Henry Sutpen are

evaluated for their motives through Quentin Compson and Shreve

McCannon. Quentin attempt to evade his awareness, Shreve the

outsider (with Quentin's help) reconstructs the story and

understands the meaning of Thomas Sutpen's life. In the novel

Absalom, Absalom!, a multiple consciousness technique is used to

reassess the process of historical reconstruction by the


Chapter one is the scene in which Miss Rosa tells Quentin

about the early days in Sutpen's life.

It's here that Rosa

explains to Quentin why she wanted to visit old mansion on this

day. She is the one narrator that is unable to view Sutpen

objectively. The first chapter serves as merely an introduction

to the history of Sutpen based on what Miss Rosa heard as a child

and her brief personal experiences.

The narration of Absalom, Absalom!, can be considered a

coded activity. Faulkner creates the complex narration beginning

at chapter 2. It ironic that one of Faulkner's greatest novels

is one in which the author only appears as the teller of the

story in one brief section; The details of the hero's arrival,

Thomas Sutpen, into Jefferson in chapter 2. Although Faulkner

sets the scene up in each section (The omniscient narrator), most

of the novel is delivered through a continual...