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The Devolution Of Mankind Essay

1118 words - 4 pages

It is humankind's dearest wish to be separate and elevated from nature, engendering the belief that the human species is superior to others. This desire permeates through every part of culture and society. It is illustrated in art, poetry, films, literature, and even forms a basis for the most widely spread religious beliefs in America. Often when we do not match up to this perception of ourselves we try to hide the truth in order to preserve our illusions. It is vital for people to realize that humans are a composition of nature and when environmental conditions turn adverse they are also affected. In "Dry September" by William Faulkner the inviable setting causes the breakdown of the human values while the visceral will of survival produces impetus in people to destroy what they believe they fear.The story tells an account of the abduction and murder of an African American by a group of male townspeople. The victim, who was thought to have raped a white woman, is more than likely innocent, however few people assess the evidence or take into account the personal testimonials of the dissenting barber. A former officer, McLendon, leads the group out to the factory in order to capture and "punish" the Negro. The barber is the only constant voice of reason throughout the work, and even he reacts violently when inadvertently struck by the victim. While driving to the place where the murder is blatantly going to take place the barber jumps out of the moving car, believing he can do nothing to save the unfortunate victim and not wanting to be part or witness to the murder. The author describes the woman who supposedly was raped as idle and prone to "furious unreality." After the murder she goes out with her friends to the movies, enjoying the new attention that the situation has brought her, but at the movies her happy demeanor gives way to screaming neurotic laughter. The last scene is at McLendon's house where he physically assaults his wife and goes to bed.Faulkner's essay is set in the early 19th century, presumably in the south. The tale begins during a severe drought in the south, where ever living thing seems to be wounded and dieing, "Through the bloody September twilight, aftermath of sixty two days"¦" The first sentence also mentions the time of day as twilight symbolizing the death and decay that will come with the night's darkness. As the story progresses it is evident from the author's use of diction clearly portrays nature as dieing or dead: "reverberant in the dead air", "in the lifeless air", "The day had died." Dust is the most prominent symbol, used ubiquitously, Faulkner paints it so thick that people cannot see far. "The day had died in a pall of dust" "the darkened square, shrouded by the spent dust" "The second car dropped back out of the dust" dust is a conspicuous metaphor for the clouded and illogical mental state of the people in the story. Metaphorically...

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