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The Relationship Between The Past And Future In Faulkner´S Literature

2085 words - 8 pages

“The past is not dead. It’s not even past” (Faulkner 1). Within in the pages of what is arguable his best-known book, acclaimed author William Faulkner penned this profound statement. Requiem for a Nun is, at its core an experiment with narrative technique. And much like Faulkner, writers and poets from ancient times used narrative technique in their stories to express the relationship between the past and future and the fluidity between the two. Three shining examples where writers expressed/showcased the relationship between the past and future are The Illiad by Homer, Pythian 4 by Pindar, and Plato’s Symposium. In addition to applying narratological techniques throughout these tales, the withholding of information to build suspense for future events and nested narratives also assist with highlighting the relationship between the past and the future.
As previously mentioned, the use of narratological technique is essential to conveying the relationship between the past and future. Good narratological technique must be done will to ensure that the audience will be able to follow along with the story, but in some cases, it may require careful attention to detail from the audience to understand the narratological levels and patterns within the story before the tale itself will make sense. In the Illiad, an unidentified narrator tells the story of the battle at Troy. The narrator appears to be looking down on the battle from above and can also view Olympus as they occasionally break away from the scenes on the ground to focus on a conversation between various gods. Without any formal transition, the narration may suddenly stop, and a dialogue between to central characters will begin. This happens repeatedly, and so frequently, that it is almost surprising when the narrator picks up the story line again and the audience is transported to another set of characters with a different sub-plot. It is as if the narrator is looking at all the events transpiring with a telescope and can zoom in and out at will and will explain whatever situations or battles intrigue him the most. If there is no action occurring with the major characters, he’ll focus his attention on the gods, or on the homelands of the heroes. Whatever his decision, it is, for the most part, a linear narrative structure and is easy to follow. Pythian 4, on the other hand, is not quite as easy to follow. Pythian 4 which is a victory ode for Arescilas of Cyrene begins with Pindar telling the audience of the time the priestess Medea’s immortal mouth once breathed out on Thera. From this introduction, the audience is transported into the past with a simple transition that states, “Thus she spoke to the spearman Jason’s demigod crew” (Pindar 1). Medea’s prophetic speech continues for some time before we are back in present time with the narrator who then asks, “What caused them to begin their voyage?” Once again, the scene shifts from present day and goes even further in the past. From this...

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