This website uses cookies to ensure you have the best experience. Learn more

What Might Have Been In Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom!

3378 words - 14 pages

What Might Have Been in Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom!

Emerging from and dwelling within an all-consuming lamentation, the characters of William Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom! enwrap themselves in a world of hurt wherein they cannot or will not release the past. Each comes to know the tragic ends of lingering among an ever-present past while the here and now fades under fretful shadows of days gone by. As the narrative progresses. the major players in this installment of Faulkner's fictional Yoknapatawpha County grow ever more obsessed by what alternative actions different circumstances might have afforded. Trapped in his/her own notions of "what might have been" (115), Miss Rosa Coldfield's wistful, yet indignant exhortation, the historicized characters of Thomas Sutpen and Miss Rosa remain fixated by Antebellum illusions--he in a desperate effort to gain what he could not, she in bitter remembrance of what had never, but might have been.

... in that barren hall with its naked stair... rising into the dim upper hallway where an echo spoke which was not mine ut rather that of the lost irrevocable might-have-been which haunts all houses, all enclosed walls erected by human hands, not for shelter, not for warmth, but to hide from the world's curious looking and seeing the dark turnings which the ancient young delusions of pride and hope and ambition (ay, and love too) take.

--Miss Rosa p. 109, Absalom, Absalom!, William Faulkner

The novel's effective narrative technique of expansion and contraction via a series of interconnected yet ever more distanced recollections, retellings. and speculative reconstructions of the Sutpen-Coldfield-Yoknapatawpha County past offers various perspectives in its chronicle of what might have been. The analytical focus here will be on Miss Rosa's phrase and its place in the multi-temporal multidimensional scope of the novel, for it is in their desire to realize that "might have been which is more true than truth" (115), which equally exposes the motivation of the characters in Sutpen's ill-fated story, and the narrative depiction of it.

In getting at Miss Rosa's might have been, consider the townspeople's propensity to speculate. In her introductory account of Sutpen, Miss Rosa says, "Anyone could have looked at him once and known that he would be be lying about who and where and why he came" (11). From the start, the townspeople of Jefferson concoct the basest notions of Sutpen's origins and business dealings. Mr. Compson tells how the town ruminated over Sutpen's time away:

[They] pictured him during [his] absence with a handkerchief over his face and the two pistols glinting beneath the candelabra of a steamboat's saloon... [or doing] something performed in the lurking dark of a muddy landing and with a knife from behind. (33)

Though some answers to the town's questions about Sutpen come in time, initial uncertainties and allegations invite the reader to participate in the guesswork as...

Find Another Essay On What Might Have Been in Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom!

“Neither Either”: Narration and the Blurring of the Self in Absalom, Absalom!

1453 words - 6 pages themselves. “It might have been either of them and was in a sense both: both thinking as one, the voice which happened to be speaking the thought only the thinking become audible, vocal; the two of them creating between them, out of the rag-tag and bob-ends of old tales and talking, people who perhaps had never existed at all anywhere, who, shadows, were shadows not of flesh and blood which and lived and died but shadows in turn of what were…shades

What Could Have Been Essay

814 words - 4 pages being able to travel both paths, this is due to the uncertainty of the opportunity that could have been at the end of the other road. Robert had a family he loved and a very good career so he most likely felt in the end that he choose the right road to travel in life. Even toward the end of the poem Robert says, “I shall be telling this with a sigh, Somewhere ages and ages hence: Two roads diverged in a wood and I—I took the one less traveled by

What Could Have Been Yet it Wasn't

759 words - 4 pages them even though they might not need to be cared for anymore. The mother in this poem was never a traditional mother because she terminated her pregnancies; it is odd how the author decided to give the title mother to the speaker even though she had abortions. The speaker is tormented due to the choice she made “I have heard in the voices of the wind the voices of my dim killed children” (“mother” 11). To be placed in a situation where you had the


749 words - 3 pages In the present time, the great revolution of technology has changed the map of the competition in journalism world which has begun to turn into two different aspects; which are: printed newspapers and online newspapers. Recently, printed newspapers are endangered and have almost disappear. However, lot of people believe that the traditional newspaper will never be replaced by a computer screen. This essay will highlight some possible

Do What You Have Been Told

925 words - 4 pages parenting methods are different. Both "Why Chinese Mother Are Superior" and "Two Kinds" have shown that Chinese parents prefer to schedule their children’s spare time. Chinese parents want their children to maximize the value of time by giving their children a lot of practice. They prepare a lot of academic and music-related exercise for their children. In the article “Why Chinese Mothers Are Superior,” Amy Chua doesn’t allow her daughters watch TV and

Explain your understand of what Aboriginal Australians have been seeking in their struggle for rights

1084 words - 5 pages Aboriginal Australians struggle for civil and human rights, self determination, and the ability to establish aboriginal controlled community based organisations have been present in history from word war two to current times. Within these struggles Aboriginal people have been seeking social justice in the way of choice over lifestyle, access education, employment and healthcare free from discrimination. Along with the right to culture, self


1015 words - 5 pages INTRODUCTION Advertising is a form of communication between producers and consumers attained through marketing which persuades, encourages or manipulates the consumer to be drawn to a certain good or service in order to increase recognition and promote sales. In order to successfully promote a good or a service, sellers use advertising techniques that have had to be altered and improved over time as fashion, values and standards of living


1154 words - 5 pages as the text is in a smaller font, which means the viewer would have to study the text in order to find out the information given. The wide use of punctuation is the first thing which stands out, and also creates a certain flow in the reading of the text, making the reader stop at each punctuation and exclamation point giving the information time to sink in. The diverse use of linguistic devises in the text also makes the advert more outstanding

What wrongs have white administrators done to Aborginal people in the past? Have all wrong been righted?

1098 words - 4 pages I had lot of help from teachers and they were heppy with their workPresentation Assignment.What wrongs have white administrators done to Aborginal people in the past? Have all wrong been righted?Even though Hardy wrote his book in 1968, he gives a good definition of how the Aborigines were treated in that time. A very bias 'opinion' based difinition of the treatment of Aborigines:'To this day the Aborigine is treated as less than a man, his

Why did Australia become involved in the war in Iraq and what have been some of the consequences of this?

1065 words - 4 pages this reason to justify the Australian involvement. It is currently open to interpretation to what extent the Iraqis were 'liberated' by the war. On one hand, the dictatorship of Saddam Hussein has been removed, but on the other hand Iraq is still plagued by suicide bombings and other attacks by extremists, which the military forces of the Coalition have been ineffective in stopping. Debate is still raging over the justification America had to go to

Sex and Drugs Have Always Been in the Music

3758 words - 15 pages , and Fred Durst are everyday occurrences, but what the judgmental public and media do not discuss is that these complaints are anything but new.  Songs by the Beatles, the Beach Boys, and the Doors have also been objects of this type of condemnation.  Even as far back as operas by Germany's Richard Wagner in the late 19th century, there exist examples of sexual behavior in music.  Perhaps these scornful antagonists should look into their

Similar Essays

The Narrative Technique Of Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom!

2002 words - 8 pages and he may both be Shreve and that indeed it may have been Thomas Sutpen who brought them all into existence. “Even what we normally call ‘ reported speech'-direct quotation- is the product of an act of ventriloquism, in a duet of four voices in which Quentin and Shreve become compounded with Henry and Bon” (Bloom 119).           Shreve ceased again.  It was just as well, since he had no         listener.  Perhaps he was

In What Way Might Titus Andronicus Have Been Satisfying And Pleasurable To An Elizabethan Audience?

513 words - 2 pages into four several parts and to be bestowed in four several places." (The Trial of Philip Howard, 1589)Titus Andronicus contains historical ideas and motions. Thos is pleasurable for any audience for, as Henry Peacham said:"what can be more be made wise by their example who have trod the path of error and danger before us?" (Arden Shakespeare (Titus Andronicus) Introduction p.16)In act V, scene 2, enjoyment is gained in the form of

The Fantasy Of Orality In Absalom, Absalom!

3062 words - 12 pages     Four years after the publication of the first edition of Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom!, Wallace Stevens described a modern aesthetic form which necessarily acted against its own status as a (fixed) form1. "What will [temporarily] suffice" in "Modern Poetry" would replace, as the mind's object, what is--or, perhaps more faithfully to the modernist vision, what used to be. The poem of the motion of the mind in time would replace the poem of

It Might Have Been Otherwise: Analysis Of "Otherwise" By Jane Kenyon

866 words - 4 pages It Might Have Been Otherwise: Analysis of “Otherwise” by Jane Kenyon Jane Kenyon, the author of “Otherwise”, once said, “The poet's job is to put into words those feelings we all have that are so deep, so important, and yet so difficult to name, to tell the truth in such a beautiful way, that people cannot live without it.” Jane died a few years later after writing this poem, and it was published after her death. “Otherwise” is a meaningful