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William Faulkner’s Short Novel, The Bear

1112 words - 4 pages

William Faulkner’s short novel, The Bear

"The Bear" is a short novel in an anthology that begins in
Yoknapatwpha County sometime after the Civil War. The story deals with
loyalty, honor, truth, bravery, courage, fear, nature, history and choices.
Cleanth Brooks best described this story by saying, "Faulkner's villains do not
respect nature and their fear of it has nothing in common with the fear of the
Lord or with awe in the presence of the divine." (Brooks 149)
In the story, we find a bear that has learned to outwit and survive
hunters for years. It wasn't until they took a beast of the wild and tamed it
before they could even come close to the bear. They took a beast of nature to
kill a beast of nature for their own personal pleasure, for sport...a
conversation piece.

When looking into the history aspect of the story, think of human
actions and how People make radical decisions that may affect the rest of
their lives, or even the lives of others, not even giving a second thought to the
consequences. This book deals with a radical decision made by one man that
changed the lives of many.

The author of this story, William Faulkner, was a white southern male
born "September 25, 1897, in New Albany, Mississippi. He died July 6,
1962." (Compton's CD) Faulkner had a way with Christianity, but more with
the nature of man. He believed that man was nature. We can see how this
affects the story with the statement "It was of the men, not white nor black
nor red but men, hunters, with the will and hardihood to endure and the
humility and skill to survive..."(Faulkner 327)

The story begins with Ike and C who are going on a hunting trip to
try to catch Old Ben, the bear. Ike meets up with Sam Fathers who teaches
him how to become one with nature. It wasn't until Ike put his comp and
watch down, getting himself lost that he saw the bear for the first time. He
realized that he had become a part of nature. In the story, Ike had brought a
mongrel dog with him that he had trained to catch the bear. The dog was fast
and fearless. When the dog did find the bear and went after it, Ike would not
shoot it but went after the dog instead. Then Sam Fathers said, "You've done
seed him twice now, with a gun in your hands, This time you couldn't have
missed him." Ike then said, "Neither could you, You had the gun, why didn't
you shoot him?" (Faulkner 345)

In chapter 4 Ike is going through his Grandfathers ledgers and notices
in particular the entry where a slave woman Eunice had drowned herself in
the icy river. It wasn't until he read further that he realized his Grandfather
had gotten Eunice, a slave woman pregnant and then uously having
with his own daughter Tomasina. We can see how loyalty, truth and honor
come in later when Ike hunts down Fonsiba, the Granddaughter of...

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