William Faulkner

William Faulkner is viewed by many as America's greatest writer of prose fiction. He was born in New Albany, Mississippi, where he lived a life filled with good times as well as bad. However, despite bad times he would become known as a poet, a short story writer, and finally one of the greatest contemporary novelists of his time. William Faulkner's accomplishments resulted not only from his love and devotion to writing, but also from family, friends, and certain uncontrollable events. William Faulkner's life is an astonishing accomplishment; however, it is crucial to explore his life prior to his fixated writing career (Mack 1794-1798). In 1905, Faulkner entered the first grade at the tender age of eight, and immediately showed signs of talent. He not only drew an explicitly detailed drawing of a locomotive, but he soon became an honor-roll student. Throughout his early education, he would work conscientiously at reading, spelling, writing, and arithmetic. However, he especially enjoyed drawing. When Faulkner got promoted to the third grade, skipping the second grade, he was asked by his teacher what he wanted to be when he grew up. He replied, "I want to be a writer just like my great granddaddy"(Minter 18). Faulkner took interest in poetry around 1910, but no one in Oxford, Mississippi, could tell him hat to do with his poems. Faulkner, who was very talkative, would always entertain Estelle Oldham by telling her vividly imaginary stories. Eventually, Faulkner grew very fond of Estelle. She became the sole inspirer and recipient of Faulkner's earlier poems. Not long after Faulkner began seeing Estelle regularly, he met a man named Phil Stone who was dating one of Estelle's friends, Katrina. Katrina had told Stone about Faulkner and his poetry. So one afternoon, Stone went to Faulkner's house to get to know him better, and during his visit he received several written verses from Faulkner's poetry. Stone not only became a very close friend of Faulkner's, but also a mentor to the young writer at the beginning of his career. Stone immediately gave the potential poet encouragement, advice, and models for his study of literature (Minter 29). As Faulkner grew older he began to lose interest in his schoolwork and turned his attention to athletics, such as football and baseball, which caused his grades to start to fall. Eventually, he quit both athletics and school altogether. In 1919, his first literary work was acknowledged and published. The poem is a forty-line verse with a French title that acknowledges the influence of the French Symbolists. "From Mallarme he took the title of his first published poem; from Verlaine's 'Le Faune' he took the central device of The Marble Faun"(Minter 36). "The Marble Faun brings Pastoral art and modern aestheticism into a conjunction that not only exposes the weaknesses of pastoral poetry, particularly its artificiality, but also establishes the pertinence of those weaknesses to our understanding of modern aestheticism"(Minter 36). Faulkner enrolled at the University of Mississippi, and did not let his academic years distract him from writing more poems. The Mississippian, the student paper, published "Landing in Luck." The short story, nine pages in length were created directly from his direct experience in the Royal Air Force flight training in 1916. After awhile he began to get tired of school once again. He started cutting classes and finally stopped going. In the summer of 1921, Faulkner decided to take a trip to New York to receive some professional instruction from editors and critics, because Stone was busy with his academic studies. Faulkner stayed in New York and shared an incredibly small apartment with a man named Stark Young (Minter 35-40). During Faulkner's stay in New York, Stone became worried about him and his financial troubles. So Stone immediately went to work on behalf of his friend and became the Assistant District Attorney. "Within a few months, his restlessness had taken him back to Oxford and the most improbable job he would ever hold"(Minter 42). Stone pulled some strings and got Faulkner appointed to the job of postmaster at the university post office. Even as postmaster, Faulkner still found time to write. When Faulkner finished the typescript for Soldier's Pay, he it sent to a publisher who gave him two hundred dollars in advanced pay. He used the money to pay for his trip to Europe. While in Paris, Faulkner began to work on the