William Faulkner

Faulkner grew up in Mississippi in the beginning of the twentieth century ("William Faulkner" 699). He was the son to Murray C. and Maud Butler Faulkner (Hoffman 13). Growing up in the South in the early 1900?s meant being exposed to harsh racism. He watched the blacks endure unbelievable amounts of cruelty and was amazed at how the blacks conducted themselves with such dignity. He witnessed, first hand, what discrimination is and could not comprehend why this goes on. In many of Faulkner?s works I found that he portrayed blacks as quite,easy-going, well-tempered people. He attempted to show them as heroes. It is my belief that Faulkner writes about the south because that is the subject that has affected his life most.
Faulkner?s "Barn Burning" takes place in the late nineteenth century South. Primarily a story about the relationship between father and son, the story presents itself through the use of symbolism. The most vital sign being fire. The fire is much like the main character in the story, Abner. Both Abner and the fire are uncontrollable and destroy anything in its way, having respect for nothing. Sarty, Abner?s son, dislikes what his father does out of acts of hate and tries to stop it (Faulkner "Barn" 23). He attempts to put out the "fire" inside his father. He is sick of his family?s way of life and is ready for a change no matter what it takes, even if it means going against his own blood. No matter what is done, they can not stop Abner from lashing out and burning buildings. Through his sheer enjoyment of the negative sides of his anger and power, Abner rips his family apart. He does so by forcing his family to put up with the consequences of his actions. In a way, Faulkner writes as a moralist. He demonstrates, through his character Abner, why a reasonable approach to adversity and letdowns is necessary, to avoid allowing one?s problems to get so bad that they can engulf the subject like an inferno. In this story Mrs. DeSpain?s "nigger" acts loyally and tries to save his owner?s animals from the fire that were in the barn. Faulkner?s book "Intruder in the Dusk," is the story of a Negro, Lucas Beauchamp, who is wrongfully accused of murder by many whites in the town of Jefferson Mississippi. Instead of telling everyone that he not the murderer, he actually pretends to be the killer and wishes to be innocently lynched to add his own blood to the disgrace of the south (Hardwick 227). Lucas, or the mass Negro, "once the slave of slave of any white man within range of whose notice he happened to come, now tyrant over the whole countries white conscious" (228). He was never put to death because he was proven innocent by a young white boy named Charles Mallison. This boy had been bothered for years because he had eaten part of Lucas?s supper once. Charles tried to repay the Negro but Lucas wanted nothing in return. The boy thought he had finally repaid Lucas by proving his innocence until he learned that Lucas had given two dollars to the boy?s uncle for saving his life. Here Faulkner shows the humbleness of the black man in the old south. In this novel, Charles comes of age and realizes that the "game" of life is not always fair. Edmund Wilson states, "It is his loyalty to the old Negro that leads to the discovery of evidence that the crime has been committed by someone else; and his emergence, under the stimulus of events, out of boyhood into comparative maturity is as much the subject of the book as the predicament of the Negro" (Edmund 219).
Another story of Faulkner?s that contains the maturing theme and has a Southern setting is "A Rose for Emily." This one, like most of his others, takes place in the southern part of the United States. It takes place after the Civil War during the south?s transition from the "Old South" to the "New South." All we know is that she lives in Jefferson, but we can assume it is in the South for a couple of reasons. The first clue is the style of her house. "It was a big, squarish frame house that had once been white, decorated with cupolas and spires and scrolled balconies in the