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Absolom absolom

            William Faulkner in his novel, Absalom, Absalom!, uses all of his customary themes and literary devices in his telling of the story. This story, like all his others, takes a look at the south just after the Civil War, which is the which is the Faulkner lived. Faulkner uses a Southern family, the Sutpen's, to base the novel upon. This family, like many of the others which Faulkner writes about is dysfunctional and violent. The Sutpen's are a distinguished family in Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi, but the head of the family Thomas Supten has a hazy past. The plot of this novel is summed up in the first two chapters, and is all about this one family and the events that happen to it. Faulkner, however, narrates this story in way that is unique to his writing, and revolutionary for the time. Although Faulkner sums up the entire plot in a mere fifty-eight pages, the author narrates the story through the perspective of numerous individuals. Quentin, a character who knew only the legend of the Sutpen family, is summoned by a women who tells him the story of the family. Quentin then goes on to hear about this story from numerous other individuals who know of it, and each time he hears a story with different variations. Faulkner is ultimately making a point about the south in his narration of this story. The story is a critique of history, in the sense that it can change depending on who is telling the story. Faulkner expects the reader to participate in restructuring the Sutpen legend, and because of this, understand how biased each narrative, each memory, each history, is to each individual. Faulkner's point is that memory, and especially the ways in which people remember and reinterpret events, can be as malleable and shape-shifting as is the style of this book. Faulkner uses this new way of narration along with a theme of memory to illustrate how history especially that of his beloved south can be misleading, depending on who it is told from.

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