Absalom, Absalom

Narrative Voice in William Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom College

“On or about December 1910 human nature changed. All human relations shifted…and when human relations change there is at the same time change in religion, politics, and literature”; thus, Modernism was born (Woolf qtd in Galens 175). Modernism was a movement that pursued a truthful portrayal of the world by focusing on the human experience through the subconscious. William Faulkner’s novel, Absalom, Absalom! is an excellent depiction of Modernism. Through the narrative technique stream-of-consciousness, Faulkner engages specific aspects of Modernism, including allusions and a focus on the past. Faulkner is able to construct the story of Thomas Sutpen’s influence on Jefferson, Mississippi, through this unique narrative structure.

The Modernist movement was a reaction to Realism. Modernists did not believe that the Realists’ methods of writing simply about the actions of everyday life truly depicted the real world. The Modernists claimed that it was “impossible” to depict real life without concentrating on the character’s subconscious, for “the psyche of the narrator will always be affected by unknown forces and thus is never able to capture reality without any kind of bias or alteration. Rather, people should attempt to simply...

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