A Rose For Emily and Other Short Stories

Us and the Other: Humanity in William Faulkner's The Bear

Us and the Other: Humanity in William Faulkner's The Bear

William Faulkner's short novel The Bear is a rich story of characters going through rites of passage to understand themselves in the context of the Other. The Other is represented by interrelated characters who come to understand different ways of life. One example of this discovery is the relationship between the characters of the Bear himself and that of Sam Fathers. Both characters are old, isolated individuals with little or no connection to their own species.

Old Ben, the bear, is both a hunted animal and one of the story's main characters. He is an Other to those that hunt him as well as to the other bears. He, like Sam Fathers is an old cripple - the "two-toed bear." Constantly being hunted by the humans he turns into a reclusive beast whose actions against the humans have almost begun to take on a form of insolence. He sometimes walks away, or kills a dog just for fun. In this way he begins to take on a human characteristic which allows Faulkner to contrast him better against the humans as the Other and, as such, an essential element of how the humans view themselves in the world, in nature and in regards to the animals. This, in turn,...

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