Go Down, Moses

Faulkner and Race College

Regarded as the most prominent writer from the South, William Faulkner spent his entire writing career building stories that both speak of human nature and of the nature of his homeland. In Faulkner’s large volume of work, he goes about exploring various themes and ideas, from how to “say” the psyche to the fallacy of language and history. One of the enduring legacies of his writing is his discussion of race and race relations in the South. As slavery is forever entwined with the South’s history it only makes sense that race would be one the main themes Faulkner would tackle. However, Faulkner’s writing and treatment of race relations drastically evolved from the beginning to the end of his career. Race starts at the edge of his first novel, The Sound and the Fury, before moving front and center in Light in August, where Faulkner toys with race labels, expectations, and communal relations using a white character with black blood. From there race continues to stay at the forefront and in Go Down, Moses Faulkner reaches full maturity in the theme by creating black characters and delving into their inner psyche. By doing so he builds empathy for the black characters and directs his writer’s beam of light on the stark racism of the...

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