Incest in Faulkner : a metaphor for the fall.
The theme of incest pervades much of the work of William Faulkner. It appears in the early writing and the late, in the Yoknapatawpha books and those outside the cycle; it is found in a variety of different relationships and in all classes of people. The theme of incest in Faulkner, however, is deve...
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|Summary:||The theme of incest pervades much of the work of William Faulkner. It appears in the early writing and the late, in the Yoknapatawpha books and those outside the cycle; it is found in a variety of different relationships and in all classes of people. The theme of incest in Faulkner, however, is developed primarily in the sibling relationship and occurs principally in the first families of Yoknapatawpha County. It receives most emphasis in three major novels: Flags in the Dust, The Sound and the Fury, and Absalom, Absalom! Faulkner's use of incest in essentially Miltonic in concept; it is particularly indebted, I believe, to Paradise Lost. Like Milton, Faulkner conceives of incest as a metaphor for original sin, as the sign or the seal of a Fall. It denotes an arrogance and pride that leads inevitably to a denial of brotherly love; and it signifies a lapse from wholeness, pointing to a disintegration in the individual, the family, and in society. The symbolic implications of incest are strengthened and clarified, moreover, by Faulkner's realistic depiction of the incestuous relationship. In a description of incest which conforms closely to the findings of anthropologists, psychologists, and historians, Faulkner defines the incestuous relationship by the host of related ills that surround it: isolation and alienation, exploitation, narcissism, role violation, the repression of the emotions and their consequent revenge, identity-crisis, a wish to halt time, the thirst for revenge, and a desire for self-sufficiency. It is a depiction of incest that confirms, unquestionably, the dangers and the evils inherent in such a relationship. In the course of the Yoknapatawpha saga, moreover, incest is presented increasingly as a real element in the story, emerging finally in Absalom, Absalom! and Go Down, Moses with its unsavory nature fully revealed. A theme that appears insistently throughout the canon, incest holds great significance for an understanding of Faulkner's works. As a metaphor of the original sin, it serves both as the sign of a Fall and as a portent or warning of further ruin.|
|Physical Description:||vi, 206 pages|
|Bibliography:||Includes bibliographical references (leaves 194-205).|