William Faulkner essays

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William Faulkner essays

Faulkner's last novel is a coming-of-age story told as"reminiscence” by a grandfather to his grandson. He tells the story of his own corruption, of succumbing to “non-Virtue,” which concurs with hisfirst steps towards becoming a gentleman. When Lucius's parents were called out of state for a funeral, leaving him, Boon Hogganbeck, Ned McCaslin, and Lucius's Grandfather's new car unsupervised, Lucius quickly devises a series of lies which allow him and Boon to leave town for Memphis largely unsuspected. Ned stows away. They travel through the 1905 Mississippi countryside to Memphis, where Lucius is thrown into the full-grown corruption of the big city. Boon's object in taking the trip was a visit to a brothel. Ned quickly trades Lucius's grandfather's car for a racehorse, and the three become involved in a series of fights, deceits, and gambling. In the end, Lucius must face his sins, and thisdifficulty, how to live with one's own bad acts, and is the main subject of the novel. The acts cannot be forgotten, for to forget them would mean they were wasted. They cannot be remedied or made to go away through punishment, either. They cannot be simply forgiven. To live with one's bad acts makes you a gentleman. If after all the lying and deceiving and disobeying and conniving I had done, all he could do about it was to whip me, then Father was not good enough for me. And if all that I had done was balanced by no more than that shaving strop, then both of us were debased. You see? It was impasse, until Grandfather knocked. The door was not locked, but Grandfather's father had taught him, and he had taught Father, and Father

Had taught me that no door required a lock: the closed door itself was sufficient until you were invited to enter it. But Grandfather didn’t wait, not…