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February 27, 1955 - Image 15

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Text
Publication:
Michigan Daily, 1955-02-27

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SUNDAY, FEBRUARY 27, 1955

THE MICHIGAN DAILY

PAGE 9

SOUTHERN GOTHIC:
Realism in Faulkner's ythical Pastures
ed-even today-by which Main- "Now what?" Gavin asked. higher tribute than this to be paid,
my installed him in his first diap- "What are you waiting for now?" for when people are embarrassed
er. "My receipt," Lucas said. they usually either laugh or cry.
SOME of Faulkner's simplest And the irony lies in the fact William Faulkner has roamed
writing has been his greatest. that in this novel, in which the Southern pastures of Yoknap-
s And - although he would, no Faulkner seems to have used the atawha with ears and eyes open,
doubt, choke on a double jigger of least of his turgid symbolism, he and quill and paper in hand. And
his favorite bourbon-were he ev- has come the closest to things in so doing he has not missed the
er to become aware of it; the fact symbolical. For it was not the man universal triumph and tragedy of
remains that one of the finest behind the' white face that Lucas man.
books he ever wrote, certainly the mistrusted, rather, it was the In the legend there is a parable,
finest from a social standpoint, is white face. And, of course it was and in the myth there is a hope,
"Intruder In The Dust." the black face, and not the man Whatever strange drives lie in the
Few characters in fiction have behind it, from whom Gavin would emotions of man; drives that
been endowed with a greater dig- not ask payment for his services. compel him to court disaster and
nity than that given, by Faulkner, destruction for the magical mys-
to Lucas Beauchamp. And the end- AND Faulkner is a purveyor of tery of death, these are neither
ing scene of this book explains, humor, too. It is mostly a fully understood nor known.
perhaps better than anything ev- bawdyhouse, almost primitive kind But it is these very emotional
er written, the basic human emo- of humor with which he does best qualities that put the human crea-
tion that pervades the race prob- when dealing with the Snopes in ture apart from the monkey and
lem of the Southern United States. the Yoknapatawha legend. the fishing worm; that give him a
Lucas Beauchamp, the old Ne- There is the incident in "Sanc- soul, and the ability to love and
gr, is standing in the office of his tusry" when the two Snopes boys to care. Love, and its components
lawyer, Gavin Stevens. Through stayed several weeks in a Mem- of compassion and mercy, have
the efforts of Gavin's services as phis "rooming house" not knowing been the instrumental factors in
the defense attorney, Lucas has it was a notorious bordello. And teaching the human race-includ-
just been acquitted of a murder the bedroom, bridge, and trial ing the Sartoris and Snopes fam-
rap. scenes in "Spotted Horses" are iles-to smile.
Lucas asks how much his bill is enough to create tears with laugh- And maybe this, above all things
for Gavin's services, and Gavin ter, else was what Mr. Faulkner tried
replies that he didn't do anything.Ta to tell us with the fruits of his
Lucas then wants to pay the ex- There is, also, another type f writing toil.
penses and finally, to get rid of humor-an ironic, subtle kind- He almost summed it up in the
-Daily-ohnirt him, Gavin offers to accept two that is almost a Faulkner trade concluding portion of a speech he
AQUiTE-Sdollars to replace the point of a ome of the scenes in "Old gave ,when accepting the Nobel
AQATER___________________ fountain pen that was broken Man" fit into this catagory, as Prize.
By ROY AKERS during the trial. when the convict fights a river to "It is easy enough to say that
splendor of ecclesiastical vest- Counting painfully, Lucas takes save a woman's life only to lose man is immortal simply because
[H IMAGERY of a brck court- ment, nor is he shocked by the x crumpled dollar bill and a fist- her to another man he will endure; that when the
house, a village square filled connotation of the scarlet mantle, lull of change (including fifty One finds it, too, n the short last ding-dong of doom has clang-
with loafing yokels, and gracious The theme of redemption and pennies) from his worn purse. He story, "A Rose For Emily," and in gave when accepting the Nobel
old plantation homes sitting, like salvation runs like a wisp of thread Finally counts out all the money, most of bis better novels. It is the Prize.
heirloom jewels, amidst sprawl- through the writings of Faulkner including the fifty pennies, and kind of humor that makes one "It is easy enough to say that
ing grounds: these hallmarks of and, always, it seems to differ 'hen pushes the two dollars across chuckle to keep from weeping. man is immortal simply because
the upland town of Jefferson- from that of the great writers be- the desk to Gavin. And after do- Since pure humor Is always a he will endure; that when the last
county seat of Yoknapatawha, fore him. ng all this Lucas Just stands there cruel thing-it requires the eternal ding-dong of dooin has clang-
Mississippi-are more real to the His characters do not have a iting. scapegoat - there is probably no See MYTHICAL, Page 10
minds of many readers of contem- paradise to lose and, therefore, the
porary literature than, say, the reader suspects their chances are . " . :.<zc:;°:::x2r::;;::x:<>.;>.:.:>.e.:......)
cities of Memphis and Natchez. slim of having one to gain His
This, in itself, would matter lit- purgatory is that of the rough sur
tle except for the fact that Mem- face and violent weather of the
phis and Natchez do exist; where- earth. The convict in "Old Man
as, Jefferson has come about as seemed to find his punishment
the fabrication of a writer's imag- for crime, and an adequate meas
ination. It has found being, and its ure of hell, in battling the raging
inhabitants live and love and die, Mississippi for his life.
only on paper. And throughout the maze of '
But Jefferson and Yoknapataw- Faulkner's turgid, almost poets-
ha, so long as books are stocked cal, prose there seems to lie this z:
in libraries or hidden in caves, central theme: Man does not own
will remain immortal. They rise property or a bit of land; instead,
as a monument to the power of the property and the bit of land
artistic creation, and they stand own man and, ultimately, pun-
as a writer's legacy to the people ishes him.
of the world.A m d n to
For Mr. William Faulkner has And man does not control his
spun fable with myth and inter- emotions but, rather, as with Pop-
laced the fictional fabric with the eye and Temple Drake in "Sanc
truth of the shining warp of gold. tuary, his emotions control him
If Jefferson and Toknapatawha r
have become a living legend then FAULKNER .has seen the evil
certainly, their inhabitants - the streak in people, and he has also
aristocratic and conventional Sar- envisioned their inherent good
toris family on the one hand, ness. If he writes mostly of sin-
and the connivin", opportunistic ners it is perhaps, because he finds
Snopes clan on the other-have them more to his liking than hyp-
become a breathing myth. Such a ocrites. And if there is a message
task of fabrication could come in the gospel of his grotesquely-
about only through a talent of symboled catechism it might be
myriad facets. And the facets of this: that it is better for one to
Faulkner's talent are not only myr- be lost in hell and know it, thanr'
iad-they sometimes seem to be to find salvation in the perversion
mirrored-like ropes of diamonds of self -righteousness.
dazzling blindly in the brilliant The Scribe of Oxford, Mississip-
rays of the sun. pi, has written much about God's
For his words have made mag- wayward, two - legged creatures,
nolia blossoms lilt in the waltzing but he has never assumed the om
air of a summer's evening, creat- nipotence to damn them. Oftimes, v.\
ed ghosts that walk, and laid bare too, his pen has touched a higher
the emotions that lurk in the gulf ground, for if heaven is a placer^
stream of the human soul-emo- of many mansions, so is the earth. X
tions of the kind that can pluck And it has been of this variance -
the reader's heart strings through of the mansions earthly-the caste
the emotional chords from terror of race and class-that William

to ecstacy. Faulkner has written well and SANDLER OF BOSTON brings a snug, sweater-like
ONE cannot read Faulkner for sometimes masterfully. ft
very long without suffering the If he has done this as a South- fit to your foot.wth TURTLE NECK . . an elasticized
painful awareness that here is a erner, he has not merely assumed grosgrain collar on a beautiful classic pump that hugs your
writer who, while sitting by the the right to do it, because he has
wayside puffing on his pipe, has been reared in a South crammed heel, arch and instep gently but firmly. Functional and -c
made a deep and lasting study of to overflowing with earthly man-
tetimhadtae y h in.~ good fashion. Can't wear pumps? Just try these! And e
the triumph and tragedy of the sions. t
creatures human. The race issue is not just a re- along with amazing fit, you get a shaped hi-lo heel, soft 'a
And the reader cannot lay down mote "problem" in tne South; it tie and flexible sole, too. 1.95
a Faulkner book without the real- is a reality, and the caste of class
ization of having experienced is something into which one is
something not usually found in born, and usually remains, as a
creations mortal-a compassion of creature immoble. Class status in rVAN BOVEN
that rare kind that exceeds the the South is not a thing to be pur-
sometimes petty boundaries of so- chased with huge bank rolls and ... 17 Nickels Arcade
called good and evil. For Faulk- shiny Cadillacs in the market t
ner is neither be-dazzled by the place. A man is more often judg- 4.6 e- ,, a' "y. ,Jjpsyaajg. T,,t {Y r r{ 4? -

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