Class Year

2016

Date

4-20-2016

Document Type

Thesis

Degree Name

Bachelor of Arts (BA)

Department or Program

Environmental Studies

First Advisor

Glenn Adelson

Second Advisor

Brian McCammack

Third Advisor

Joshua Corey

Abstract

This paper explores the literary concept of place in William Faulkner’s novel Absalom, Absalom! I argue that as an inheritor of Naturalism, Faulkner frames his novel around the deterministic quality of place, suggesting that the South as a geographic and cultural region determines the fate of his characters. Faulkner’s narrative structure, which relies on the acts of storytelling and imaginative re-creation, challenges what is real and what is imagined in our conception of place and forces the reader to participate in a process of making meaning that reveals Faulkner’s theory of a cursed South. The events in the novel suggest that a curse has been brought on the South as a result of the abuse inflicted on slaves and on the Southern wilderness by plantation owners during the antebellum period. For those unable to come to terms with their Southern heritage, this curse spells out their doom.


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