Publication Date

5-23-2013

Advisor(s)

Sarah Mahurin

Major

English

Language

English (United States)

Abstract

Starting with an analysis of Benjy's narrative, this paper will examine how the pain of a lost antebellum past infects the narrative presents of William Faulkner's protagonists, in particular Quentin Compson, Reverend Hightower, and Isaac McCaslin. I define the transitional state of Faulkner's postbellum South as "liminality," an anthropological term for the intermediary stage of ritual passages. I use liminality as a metaphor to describe the lack of rootedness of Faulkner's characters and Southern society itself. Chapter 1 examines Quentin's attempts to dissociate himself from his own life due to the shame he feels concerning the Compson family's decline. Chapter 2 details Hightower's adoption of his grandfather's Civil War history as postmemory, a term coined by Marianne Hirsch to signify inherited ancestral memories that evacuate the lives of descendants. Finally, Chapter 3 describes Isaac's attempts to root himself within the wilderness to create a redemptive Southern legacy.

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