Cultural primitivism in william faulkners the

Not Even Past highlights references to nineteenth-century U. These texts share a representational crisis, in which distinctions between present, quotidian racism and a massive, fully racialized historical trauma disappear. All identify persistent historical traumatization with intense subjective states including madness, religious ecstasy, narcissism, and fetishistic enjoymentand each explores the conservative, even coercive social character of such links between psyche and history. When the past of enslavement is not even past, narration freezes, black and white women lose their capacity to question or resist social and domestic violence, and racial politics fail.

Cultural primitivism in william faulkners the

Her critical interests include 19th-century American literature, the history of race and gender in the U. In the fall, she will be pursuing her Ph. In exploring these themes, critical discussions of the novel have often focused on the split psyche of Joe Christmas.

Yet Faulkner also demonstrates how this social power works in reverse: Still unwilling to accept the end of the Civil War, and the abolition of slavery that came with it, many white residents of Jefferson are unable to view African-Americans as equals. As a result, racialized discourse commonly accepted language that allows discriminating ideologies to remain strong circulates throughout the culture, naturalizing white supremacy as a sort of social given.

Even more, though, it demonstrates the confusion that Christmas generates in Stevens. As a result, Stevens can respond to this event in only one way: Since biological differences between races do not actually exist, all that remains is a segregation based on stereotypes and the myth of racial hierarchy.

These ideas about race, and all of their attendant stigmas, have been passed down through generations, giving them the weight of historical legitimacy and continuing the cycle of African-American oppression as a normative social influence.

This impulse to sustain ideological tropes displays the oppressive potency of social codes, which Foucault explains in his concept of the Panopticon.

If the child had been older he would perhaps have thought…That is why I am different from the others: Faulkner provides us with no concrete reason why the others identify him in this way.

You little nigger bastard! Yet Faulkner leaves this moment vague for a reason. Regardless of how it is read, this moment in the novel gestures toward the same idea: In either case, she clearly understands that describing Christmas as part black will affect the way that people react to him: We begin to see, then, how society creates identity and, in doing so, maintains control over the racial hierarchy.

Though a victim himself of the Panoptic gaze, Christmas also challenges the power of the all-seeing authority and thus acts upon those through whom that authority works.

Just like Christmas, his father had no visible signs of blackness; however, because Doc Hines decided that he was black, he became so. Bleikasten elaborates on this idea: In the course of his erratic career Christmas is victimized by various people, but all of his victimizers pay allegiance to the same myths, and Christmas, the victim, is himself trapped within them.

Whereas African-Americans are trapped in a white society that oppresses them, Christmas, because of his in-between-ness, becomes trapped in an entire society that oppresses him.

Cultural primitivism in william faulkners the

So, by assigning him this in-between-ness of race, Doc Hines prevents Christmas from finding acceptance not only within the community, but also from accepting himself. Like he had knowed that if it come to a pinch, this would save him. Like Doc Hines, the townspeople require no proof, aside from his supposed murder of Joanna Burden, to identify Christmas as black.

Even as the community creates a feeling of anxiety within Christmas, his own ambiguity of race creates the same feeling. The racial hierarchy, regardless of how it is constructed, maintains a common sense of order.

The problem occurs when these distinctions blend creating a new category that has not yet been defined. Any sign of ambiguity, any swerve from the straight path of conformity, should be interpreted as a potential threat to the established order.

Nothing is more detestable and more alarming to such a society than the in-between, the intermingled, the impure—that which blurs its neat fictions and underlines its dogmatic certainties. So, even though Christmas is oppressed, the very nature of his existence dismantles the normative logic of Jim Crow that oppresses him.

Joe Christmas disrupts this idea, though: It provides a moment of relief, allowing the white residents of Jefferson to believe that such a terrible crime was not actually committed by a white person, but rather by Christmas, who, to them, now represents the entire Negro race.

They saw that the man was not dead yet, and when they saw what Grimm was doing one of the men gave a choked cry and stumbled back into the wall and began to vomit.


Then Grimm too sprang back, flinging behind him the bloody butcher knife. The realization of this identity does not remain positive, though. The overarching voice at work in Jefferson will not stand for disruptions in the racially-ordered American society.

Thus, Grimm decides that Christmas, and all of the uncertainty that he represents, must die. Thus, Christmas acts as the scapegoat for a community that is unable to accept deviations from the racial discourse they believe to be true.

As a result, society experiences an identity struggle of its own, losing hold of the comfortability it has always maintained.

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As a result, the two entities cannot be reconciled, causing either a breakdown in society or the persecution of the individual.This book highlights references to nineteenth-century U.S.

slavery and anti-Black racism in literary and photographic projects begun during the late s and early s, including novels by William Faulkner and Nella Larsen, and portraits by Carl Van Vechten. Reading William Faulkner's short stories is an excellent way to approach his major works.

Although his novels are better known and more widely read than his short stories, the same settings and many of the same characters and ideas found in them are introduced in his stories.

What artistic talent does Miss Emily possess in “A Rose for Emily”?

"The single most indelible fact about William Faulkner's work is his persistent concentration on observing and recording the culture and country in which he was born; what is most striking now, as we look back on his legacy from our own, is the enormous courage and cost of that task," says Professor Kinney.

Grotesque Reality in William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” narrates the life of Emily Grierson and the murder that she commits alongside the members of her community - Grotesque Reality in William Faulkner’s “A Rose for Emily” Essay introduction.

Faulkner's complex fictional world of Yoknapatawpha County is revisited through the poetic mastery of Willie Morris and the photographs of William Eggleston, celebrated Southern photographer.

His images of the rural Southern countryside speak eloquently of Faulkner's world. This comprehensive Companion to William Faulkner reflects the current dynamic state of Faulkner studies. Faulkner's Whiteface Minstrels, Primitivism, and Perversion John N. Duvall. 10 Shifting Sands: The Myth of Class Mobility Codes of Class Culture and Southern Desire in Faulkner's Snopes Trilogy Evelyn Jaffe Schreiber.

Teaching Faulkner's Go Down Moses - Southeast Missouri State University