Truth Be Told: Problematizing Historical Truth Through Narration in William Faulkner's Absalom, Absalom!
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This thesis attempt to prove how William Faulkner problematizes the idea of historical truth through the narration of Absalom, Absalom! (referred to as AA). The focus revolves around Faulkner's use of mythical narration as a means to illustrate and problematize any notion of historical truth about that social structure, as I suggest that the narration of AA problematize true stories" about the South (or anywhere else, for that matter). Through his mythical narrative technique and form, Faulkner explores and problematizes people's ability to form historical truth based on personal experiences, feelings and hearsay, rejecting both time and actual events, thus questioning whether an absolute truth is possible to obtain. I argue that Faulkner's narrative style strengthens the experience of AA as a critical account of the way in which the heritage of the southern Confederacy continues to influence American society, proving that the past is not, in fact, past. The question which I will attempt to answer is how, through his myriad of narrators, Faulkner's myth-like narrative technique serves to problematize a notion of any existing, definite historical truth, and how Faulkner's complex and diverse narration of AA accentuates a notion that an absolute truth is non-existing or predisposed at best. In chapter one account for Faulkner's narrative form and how the various narrators contribute to very different versions of the story presented based on the character's personal experiences. In order to do so, I analyze the narrating characters in order to highlight coherence between the way in which Faulkner narrates through each narrating character and the way the characters are affected by personal experience. This will not be an attempt of a full in-depth analysis of each narrating character, but an analysis of how the consequence of personal experience are visible through the different narrating characters and their distinct way of narrating. Chapter two discuss the way in which the selected historical myths are represented throughout the novel, whereas Chapter three serve as an exemplification on how the narration of AA can be viewed as a means of problematizing historical truths in relation to time and memory. Herein, I use the analysis of the narrative technique and the narrating characters to exemplify how they are affected by the immersion of historical myths within the narration. Finally, I present my concluding points.
PublisherThe University of Bergen
- English 186
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