Publication Date


Document Type


First Advisor

Murray, Don, 1917-||Rodney, Robert M.

Degree Name

M.A. (Master of Arts)

Legacy Department

Department of English


Faulkner; William; 1897-1962


This study investigates the antithetical parallel structural patterns in William Faulkner’s works from 1926 to 1939. In doing so, the writer has found that two extremes in characterization occur within one major plot in As I Lay Dying and The Sound and the Fury. In the former work, Addie and Anse Bundren represent the extremes of action and word. They, the Bundren children, and the neighbors participate in the main narrative of the book, conveying Addie’s body to Jefferson for burial. In The Sound and the Fury, Quentin and Ben, extreme negative and positive characters, take part in the fall of the Compson family. In the other novels discussed, the polar characters have separate narratives which contribute to the novels as a whole. Soldiers' Pay tells the story of Donald Mahon and Januarius S. Jones and their adjustment to the postwar South. In Mosquitoes Gordon's story contrasts with that of Mr. Talliaferro. In Sartoris the two narratives concern Bayard Sartoris and Horace Benbow, two extremely different war veterans, and their return to Jefferson. In Sanctuary the experiences of Lee Goodwin and Ruby are contrasted with those of Popeye and Temple. With Light in August, one reaches the most unified of the parallel-narrative novels. The life of Joe Christmas Is opposed to that of Lena Grove. The Wild Palms, the novel which completely separates the two narratives, contrasts Charlotte and Harry with the convict and the woman. The unification of the extremes in characters and stories is also discussed. By investigating each novel, one finds repetition and development of the techniques used to unify the distinct narratives. Beginning with attempts to Join the extremes by placing all the characters in the same place at the same time, Faulkner develops symbols and characters which participate, both physically and thematically, In the two narratives. Repetition and development of major thematic ideas can also be traced through these novels which culminate in the unification of Light in August and the separation of The Wild Palms. Ideas such as the conflict between appearance and reality can be seen to permeate each of the parallel-narrative novels. Such investigation of these novels as a group makes the reader aware of the individual works as well as the common elements, structural and thematic, in them.


Includes bibliographical references.


iii, 120 pages




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