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The bystander in Faulkner's fiction 1972

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THE BYSTANDER IN FAULKNER * S FICTION by KENNETH DOUGLAS MAC MILLAN B.A., University of B r i t i s h Columbia, 1961 M.A., University of Toronto, 1966 A THESIS SUBMITTED IN PARTIAL FULFILMENT OF THE REQUIREMENTS FOR THE DEGREE OF DOCTOR OF PHILOSOPHY i n the Department of English We aocept t h i s thesis as conforming to the required standard THE UNIVERSITY OF BRITISH COLUMBIA September, 1972 In p r e s e n t i n g t h i s t h e s i s in p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t o f the requirements f o r an advanced degree at the U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia, I agree that the L i b r a r y s h a l l make i t f r e e l y a v a i l a b l e fo r reference and study . I f u r t h e r agree t h a t permiss ion f o r e x t e n s i v e copying o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r s c h o l a r l y purposes may be granted by the Head of my Department o r by h i s r e p r e s e n t a t i v e s . I t i s understood that copying o r p u b l i c a t i o n o f t h i s t h e s i s f o r f i n a n c i a l ga in s h a l l not be a l lowed wi thout my w r i t t e n p e r m i s s i o n . Department of The U n i v e r s i t y o f B r i t i s h Columbia Vancouver 8 , Canada 11 Abstract In much of his f i c t i o n Faulkner used a type of character which one might c a l l the "bystander." The bystander i s important not as a par t i c i p a n t i n the action of a novel or short story, but rather as a witness to the actions of other characters, the protagonists. Fre- quently, however, the focus of the author's attention f a l l s upon the perceptions and f e e l i n g s of the apparently i r r e l e v a n t witness instead of upon the ostensible action of the work. Faulkner analyzes c l o s e l y the e f f e c t s the aotion has upon the bystander who may become involved i n events which, s t r i c t l y speaking, should not concern him. Reciprocally, the protagonists very frequently are con- scious of the watching eyes of the bystander (or bystanders) and adapt t h e i r actions to plaoate or defy the watching consciousness. There i s , therefore, a complex r e l a t i o n - ship between the two types, protagonist and witness. Many c r i t i c s have seen i n d i v i d u a l bystanders i n Faulkner's f i c t i o n as mouthpieces of the author, but t h i s d i s s e r t a t i o n attempts to refute t h i s i n t e r p r e t a t i o n . The f i r s t four chapters of the d i s s e r t a t i o n consider the choric or c o l l e c t i v e bystanders, the problem, important to Faulkner, of perception and the s u b j e c t i v i t y of v i - sion, the use of irony i n treatments of the bystander, I i i and the use of the youthful bystander. Each of these topics reinforces the as s e r t i o n that Faulkner views the bystander figure i n e v i t a b l y as limited and f a l l i b l e and not as an a u t h o r i a l spokesman. Because Stevens appears more frequently i n Faulkner's work than any other bystander f i g u r e , and because he has attracted more adverse c r i t i - cism than any other character i n Faulkner's f i c t i o n , the l a s t f i v e chapters focus upon him and- discuss i n d e t a i l the works i n which he appears. The d i s s e r t a t i o n shows Faulkner's portrayal of Gavin Stevens to be complex and e f f e c t i v e , not the f a i l u r e i t i s often claimed to be. Indeed, a discussion of the bystander casts new l i g h t upon several of Faulkner's le s s famous works and indicates-how those works extend the treatment of themes recognized i n the major successes of the 1930's. The Influence of the town i n Soldiers' Pay and S a r t o r l s , the s i g n i f i c a n c e of the mysterious figure of the Reporter i n Pylon, the importance of the experiments i n Knight's Gambit, a l l appear by means of t h i s i n v e s t i g a t i o n . S i - m i l a r l y , t h i s d i s s e r t a t i o n shows how bystander figures play Important parts i n nearly a l l of Faulkner's novels and i n many of h i s short s t o r i e s . The d i s s e r t a t i o n reveals Faulkner's continued i n t e r e s t i n the passive bystander who only witnesses the i v actions of the protagonists "but who yet exerts a power- f u l influence upon t h e i r actions. Thus the treatment of t h i s type i n Faulkner's f i c t i o n indicates both the powers and l i m i t a t i o n s of perception. The bystanders are frequently sympathetic, i n t e l l i g e n t , and morally aware, but they are, at the same time, i n e f f e c t u a l , passive, or escapist. Furthermore, because Faulkner's stance as an a r t i s t i s often that of the non-involved witness, a study of h i s use of the bystander leads u l - timately to a consideration of problems oentral to h i s conception of f i c t i o n . V TABLE OF C017i'E:DS I n t r o d u c t i o n . 1 Chapter One. The Co~:r.unity as Bystander 13 o. C r.apter Two. The I n d i v i d u a l Bystander and the S u b j e c t i v i t y of P e r c e p t i o n V+ Chapter Three. The Bystander and Irony 120 Chapter Four. The Youth as Bystander 160 Chapter F i v e . Sanctuary;, B l u e p r i n t f o r Gavin Stevens 213 Chapter S i x . Gavin Stevens* F i r s t Appearances 235 Chapter Seven. Gavin Stevens: D e t e c t i v e 260 Chapter E i g h t . The Tovm 32*+ Chapter T i n e . The L'ansion 3&3 C o n c l u s i o n . *+01 B i b l i o g r a p h y . hQ7 INTRODUCTION In much of h i s f i c t i o n F aulkner used a type of c h a r a c t e r which one might c a l l the "bystander." The bystander i s important not as a p a r t i c i p a n t i n the a c t i o n of a n o v e l or s h o r t s t o r y , but r a t h e r as a witness to the a c t i o n s of o t h e r c h a r a c t e r s , the p r o t a g o n i s t s . F r e - q u e n t l y , however, the focus o f the author's a t t e n t i o n f a l l s upon the p e r c e p t i o n s and f e e l i n g s o f the a p p a r e n t l y i r r e l e v a n t witness i n s t e a d o f upon the o s t e n s i b l e a c t i o n of the work. F a u l k n e r a n a l y z e s c l o s e l y the e f f e c t s the a c t i o n has upon the bystander who may become i n v o l v e d i n events which, s t r i c t l y speaking, should not concern him. R e c i p r o c a l l y , the p r o t a g o n i s t s very f r e q u e n t l y are con- s c i o u s o f the watching eyes o f the bystander (or bystanders) and adapt t h e i r a c t i o n s to p l a c a t e or defy the watching c o n s c i o u s n e s s . There i s , t h e r e f o r e , a complex r e l a t i o n - s h i p between the two types, p r o t a g o n i s t and v/itness. For t h i s reason, the terra "bystander" a d m i t t e d l y does not d e f i n e the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s o f t h i s type i n a l l i t s m a n i f e s t a t i o n s . The nature c f the bystander i s ambi- v a l e n t ; the c h a r a c t e r sometimes merely watches, sometimes f e e l s compelled to p a r t i c i p a t e i n the a c t i o n of the n o v e l or s h o r t s t o r y . Indeed, i t w i l l be the concern of t h i s 2. d i s s e r t a t i o n to demonstrate the way in which Faulkner c h a r a c t e r i s t i c a l l y turns the focus of his f i c t i o n not upon the actors but upon the bystander-interpreters in his s t o r i e s . Quentin Compson i s as important as Thomas Sutpen in Absalom, Absalom!; Gavin Stevens i s more im- portant than Flem Snopes in the l a s t two novels of what has been called the Snopes T r i l o g y . The term "bystander" i s meaningful, however, in that i t describes the t y p i c a l stance of many of Faulkner's characters. Even when these characters be- come c e n t r a l l y involved in the action of a novel or short story, they are involved as reacting consciousnesses. In other words, t h e i r i n t e r e s t f o r the reader i s not what they do but how they perceive. Moreover, even when the bystander acts, he i s distanced from the action e i t h e r by his i n a b i l i t y or by his unwillingness to become i n - volved. Ke wishes, l i k e Gavin Stevens, to be immune and unscathed. In the case of Darl Bundren of As I Lay Dying, the bystander even becomes a witness to his own actions, r e f e r r i n g to himself i n the t h i r d person. In spite of t h i s uninvolvement, the bystander often achieves an imaginative i d e n t i f i c a t i o n with the protagonists which substitutes f o r actual involvement. Quentin Compson and Shreve McCannon in Absalom, Absalom! i d e n t i f y with Henry Sutpen and Charles Bon. The Reporter of Pylon fuses with the drowned Schumann. Horace Benbow becomes i n his own imagination the raped Temple Drake i n Sanctuary. Instead of l i v i n g a v i t a l existence of his own, the bystander l i v e s within his perceptions of others' actions. Often Faulkner manifests these perceptions by rendering them as f i r s t - p e r s o n narration. Or, i f an om- n i s c i e n t narrator i s used, the: bystander may appear as a r e g i s t e r , a consciousness whose growing perceptions we follow but whose own appearance and. actions are part of the f i c t i o n . Because of t h i s t e c h n i c a l use of the by- stander, i t i s easy to regard Faulkner's bystanders as a u t h o r i a l spokesmen within the f i c t i o n , and many c r i t i c s have at one time or another described Faulkner's intention i n these terms. I t w i l l , however, be one of the major tasks of t h i s d i s s e r t a t i o n to show the f a l l a c y of de- s c r i b i n g the bystander as an auth o r i a l representative. Faulkner's concern with the nature of percep- t i o n manifests i t s e l f i n the repeated use of the by- stander to render a subjective and unreliable point of view. One can, therefore, see the use of the bystander combining thematic concerns with l i t e r a r y techniques to create an organic work of a r t . The themes i n e v i t a b l y 4. manifest themselves i n p a r t i c u l a r structures. Through- out his canon, Faulkner considers the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s of human consciousness and by emphasizing i t asserts the primacy of v i s i o n over action. Not only does v i s i o n appear more i n t e r e s t i n g and complex, but i t also a f f e c t s and controls action. Therefore, i t i s a c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of Faulkner's novels that t h e i r protagonists often seem shadowy and i n d e f i n i t e , while the bystanders may usurp the p o s i t i o n of protagonist, focussing the reader's attentions on i n t e r p r e t a t i o n rather than p l o t . As early as Soldiers'. _ Pay, his f i r s t novel, Faulkner revealed his i n t e r e s t i n the figure of the by- stander, but in the novels of his major period from The Sound and the Fury to Absalom, Absalom!, he developed t h i s concern into one of h i s major preoccupations. I t has been infrequently recognized, however, that i n the works of his l a t e r years, p a r t i c u l a r l y i n those works which involve the character of Gavin Stevens, Faulkner continued to explore the implications of the bystander f i g u r e . For t h i s reason, t h i s d i s s e r t a t i o n focusses pri>- marily upon what may be c a l l e d the "Gavin Stevens F i c t i o n " i n order to suggest i t s value as a l i t e r a r y achievement. In order to prepare the background f o r the 5. l a t e r works, I have considered a number of c l o s e l y re- lated topics which define the nature of Faulkner*s use of the bystander. In each case, I have concentrated upon a small number of works which best represent the p a r t i c u l a r t o p i c , but I also make c l e a r that the char- a c t e r i s t i c s of the bystander discussed are relevant to most of the other works considered. Indeed, every topic discussed builds one aspect of the structure necessary to understand the evaluation of The Town and The Mansion i n the l a s t two chapters. The d i s s e r t a t i o n f a l l s into two rel a t e d sections: the f i r s t four chapters which deal thematically with a number of aspects of Faulkner's use of the bystander, and the l a s t f i v e which focus s p e c i f i c a l l y upon those novels concerned with Gavin Stevens. Chapter I deals with the communal or c o l l e c t i v e bystander as choric voicej Chapter II concentrates upon the i n d i v i d u a l bystander and de- monstrates Faulkner's use of him as a subjective and i n - te r p r e t i n g witness to the acti o n . Chapter III documents Faulkner's i r o n i c treatment of the bystander i n several novels and short s t o r i e s , while Chapter IV deals with a p a r t i c u l a r i r o n i c pattern associated with the c h i l d as innocent and non-comprehending bystander. Chapter V de- monstrates that the innocent and inexperienced witness 6. in Faulkner's f i c t i o n i s not always a c h i l d j i t deals with the character of Horace Benbow in Sanctuary. More- over! Chapter V discusses Benbow as the prototype f o r Gavin Stevens. The l a s t f i v e chapters discuss the works i n which Gavin Stevens appears. Chapter VI deals with his appearance as a minor figure i n three works, Chapter VII with his role as detective. Chapters VIII and IX deal re s p e c t i v e l y with h i s appearance i n The Town and The Mansion. Cleanth Brooks has suggested that Faulkner's strong sense of community originated from his experience of l i f e i n a small, r u r a l town and that t h i s communal sense had a strong influence on his f i c t i o n . C l e a r l y , as w i l l be shown i n Chapter I of t h i s d i s s e r t a t i o n , Faulkner's awareness of a watching community i s an apparent source f o r his concern with the r e l a t i o n s h i p of bystander to protagonist. In S o l d i e r ^ - Pay, S a r t o r i s , and As I Lay Dying, Faulkner portrayed the communal con- sciousness as a kind of choric voice commenting upon the actions of the protagonists. As c o l l e c t i v e bystander, the town counterpoints the action, comments upon i t , and, to some extent, controls i t . In "A Rose f o r Emily'', i n - deed, Faulkner used the voice of the town as a p l u r a l f i r s t - p e r s o n narrator. In v i r t u a l l y a l l his Yoknapatawpha 7 f i c t i o n , Faulkner used t h i s sense of the community, re- vealing the town's innate conservatism and the powerful e f f e c t of i t s censure upon the i n d i v i d u a l . In the masterpieces of his major period, Faulkner concentrated more s p e c i f i c a l l y upon the per- ceptions of the i n d i v i d u a l bystander as opposed to the c o l l e c t i v e voice of the community. An examination of characters l i k e Miss Rosa' C i n Absalom, Absalom! makes cl e a r , however, that t h i s d i s t i n c t i o n i s , to some extent, a r b i t r a r y . Nevertheless, Chapter II of my d i s s e r t a t i o n considers p r i m a r i l y the nature of percep- t i o n as described i n The Sound and the Fury, Absalom, Absalom!, As I Lay Dying, and Pylon, concentrating on the s u b j e c t i v i t y of the bystanders* perceptions. Not only does the bystander appear paired with the protagonist in a complex r e l a t i o n s h i p , but also the bystander's use of perception as an a l t e r n a t i v e to action i s seen as the adoption of an inadequate and c o n s t r i c t i n g l i f e . Characters l i k e Quentin Compson, Da r l Bundren, and the Reporter inhabit a waste land from which they view barrenly the actions of corrupt but v i t a l protagonists. An examination of these novels reveals Faulkner c r i t i - c i z i n g the i n d i v i d u a l bystander as severely as he does the choric voice. 8 . Faulkner's treatment of the bystander, even when that bystander functions as the f i r s t - p e r s o n narrator i s c o n s i s t e n t l y i r o n i c , Chapter III of my d i s s e r t a t i o n suggests how, both s t y l i s t i c a l l y and s t r u c t u r a l l y , Faulkner used the bystander to create i r o n i c counterpoint or, as frequently, viewed the bystander himself i r o n i c a l l y . In Soldiers' Pay and S a r t o r i s , Januarius Jones and Miss Jenny du Pre are used i n both ways, to c r i t i c i z e the ro- manticism of the novels' protagonists but also to stand as i r o n i c subjects on t h e i r own. In Light i n August, the t r a v e l l i n g f urniture dealer provides an i r o n i c v i s i o n of the Lena Grove-Byron Bunch i d y l l . In several s t o r i e s from Go Down, Moses, the irony i s s t r u c t u r a l i n that the p o s i t i o n i n g of the bystander, be he white or black, re- veals c e r t a i n truths about the South's r a c i a l s i t u a t i o n . F i n a l l y , i n The Hamlet. V.K. R a t l i f f provides an i r o n i c v i s i o n of the action but i s ultimately encompassed by irony himself. Irony coloured a l l Faulkner wrote, but the i r o n i c treatment of the bystander figure helps to re- veal t h i s type as subject to the author's v i s i o n rather than a simple vehicle f o r a u t h o r i a l statement. Perhaps the most frequent type of bystander i n Faulkner's f i c t i o n i s the innocent or ignorant youth coming to terms with new experience. By using the youth 9. as a perceiving i n t e l l i g e n c e , the author i s able to i n - troduce the reader gradually into an unfamiliar s i t u a - t i o n and, at the same time, achieve irony by playing o f f the l i m i t e d i n t e l l i g e n c e of his bystander against the more worldly knowledge of his reader. Not i n f r e - quently, the ignorance or innocence of the c h i l d shows to advantage. With the exception of The Reivers, Faulkner's use of the c h i l d as bystander appears l a r g e l y i n short s t o r i e s and short story sequences. Chapter IV of t h i s d i s s e r t a t i o n examines "My Grandmother M i l l a r d " , "Barn Burning", "Uncle Willy", "That Evening Sun", "That W i l l Be Fine", The Unvanquished, and Go Down, Moses as well as The Reivers. In most of these s t o r i e s , Faulkner portrays a youth attempting to comprehend the corruption and the complexities of his society. In "That W i l l Be Fine" and "That Evening Sun", however, he reveals a c h i l d as corrupt as the society he does not understand. Whether innocent or merely ignorant, however, the c h i l d provides a l o g i c a l l i m i t e d consciousness through which the author may view his subject. In Sanctuary, Faulkner introduces a bystander who, while not a c h i l d , i s c h i l d l i k e , Horace Benbow, the subject of Chapter V, i s representative of a common Faulknerian type, the inadequate i n t e l l e c t u a l whose per- 10. ceptions of r e a l i t y are not matched by a corresponding a b i l i t y to act upon them. In some ways as innocent as a c h i l d , Benbow pursues unknowingly the course of en- larged knowledge and i n e v i t a b l e disillusionment. He i s doubly i n t e r e s t i n g i n that many of h i s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s are s i m i l a r to those of Gavin Stevens f o r whom he seems to be a kind of rough d r a f t . Gavin Stevens i s Faulkner's most frequently used bystander and as such he deserves considerable a t t e n t i o n . Moreover, Faulkner's use of Stevens has been c r i t i c i z e d more frequently than that of any other by- stander, and i t i s , therefore, f i t t i n g to describe what Faulkner has i n f a c t achieved i n the l a t e r f i c t i o n i n order to answer the c r i t i c i s m that has been l e v e l l e d against i t . In order to deal with Stevens' development as a bystander, I have divided consideration of his appearances into four chapters. Chapter VI discusses Stevens' appearances as a minor figure i n f i c t i o n s which f o r the most part do not involve him as a character. In "Hair", Light i n August, and Go Down, Moses. Stevens seems almost an afterthought on the part of his creator, appearing only i n the l a s t few pages of the work. C l e a r l y his importance and his use are l i m i t e d j he serves the purpose of providing an alternate perception or epitomizing 11. a theme i m p l i c i t e a r l i e r i n the work. In the works examined i n Chapter VII, Stevens i s of much greater importance. In Intruder in the Dust, Knight's Gambit, and Requiem f o r a Nun, the d i s t r i c t attorney appears as an amateur detective, i n v e s t i g a t i n g the mysteries of an unsolved crime. Faulkner seems to have attempted an adaptation of the form of the detective story to his own ends, with varying success. In each book, Stevens' r o l e as bystander expresses Faulkner's concern with the mysteries of the human personality and the d i f f i c u l t y i n achieving communication. F i n a l l y , i n Chapters VIII and IX, I deal with the bystander i n The Town and The Mansion, the l a s t two volumes of the Snopes t r i l o g y . A l l the perceptions about the bystander defined i n the four e a r l i e r chapters are relevant here. The s u b j e c t i v i t y of human perception figures i n the presentation of Gavin Stevens. Chick Mallison i s another of Faulkner's youthful innocents, and the attempt to understand the enigmatic Flem Snopes once more reveals the d i f f i c u l t y of probing human motivations. V.K. R a t l i f f functions as i r o n i c bystander applying a sardonic wit to the events viewed so s e r i o u s l y by Gavin Stevens. In the background of both novels, the community continues to function as the c o l l e c t i v e choric bystander, 12. exerting a powerful influence on the action. I t i s therefore appropriate to conclude with a detailed d i s cussion of these two novels? they are b r i l l i a n t and frequently underrated pieces of f i c t i o n , developing recurrent Faulknerian themes by means of one of Faulkner's most t y p i c a l l i t e r a r y techniques, the use of the bystander. CHAPTER ONE THE COMMUNITY AS BYSTANDER An awareness of the s o c i a l m i l i e u of a small Southern community i s e s s e n t i a l i n understanding the back- ground of Faulkner's use of the bystander i n his f i c t i o n . Unlike the other major n o v e l i s t s of h i s generation, Hemingway, F i t z g e r a l d , Dos Passos, who choose e i t h e r an urban or an i n t e r n a t i o n a l s e t t i n g , Faulkner portrays most frequently a r u r a l community. In such a community, neighbours and t h e i r opinions exert a powerful influence which i s l a r g e l y absent from c i t y l i f e ; t h i s influence i s pervasive i n Faulkner's f i c t i o n , p a r t i c u l a r l y i n the Yok- napatawpha works, which focus upon the small town of Jefferson. As Cleanth Brooks points out i n his discussion of Light in August, "the community i s the powerful though i n v i s i b l e force that q u i e t l y exerts i t s e l f i n so much of Faulkner's work. I t i s the circumambient atmosphere, the e s s e n t i a l ether of Faulkner's f i c t i o n . " 1 Often the action i s played before a background of the townspeople who comment upon i t ? thus Faulkner provides an i n t e r i o r commentator separate from the au t h o r i a l voice. Instead of the int r u s i o n of an omniscient narrator into the action, we have i n integrated commentary made credible by i t s s i - m i l a r i t y to the backfence gossip of a small town. Even more important than the repercussions of. the protagonist's 13a 13i> actions upon a mass of r e f l e c t i n g observers i s the force that s o c i a l mass exerts upon the actions of the prota- gonist. From young Bayard of S a r t o r i s to the Flem Snopes of The Town, Faulkner's c e n t r a l characters act with an awareness of a watching, c o l l e c t i v e conscious- ness which records and evaluates t h e i r behaviour. In his f i r s t novel, Soldiers a 1 Pay, published i n 1926, Faulkner describes the return of the veterans of the F i r s t World War to a small Southern town whose inhabitants have f o r the most part been unaffected by the shattering experiences endured by the returning s o l d i e r s . I t i s as i f a group from Hemingway's " l o s t generation" were introduced into a small r u r a l community. SoldierS'-;- Pay, therefore, reveals the clash between the two disparate groups, the p h y s i c a l l y and emotionally shattered veterans who include Donald Mahon, Joe G i l l i g a n , and Margaret Powers, and, on the other hand, the c i t i z e n s of Charlestown, whose comments t y p i f y the conservatism and narrowness of a small town. The town views the s o l d i e r s as outsiders with d i f f e r e n t values and strange "newfangled" ideas. As a r e s u l t , ingratitude i s the only coin these s o l d i e r s w i l l receive i n pay. The c i t i z e n s of Charlestown in Soldiersb- Pay are i d e n t i f i e d as The Town and speak in the manner of the 14. chorus of Greek drama. When the news of Donald Mahon*s a r r i v a l breaks at the post o f f i c e where Mr. Mahon, the rector,appears as the center of a gathering of towns- f o l k , Faulkner explains the town's function as the c o l l e c t i v e bystanden The gathering was representative, em- bracing the professions with a l i b e r a l leavening of those inevitable casuals, cravatless, overalled or unoveralled, who seem to s u f f e r no compulsions what- ever, which anything from a captured s t i l l to a Negro with an e p i l e p t i c f i t or a mouth organ a t t r a c t s to i t s e l f l i k e atoms to a magnet, i n any small southern town — or northern town or western town probably.2 As Mr. Mahon r e l a t e s the news of Donald's a r r i v a l , his speech i s counterpointed by the parenthe- sized comments of the Towns (One of them airy-plane f e l l e r s ) (S'what I say: i f the Lord had intended f o l k s to f l y around in the a i r He'd •a' give 'em wings). ( I l l ) In t h i s f i r s t p o r trayal of the choric voice, Faulkner presents us with an i n t e r e s t i n g , and t r a d i t i o n a l , con- t r a s t . The innate conservatism and caution of the mass, i t s inherent anti-heroic attitude serves as a f o i l f o r the hero whose actions have v i r t u a l l y destroyed him. Donald Mahon, the s o l d i e r whose service of h i s country has resulted in a serious injury, i s regarded by the unheroic town as odd and, perhaps, unnatural. Faulkner 1 5 . r e v e a l s , i n a s i m i l a r f a s h i o n to the Greek d r a m a t i s t s , the d u a l i t y between those who dare and those who dare not. The c a u t i o u s town choruses i t s d i s a p p r o v a l o f the unusual. L a t e r i n the n o v e l we f i n d the c h o r i c v o i c e r e f e r r e d to s p e c i f i c a l l y as "The Town," and i t s s e n t i - ments p r o v i d e the mixture o f accepted m o r a l i t y and v i - c a r i o u s c u r i o s i t y we would expect: I wonder what the woman t h a t came home with him t h i n k s about i t , now he's taken another one. I f I were t h a t Saunders g i r l I wouldn't take a man t h a t brought home another woman r i g h t up to my door. . . . Funny goings-on i n t h a t house. And a preacher o f the g o s p e l , too. . . . That g i r l . . . time she was took i n hand by somebody. Running around town,nearly n e k k i d . Good t h i n g he's b l i n d , a i n ' t i t ? ( 2 6 1 - 2 6 2 ) As we s h a l l see i n a l a t e r chapter, t h i s c h o r i c comment i s p a r t i c u l a r l y r e l e v a n t to the a c t i o n s o f C e c i l y Saunders, who tends to be t h e a t r i c i n e v e r y t h i n g she does, but i n her case, the audience i s more o f t e n the i n d i v i d u a l i r o n i c s p e c t a t o r , J a n u a r i u s Jones. In the case o f Donald Mahon, however, the chorus of towns f o l k serves a d i f f e r e n t purpose, t h a t of l e a d i n g the r e a d e r i n s p e c u l a t i o n about the mysterious and unknowable p r o t a g o n i s t . Donald speaks h a r d l y at a l l and communicates never; s e r i o u s l y wounded, he remains 16. f o r a l l an enigma. Olga Vickery points outJ that the novel presents the c o l l i s i o n of two groups, one scarred by the experience of war, the other untouched. The town speculates about the returned s o l d i e r s and p a r t i c u l a r l y about Donald Mahon. But neither the town nor the reader can know what goes on behind the blank impassivity of Donald's face. Speaking of Mahon, Michael Millgate suggests a p a r a l l e l with The Sound and the Fury i n that "other characters are judged i n terms of t h e i r behaviour towards him much as the characters i n the l a t e r novel are judged by t h e i r treatment of Benjy." Thus Margaret Powers and Joe G i l l i g a n , who treat Donald kindly, are p o s i t i v e characters, but characters l i k e C e c i l y Saunders or the townspeople i n general reveal t h e i r inhumanity and selfishness by t h e i r disregard f o r him. Occasionally, the c o l l e c t i v e voice manifests i t s e l f i n an i n d i v i d u a l person, but the function and the tone remains the same. One such figure i s Mrs. Burney, the town gossip, who probes Mrs. Powers f o r information about Donaldi the s i m i l a r i t y of the choric voice to back- fence gossip i s here most apparent: "I hear you are going to have a marriage up at your house. That's so nice f o r Donald. He's quite sweet on her, a i n ' t he? . . . f o l k s never thought she'd wait f o r him, l e t alone take him sick and 1 ? . scratched up l i k e he i s . . . . He's a l l r i g h t , a i n ' t he? . . . I mean for marriage. Ke a i n ' t i t ' s just I mean a man ai n ' t no r i g h t to palm himself o f f on a woman i f he a i n ' t --" ( 2 5 7 - 2 5 8 ) In Soldiers'^ Fay, Faulkner portrays the combination of l a s c i v i o u s c u r i o s i t y and narrow selfishness t y p i c a l of a small town's a t t i t u d e . Characters l i k e Mr. Mahon, the rector, who e x h i b i t generosity are few, and the s u p e r f i c i a l i t y of people l i k e C e c i l y Saunders seems much more common. By allowing the town to function as commentator upon the central action of the returning s o l d i e r s , Faulkner i s able to portray simultaneously the disillusionment of the veterans and the ingratitude of t h e i r community, an ingratitude which accentuates t^e disillusionment. Faulkner creates a s i m i l a r pattern of prota- gonist juxtaposed with a watching town in S a r t o r i s , (1929) the f i r s t of his Yoknapatawpha novels. Bayard S a r t o r i s , the romantic and troubled young war hero, returns to Jefferson bearing a nameless g u i l t and tormented by an indefinable restlessness, and the town reacts to the re- turned warrior in much the same way i t did in Soldiers'^ Pay, with excited speculation and conservative disapproval. Cleanth Brooks suggests that 3ayard's "pli g h t i s set o f f the more sharply because i t has f o r i t s background a t r a d i t i o n a l society i n which there i s a true community. 18. which means that there i s a community of values as well as an organic society."^ As i s the case i n Soldiers'; Pay, the young men returned from the war (Bayard S a r t o r i s and Horace Benbow) with t h e i r modern disillusionment and ennui, confront an old, conservative society l a r g e l y un- affected by the forces of the twentieth century. This community watches the returning s o l d i e r s with a combination of excited c u r i o s i t y and reproach. Aunt S a l l y Wyatt, l i k e Mrs. Burney i n the previous novel, follows Bayard's actions with i n t e r e s t : "Why, jumping o f f water tanks and going up i n balloons just to scare f o l k s . You think I'd have that boy around me? I'd have him locked up in the insane asylum," she says.^ Narcissa immediately r e p l i e s that i t was John, not Bayard, who went up in the balloon, but Aunt S a l l y ' s statement i s in t e r e s t i n g , nevertheless, f o r i t s implication that Bayard's actions are motivated by a desire "to scare f o l k s . " That Bayard's actions are motivated to any ex- tent by a concern f o r the reactions of an audience com- posed of his neighbours throws new l i g h t on his person- a l i t y , f o r his character, l i k e that of a l l the Sartorises, i s e s s e n t i a l l y t h e a t r i c a l . Bayard, l i k e h is ancestor of the same name who fought i n the C i v i l War with ga l l a n t 19. abandon and glorious f u t i l i t y , appears at f i r s t to be completely i n d i f f e r e n t to the attitudes of the town, but he shares his ancestors' love of the grand gesture. The novel ends with an evocation of t h i s S a r t o r i s t h e a t r i c a l i t y as Narcissa plays the piano f o r Miss Jennie s The music went on i n the dusk s o f t l y : the dusk was peopled with ghosts of glamorous and old disastrous things. And i f they were just glamorous enough, there was sure to be a s a r t o r i s in them, and then they were sure to be disastrous. . . . there i s death i n the sound of i t , and a glamorous f a t a l i t y , l i k e s i l v e r pennons downrushing at sunset, or a dying f a l l of horns along the road to Roncevaux. (380) In t h i s scene, Jennie and Narcissa have just returned from the graveyard, and even there the S a r t o r i s men make t h e i r f i n a l gestures f o r the enlightenment of the Jefferson audience. John Sar t o r i s * i n s c r i p t i o n , seems " l i k e a boastful voice i n an empty church" (374), and his great-grandfather's grave exhibits an i n s c r i p t i o n so de- f i a n t that part of i t was erased on the demand of the family of the man who k i l l e d him. Only Bayard's grave lacks braggadocio because, as Miss Jenny thinks, there was "no S a r t o r i s man to invent bombast to put on i t " (374). Even in death, the Sartorises speak grandly to the community that watches them. 20. The code of honour which a l l Sartorises a f f i r m demands that c e r t a i n things be done, and the watching town i s witness to the hero's f u l f i l m e n t of the code. Thus, much of the novel's action i s rendered as s e l f - conscious gesture; even such a minor event as old Bayard's departure from home to go to work has i t s audience: "Bayard got into the carriage and Simon clucked to the horses, and the onlookers, halted to admire the momentary drama of the departure, f e l l behind" (4). Miss Jenny, who (as we s h a l l see i n a l a t e r chapter) i s one of the c r i t i c s of t h i s S a r t o r i s drama- turgy, i s nevertheless one of i t s o r i g i n a l stage managers. Narcissa's v i s i t to the S a r t o r i s home i s rendered, once more, as a dramaj Behind these dun bulks and i n a l l the corners of the room there waited, as actors stand within the wings beside the waiting stage, figures i n c r i n o l i n e and hooped muslin and s i l k ; in stocks and flowing coats, i n gray too, with crimson sashes and sabers in gall a n t sheathed repose . . Miss Jenny sat with her uncompromising grenadier's back and held her hat upon her knees and fix e d h e r s e l f to look on as her guest touched chords from the keyboard and wove them together, and r o l l e d the curtain back upon the scene. (60 - 61) I t i s obvious that Bayard has inherited his love of d i s - play and posturing from a long family t r a d i t i o n , a t r a - d i t i o n encouraged even by i t s most severe c r i t i c , 21. Miss Jenny. The novel reveals, moreover, that t h i s t r a - d i t i o n i s by no means lim i t e d to the S a r t o r i s family. Belle M i t c h e l l , Horace Benbow's adulterous lover, as a product of t h i s Southern t h e a t r i c mentality, stages s i m i l a r productions f o r h e r s e l f and Horace i They sat thus f o r some time while the l i g h t faded, Belle in another temporary vacuum of discontent, b u i l d i n g " f o r her- s e l f a world in which she moved roman- t i c a l l y , f i n e l y , and a l i t t l e t r a g i c a l l y , with Horace s i t t i n g beside her and watching her and watching both Belle i n her self-imposed and t r a g i c r o l e , and himself performing his part l i k e the old actor whose hair i s t h i n and whose p r o f i l e i s escaping him v i a his chin, but who can play to any cue at a moment's notice while the younger men chew t h e i r b i t t e r thumbs in the wings. (194) Notice, however, the difference i n Horace's reaction to t h i s self-conscious game-playing. Unlike Bayard, who throws himself f u l l y into the role he plays, Horace i s unaware of the dramatic p o t e n t i a l of his various scenes. One need only compare t h e i r respective re- turns to Jefferson to see the difference. Horace a r r i v e s in "wretchedly-fitting Khaki" and laden with parcels, and upon meeting his s i s t e r at the s t a t i o n , stands saying '"Dear old Narcy,' stroking his hands on her face, u t t e r l y oblivious of his surroundings*.' (162) . Bayard, 22. on the other hand, jumps o f f the t r a i n before i t reaches the st a t i o n and a r r i v e s at his home belatedly, more l i k e a legend than a f l e s h and blood man. I r o n i c a l l y , Bayard, who hopes to enter Jefferson in a manner which w i l l i n - spire the le a s t public comment, in fact creates more of a s t i r than Horace, whose a r r i v a l i s unspectacular and therefore l e s s worthy of comment. Bayard's unusual a r r i v a l i s t y p i c a l of h i s be- haviour. Ostensibly, he i s unconcerned about what people think, but i n a c t u a l i t y , his actions a l l seem designed to create the most public f u r o r . This paradox characterizes also his r e l a t i o n s h i p to Narcissa Benbow, the woman he eventually marries. As Bayard rampages through Jefferson, he i s haunted by the face of one who watches him with "a sense of shrinking, yet fascinated distaste of which he or something he had done was the object" ( 136) . This face, he f i n a l l y r e a l i z e s , belongs to "that Benbow g i r l " (151) , and t h e i r mutual fas c i n a t i o n constantly p u l l s them together u n t i l Narcissa c r i e s : "You beast, you beast, why must you always do these things where I've got to see you?" "I didn't know you were there," Bayard answered mildly, with weak astonishment. (218) I t seems that Bayard i s compelled to perform f o r an au- dience s i m i l a r l y compelled to watch. The bystander and 23. the p a r t i c i p a n t share a symbiotic r e l a t i o n s h i p neither of them i s w i l l i n g (or able) to break. Bayard i s concerned throughout the novel with what people w i l l think of him, and he marries Narcissa Benbow, the woman who seems to be his prime c r i t i c among the watchers, perhaps i n order to manifest more f u l l y his vague f e e l i n g s of g u i l t concerning h i s brother's death. Bayard's actions, indeed, may be explained as an attempt to come to terms with a g u i l t which torments him l a r g e l y because i t has no d i s c e r n i b l e basis, but his actions ultimately r e s u l t i n a c r i s i s , an objective event powerful enough to correlate to his undefined emotions. He wrecks the car i n which he and his grandfather are d r i v i n g and, as a r e s u l t of the accident, the old man suffers a heart attack. A f t e r the grandfather's death i n the motor car, l a r g e l y as a r e s u l t of the grandson's negligence, Bayard f l e e s Jefferson f o r the farm of the McCallums where his g u i l t i s unknown. Here he finds a peace he has not known since his return to Jefferson; he shares the McCallums' t r a n q u i l communion with nature and the land. S i m i l a r l y , when he can submerge himself i n the routine of working the s o i l , he can forget his fear and g u i l t temporarily* For a time the earth held him in a hiatus that might have been c a l l e d contentment. He was up at sunrise, p l a n t i n g things in the ground and 24. watching them grow and tending them Without being aware of the progress of i t he had become submerged in a monotony of days, had been snared by a rhythm of a c t i v i t i e s repeated and repeated u n t i l his muscles grew so f a m i l i a r with them as to get his body through the days without assistance from him at a l l . (203 - 204) Episodes l i k e these, however, are glimpses of a l o s t contentment that only accentuate the tormented existence Bayard usually l i v e s . When one of the brothers decides to v i s i t town, Bayard fears the discovery of his g u i l t i "Then he r e a l i z e d that Rafe, Lee, whoever went, would t a l k to people, would learn about that which he had not the courage to t e l l them" (333). He must therefore f l e e his sanctuary. F i n a l l y , Bayard i s driven away from Jefferson by his g u i l t and dies in an unflyable aero- plane, making a l a s t senseless gesture equivalent to the one made by his brother, John, who jumped from his burning f i g h t e r plane, thumbing his nose. Narcissa Benbow h e r s e l f becomes, i n another sub- plot of the novel, the person watched rather than the watcher. Here, and i n a short story which develops t h i s p l o t , "There Was a Queen," Faulkner continues his examina- t i o n of the nature of honour and reputation. E a r l y in the novel, Narcissa shows Aunt Jenny an obscene and 2 5 . anonymous l e t t e r she has receivedj when Jenny i n s i s t s she go to the a u t h o r i t i e s , Narcissa protests: "No, no; please! I don't want anybody else to know about i t . . ... I ' l l tear i t up . . .,. I would have sooner, but I wanted to t e l l somebody. I t — i t — I thought I wouldn't f e e l so f i l t h y , a f t e r I had shown i t to somebody els e . " (68 - 69) Aunt Jenny suggests obliquely that the l e t t e r s have struck a chord i n Narcissa's being and the fact that she saves subsequent l e t t e r s helps to confirm t h i s . F i n a l l y , when Snopes, who has been the author of the l e t t e r s , s t e a l s them back from her room, she i s f r a n t i c with worry: what she had done with those other l e t t e r s she could not remember, and not being able to gave her moments of d e f i n i t e f e a r when she considered the p o s s i b i l i t y that people might learn that some one had had such thoughts about her and put them into words. ( 3 0 1 ) What Faulkner i s attempting to do with t h i s p a r t i c u l a r subplot of S a r t o r i s i s not quite c l e a r , but when we read i t in r e l a t i o n to "There Was a Queen," much more about i t , and about S a r t o r i s as a whole, becomes obvious. Faulkner has developed the theme of true honour versus reputation as manifested i n the atmosphere of a small town. Narcissa i s disturbed not by the obscene l e t t e r s but by the p o s s i b i l i t y the town might learn about them and thereby think of her i n terms of t h e i r contents. 2 6 . S i m i l a r l y i Bayard, forced by the S a r t o r i s t r a d i t i o n to play out the role of hero and gentleman, i s at peace only when he i s divorced from s o c i a l opinion as a wholej at McCallums', where no one knows of his recent actions, he i s honorable u n t i l Lafe goes to town, where he w i l l presumably learn of the grandfather's death. In "There Was a Queen," Faulkner develops t h i s contrast e x p l i c i t l y . Narcissa, now Bayard's widow, i s confronted by a detective who has found the Snopes l e t t e r s written so long ago. In order to regain them, she o f f e r s h e r s e l f to t h i s stranger. In other words, to avoid the reputation the l e t t e r s might give her, she sa- c r i f i c e s her previously i n v i o l a t e honour, i r o n i c a l l y thereby making the f i c t i o n a f a c t : "I had to do i t . They were minej I had to get them back. That was the only way I could do i t . But I would have done more than that. So I got them. And now they are burned up. Nobody w i l l 7 ever see them." Aunt Jenny has taken a d i f f e r e n t a t t i - tude to the s i t u a t i o n ; she has said. " i t was better f o r the world to know that a lady had received a l e t t e r l i k e that, than to have one man in secret thinking such things about her, unpunished" (739). Elnora, the ex-slave who i s the bystander of t h i s story, expresses contempt f o r Narcissa, who, she says, i s not "quality" l i k e Aunt Jenny, 2?. but Elnora never learns about the reason f o r Narcissa's t r i p to Memphis (where the exchange of honour fo r repu- t a t i o n takes place). This i s s i g n i f i c a n t , f o r i t i s just to prevent the Elnoras of the world from lear n i n g of her "disgrace" that Narcissa s a c r i f i c e s her honour. For Aunt Jenny, a member of the older generation and a true queen, honour and reputation are i n e x t r i c a b l e , but f o r Narcissa the two have become d i s c r e t e . Both Narcissa and Bayard pattern t h e i r l i v e s to s a t i s f y the unspoken demands of a communal voice which, though not as d i s t i n c t l y formulated as i n Soldiers', Pay, nevertheless exerts a powerful influence upon the protagonists of S a r t o r i s . In As I Lay Dying, (1930) Faulkner transforms the chorus which we have seen presented i n Soldier^':' Pay and S a r t o r i s into an i n t e g r a l part of the novel's structure and s i g n i f i c a n c e , Northrop Frye, i n his Anatomy of C r i t i - cism, makes a comment about the chorus which i s relevant to t h i s novels "The chorus or chorus character i s , so to speak, the embryonic germ of comedy in tragedy, just as the refuser of f e s t i v i t y , the melancholy Jaques or g Alceste, i s a t r a g i c germ in comedy." In subsequent chapters we w i l l see the relevance of t h i s statement to a number of Faulkner's bystander f i g u r e s , but here we are 28. concerned only with the c o l l e c t i v e bystander or chorus. Previously, we saw i n Soldiers'-:' Pay and Sa r t o r i s that the town represented a conservative, cautious group contrasting markedly with the protagonists. In Frye's terms, i f Bayard S a r t o r i s partook of the mood of Jefferson»he would have s e t t l e d down happily with Narcissa rather than pursuing his s e l f - d e s t r u c t i v e course. In As I Lay Dying ( 1 9 3 0 ) , the contrast i s not so simple. In that novel, the eight narrators who are not members of the Bundren 'family, the "reverberators" as Olga Vickery c a l l s them, view the agonies and t r i a l s of the family from a distance which mutes the pain and accentu- ates the comic aspects of the pilgrimage: "What i s horror and pain f o r the family becomes farce f o r those who are not themselves involved and who merely observe with the Q p h y s i c a l eye." 7 In f i l m i c terms, one might say that close-up i s f o r sympathy and distance shots f o r comedy. When we, the audience, view too c l o s e l y the comic victim, our laughter turns to sympathy. What Faulkner has done i s to mingle the two responses, the sympathetic and the comic, to a large extent by means of the choric device. From a distance we can do l i t t l e but laugh at the l u d i - crous nature of the Bundrens* comic odyssey with Addle*s i l l - u s e d and r a p i d l y decaying body. But as we enter the 2 9 . tormented and obsessed minds of each member of the f a m i l y i n t u r n , we r e a c t to them s y m p a t h e t i c a l l y . I t i s not t h a t we experience a g r a d u a l l y d e v e l o p i n g awareness of c h a r a c t e r as might have been the case with an omniscient n a r r a t o r . Rather we experience s i m u l t a n e o u s l y both modes, the t r a g i c and the comic, because of the l a y e r e d s t r u c - t u r e of the n o v e l , Bundren p r o t a g o n i s t s juxtaposed a g a i n s t the watchin-g chorus of bystanders. The j u x t a p o s i t i o n r e - s u l t s u l t i m a t e l y , as Edmond L . Volpe says, i n "the rea d e r ' s awareness o f the amusing and t r a g i c i n c o n g r u i t i e s between the i n d i v i d u a l ' s v i s i o n o f h i m s e l f and h i s neighbours' views of him." 1^ Barbara M. Cross, i n her "Apocalypse and Comedy i n As I Lay D y i n g , " 1 1 r e v e a l s another aspect of t h i s s t r u c t u r e ; she sees a c o n t r a s t between the r e g e n e r a t i v e p o t e n t i a l of a s e l f - l e s s r i t u a l , the f u n e r a l p r o c e s s i o n , and the s e l f i s h i n t e r e s t s t h a t t r a n s f o r m the journey i n t o a f a r c e . I t i s true t h a t , as she says, members of the f a m i l y l i k e Anse and Dewey D e l l p a r t i c i p a t e i n the f u n e r a l p r o c e s s i o n i n t o J e f f e r s o n f o r reasons o t h e r than r e s p e c t f o r the dead, but t h i s divergence of m o t i v a t i o n s i s not the e s s e n t i a l component of the complexity many c r i t i c s have noted i n the n o v e l , the f u s i o n of. tragedy and comedy. F o r i t i s when we are c l o s e to the p r e o c c u p a t i o n s 30. of Dewey D e l l , Vardaman, and the others that we f e e l sympathy; only when we are removed to the po s i t i o n of a bystander do we f u l l y appreciate the humour. Anse's i s a s l i g h t l y d i f f e r e n t case, f o r we are very seldom offered any insight into his mind; he has only three of the narrative chapters and those very short ones. But in tfee^ case of the other Bundrens,3we are constantly aware of the contrast between the power of t h e i r own emotions and the amusement with which others regard them. Dewey D e l l provides the best example. We share her panic and despair when she fears to ask Dr. Peabody f o r help: But I know i t i s there because God gave woman a sign when something has happened bad. I t ' s because I am alone. I f I could just f e e l i t , i t would be d i f f e r e n t , because I would not be alone. But i f I were not alone, everybody would know i t . And he could do so much f o r me, and then I would not be 1 2 alone. Then I could be a l l r i g h t alone. Of course, a l l of the Bundrens, l i k e Dewey D e l l , are i n a very r e a l sense alone. They each bear a personal pre- occupation which they are unw i l l i n g or unable to commun- i c a t e . Indeed, t h i s sense of aloneness and i s o l a t i o n i s a pervasive q u a l i t y of the book, to a large extent because of the choric structure, Dewey D e l l , whom we have seen 3 1 . s u f f e r i n g ("I believe in God, God. God, I believe i n God." [424]) becomes the object of a t r a d i t i o n a l country joke, the story of the deceived maiden, i n the Mao3*owan chapter. Mao^owan's remarks have the q u a l i t y of crude country humours "You come back at ten o'clock to-night and I ' l l give you the r e s t of i t and perform the opera- t i o n . . ... I t won't hurt you. You've had the same operation before. Ever hear about the hair of the dog?" (522) But while we can appreciate the comedy of the episode from the druggist's point of view, we s t i l l do not forget Dewey De l l ' s anguish as i t has been presented to us. The ruminations of Cora T u l l best i l l u s t r a t e t h i s d u a l i t y between personal concerns and choric d i s - tance . Again and again, Faulkner demonstrates the error of Cora's opinions and moral judgements by juxtaposing her thought and the thoughts of another character. Michael Millgate's comment that "A major source of i r o n i c , and often comic, e f f e c t s in As I Lay Dying i s the f r e - quency with which characters are completely mistaken i n in t h e i r judgements of each other, and of themselves," 1-^ applies most c l o s e l y to Cora's evaluations. For instance, in one of Darl's chapters, we watch him persuading Anse and Jewel to leave with the wagon to earn three d o l l a r s 3 2 . c a r t i n g wood in spite of the fact that Addie, his mother, i s dying. But in the subsequent section we fi n d Cora T u l l , and i n d i r e c t l y her husband Vernon, i n t e r p r e t i n g the departure in a very d i f f e r e n t fashion: I t was the sweetest thing I ever saw. It was l i k e he knew he would never see her again, that Anse Bundren was d r i v i n g him from his mother's death- bed, never to see her in t h i s world again. I always said Darl was d i f f e r e n t from those others. I always said he was the only one of them that had his mother's nature, had any natural a f f e c t i o n . Not that Jewel . . . . . Not him to miss a chance to make that extra three d o l l a r s at the price of his mother's good-bye kiss Mr. T u l l says Darl almost begged tnem on his knees not to force him to leave her i n her condition. But nothing would do but Anse and Jewel must make that three d o l l a r s . ( 3 5 2 ) These judgements are so wrong they are comic, as are most of Cora's opinions about the Bundrens. She sees the journey as a sign of the family's indifference instead of as a pilgrimage ( i n part) to do t h e i r mother's w i l l t "she was not cold in the c o f f i n before they were c a r t i n g her f o r t y miles away to bury her, f l o u t i n g the w i l l of God to do i t . Refusing to l e t her l i e i n the same earth with those Bundrens" ( 3 5 3 ) . A s even Vernon T u l l points out, the journey was Addie's wish, but Cora refuses to recognize any f a c t that does not f i t her r i g i d moral system, and therefore she i s constantly mistaken i n her 33. perceptions. This conservative morality which we saw to be an e s s e n t i a l element of the choric response i n Sold jerk's • Pay and S a r t o r i s , i s represented further in As I Lay Dying by Moseley, the f i r s t druggist Dewey D e l l v i s i t s . His moral indignation at being asked to aid i n abortion i s comics "Me, a respectable druggist, that's kept store and raised a family and been a church-member f o r f i f t y - s i x years i n t h i s town. I'm a good mind to t e l l your f o l k s myself, i f I can just f i n d who they are" (192). Like Cora, Moseley reacts to Dewey D e l l in terms of h i s personal preoccupationsj his moral outrage excludes sym- pathetic perception. Armstid i s another of the choric bystanders who views the Bundren odyssey from a distance and, as a r e s u l t , reaches conclusions the reader f e e l s to be i n - accurate. Seen from Armstid's point of view, Anse's trading of Jewel's horse to Snopes f o r a team of mules emerges as another comic episode even though we are aware of the intense f e e l i n g Jewel has f o r his horse. As Jewel reacts to the l a t e s t of Anse's many outrages, Armstid says: I be durn, i f a man can't keep the upper hand of his own sons, he ought to run them away from him, no matter how big they are. And i f he can't do that, I be durn i f he oughtn't to leave himself. I be durn i f I wouldn't. ( 4 7 8 - 4 7 9 ) 34. One finds t h i s statement s i n g u l a r l y inappropriate a f t e r watching the agonized journey of the Bundren sons as they are forced to carry t h e i r useless father as well as t h e i r dead mother across the landscape of M i s s i s s i p p i . When Jewel departs hurriedly with his horse, Arrastid pre- d i c t s : "Well, t h a t ' l l be the l a s t t h e y ' l l ever see of him now, sho enough" (481). But Armstid, l i k e Cora T u l l , f a i l s to appreciate the depth of Jewel's fee l i n g s f o r h i s mother soon a f t e r , Jewel reappears to propel the funeral procession again along the road to Jefferson. So Cora, Vernon T u l l , Moseley, MacG.owan, and Armstid act as the members of a chorus before which the Bundrens perform. They each help to hig h l i g h t the comic q u a l i t y of an action which threatens to overwhelm us with i t s t r a g i c implications when we see the journey through the eyes of each p a r t i c u l a r Bundren. We w i l l speak of t h i s aspect further in a l a t e r chapter when we analyze Darl's role i n the novel. I t i s enough to say here that these t r a g i c implications are concerned with the e s s e n t i a l i s o l a t i o n of a l l humanityj i r o n i c a l l y , t h i s sense of i s o l a t i o n i s strengthened by the comic errors and misapprehensions of the choric bystanders. As Cleanth Brooks states, "The e s s e n t i a l i s o l a t i o n of the characters i s unobtrusively enforced by the fact that each part of 35. the novel i s presented through the consciousness of a p a r t i c u l a r character. We are always within one mind, never in some domain of o b j e c t i v i t y and commonly held value s V 1 Before leaving t h i s examination of the novel's choric bystanders, we must deal with one more who d i f f e r s g r e a t l y from the others previously discussed. This i s Doc Peabody, whose two monologues in a sense frame the action of the novel, one occulting p r i o r to the journey, the other coming a f t e r the journey i s f i n i s h e d . Peabody, l i k e the others, adds to the comic tone of the novel, but hi s humour i s laced with a stronger anger which turns the comedy to b i t t e r irony. When he i s summoned to Addie's bedside, he thinks i When Anse f i n a l l y sent f o r me of his accord, I said "He has wore her out at l a s t . " And I said a damn good thing and at f i r s t I would not go because there might be something I could do and I would have to haul her back, by God. (366) Later i n the novel, a f t e r Anse has buried Addie with borrowed shovels, he says: "That's r i g h t . . . Of course he'd have to borrow a spade to bury his wife with. Unless he could borrow a hole i n the ground. Too bad you a l l didn't put him in i t too. .."( 516) Peabody expresses p e r f e c t l y the sense of anger we f e e l at 36. Anse's wily s h i f t l e s s n e s s and his a b i l i t y to take ad- vantage of those around him. At the University of V i r g i n i a , Faulkner made a comment upon Peabody's role in the novel which reveals another dimension of his use of the chorus t Mainly i t was to give f o r the moment what may be c a l l e d a nudge of cred- i b i l i t y to a condition which was getting close to the realm of unbelief. That i s , he brought i n from comparatively the metropolitan outland f o r a moment which says, Well, i f he comes out there and sees these people, well then maybe ±hey do e x i s t . Up to that time they were functioning in t h i s bizarre fashion almost inside a vacuum, and pretty soon you wouldn't have believed i t u n t i l some stranger came in as a witness. Another trick.15 In other words, Peabody acts as a representative of the reader within the action and acts as a stepping stone between the r e a l i t y of our l i f e and the f a n t a s t i c journey of the Bundrens. Furthermore, as we have seen in previous novels, the choric device i s j u s t i f i e d by the f a c t that community opinion i s an important f a c t o r i n shaping the action of the protagonists. In addition to the twin p e r i l s of f i r e and water, the Bundrens must also hurdle the b a r r i e r of public opinion in t h e i r e f f o r t to take Addie to Jefferson. Samson, among others, voices the common sense opinion the Bundrens defy: 37. Because I got Just as much respect f o r the dead as ere a man, but you've got to respect the dead themselves, and a woman that's been dead i n a box four days, the best way to respeot her i s to get her into the ground as quick as you can. ( 110) As the Bundrens enter Jefferson, we get a de- monstration of the importance of public opinion to Jewel. When a passerby reacts i n horror to the smell emanating from the Bundren wagon, Jewel whirls to attack him« Darl prevents a f i g h t but only a f t e r an elaborate s a t i s f y i n g of respective senses of outraged honour. In t h i s i n c i - dent, we get an i n d i c a t i o n of why Jewel i s so constantly angryi i n h i s singleminded attempt to transport Addle's c o f f i n to Jefferson, he i s confronting community opinion, an opinion h i s s e n s i t i v i t y f e e l s very strongly. , Darl's growing i n s a n i t y too i s defined la terms of "what people think." When Darl begins to laugh i n the presence of h i s mother's c o f f i n , Anse thinksi "How many times I told him i t ' s doing such things as that that makes f o l k s t a l k about him" (99). Samson r e f e r s to him i n a s i m i l a r wayi "He don't say nothing; Just look a t me with them queer eyes of hisn that makes f o l k s t a l k " (119). These references to public opinion about Darl's strangeness f i n d t h e i r culmination i n Cash's vUeo oFifisarut*/: Sometimes I a i n ' t so sho who's got ere a r i g h t to say when a man i s crazy and 38. when he a i n t . Sometimes I think i t a i n t none of us pure crazy and a i n t none of us pure sane u n t i l the balanoe of us talks him that-a-way. I t ' s l i k e i t a i n t so much what a fellow does but i t ' s the way the majority of f o l k s i s looking at him when he does i t . (510) Here then i s the ultimate J u s t i f i c a t i o n of the choric structure of the noveli the c o l l e c t i v e bystanders are e s s e n t i a l to the a c t i o n of the novel, f o r they influence the behaviour of those they watch, and the c e n t r a l irony of the novel i s the contrast between the anguish of the ce n t r a l characters and the comic view of those who watch them, dismissing them as f a r c i c a l or insane. In "A Rose f o r Emily," a short story published i n a c o l l e c t i o n c a l l e d These Thirteen i n 1931t Faulkner takes the next l o g i c a l step i n h i s fusion-of the choric bystander with the a c t i o n j he makes the chorus the narra- t o r . Throughout the story, the f i r s t person narrator(s) i s (are) p l u r a l . Only those events which the town as a whole knows or which*indlvidual_members of the town have d iscovered and transmitted to the others i n the form of gossip are re l a t e d . "We had long thought of them as a tableau," the narrator says, or "when she got to be . t h i r t y and was s t i l l s i n g l e , we were not exactly pleased, but v i n d i c a t e d . " 1 ^ Even i n the end, when Miss Emily's bedroom i s entered, i t . i s as i f the entire town, the p l u r a l 39. narrators, are there: "For a long while we just stood there, looking down at the profound and f l e s h l e s s g r i n . . ... Then we noticed that i n the second p i l l o w was the indentation of a head" (130). In the case of Miss Emily's purchase of arsenic, on the other hand, the reader presumes that the druggist himself provides the town with the d e t a i l s of the scene since he i s apparently the only other person present. Emily's story i s made up of shards of incomplete information, of glimpses caught from afar. The speculations of the town as a whole hy- pothesize and interpolate the missing l i n k s . The device ueems strange at f i r s t , but again we f i n d the choric narrators an i n t e g r a l part of the story's s i g n i f i c a n c e . Miss Emily, deprived by her father of a l l male companionship and trapped in a society where an old maid i s a figure of fun to be p i t i e d , bears her face " l i k e a strained f l a g " (126) against the opinions of her society. There i s a continual sense, as there was i n As I Lay Dying, of a watching community whose opinions may be resented but never ignored. After-the beginning of Emily's presumed a f f a i r , the narrator says. She carried her head high enough — even when we believed that she had f a l l e n . I t was as i f she demanded more than ever the recognition of her d i g n i t y as the l a s t Grierson; as i f i t had wanted that touch of earthiness to re- a f f i r m her imperviousness. (125) 40. The appearance of indifference to, or defiance of, community opinion i s , however, s u p e r f i c i a l . As the younger generation gradually assumes control of the town, the elaborate subterfuges executed by men l i k e Colonel S a r t o r i s to protect Miss Emily's pride give way to tense confrontations which are evidence of a growing disrespect. Miss Emily breaks a l l contact with the town, refusing even to allow a postbox on her property (128). Miss Emily's actions are, in f a c t , dictated to a considerable extent by her awareness of the watching town. Her secretiveness and her i s o l a t i o n seem attempts to f r u s t r a t e i t s c u r i o s i t y . When Homer Barron, her lover, threatens to abandon her, she poisons him, thereby keeping him by her and simultaneously avoiding, in her mind, the public appearance of a j i l t e d woman. The sense of the watching town dominates the story as a r e s u l t of the use of the choric narrator, and Emily's actions are p a r t i a l l y explained by her desperate need f o r security i n the face of the town's prying c u r i o s i t y . This awareness of an established s o c i a l m i l i e u which watches and evaluates the actions of each i n d i v i - dual i s pervasive not only in the works I have discussed but in most of Faulkner's f i c t i o n as we s h a l l see, by the by, i n l a t e r chapters. Indeed, the tension between 41. the protagonist and h i s society i s one of the character- i s t i c elements of Faulkner's writing, and when i t does not appear, as in The Wild Palms, where there i s no es- tablished society to counterpoint the actions of the two lovers, the r e s u l t i s often a slackness not present in his greater works. Further, i t i s from t h i s sense of a consistent s o c i a l bystander, I w i l l contend i n subse- quent chapters, that Faulkner develops the i n d i v i d u a l bystander who finds his culmination i n Gavin Stevens and the l a t e r novels. 42. Footnotes Cleanth Brooks, William Faulknert The Yoknapa- tavrpha Country (1963; rpt . New Haven and London: Yale University Press, 1966), p. 5 2 . 2 William Faulkner, SoldierSb Pay (1926; rpt . New York: L i v e r i g h t Publishing Corporation, 195^)t p. 111. A l l subsequent references to t h i s e d i t i o n w i l l appear i n the text. Olga Vickery, The Novels of William Faulkner: A C r i t i c a l Interpretation (1959» r p t . Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1964), p. 2. h. Michael M i l l g a t e , The Achievement of William. Faulkner (New York: Random House, 1966)» P' 64. : I ^ Brooks, p. 107. ^ William Faulkner, S a r t o r i s (1932; r p t . London:. Chatto and Windus, 1954), p. 7 1 . A l l subsequent references to t h i s e d i t i o n w i l l appear i n the text. ^ William Faulkner, Collected Stories of William Faulkner (New York: Random House, 1950), p. 741. A l l subsequent references to t h i s e d i t i o n w i l l appear in the text. Q Northrop Frye, Anatomy of C r i t i c i s m : Four Essays (1957; rpt . New York: Atheneum, 1966), p. 218. ^ Vickery, p. 6 5 . 1 0 Edmond L. Volpe, A Reader's Guide to William Faulkner (New Yorks Noonday Press, 1964), p. 1 2 9 . 1 1 Barbara M. Cross, "Apocalypse and Comedy i n As I Lay Dying," Texas Studies in Li t e r a t u r e and Language, 3 (Summer 1 9 6 1 ) , 2 5 8 . 1 2 William Faulkner, As I Lay Dying ( 1 9 3 0 ; r p t . New York: Random House, 19.W. pp. 379 - 380. A l l subsequent references to t h i s e d i t i o n w i l l appear i n the text. 1 3 M i l l g a t e , p. 1 0 6 . *3. Brooks, p. 1 5 9 . Frederick L. Gwynn and Joseph L. Blotner, eds., Faulkner in the University: Class Conferences at the University of V i r g i n i a , 1 9 5 7 - 1 9 5 8 ( 1 9 5 9 ; rpt. New York: Vintage Books, 1 9 6 5 ) . pp. 1 1 3 - 114. ^ Faulkner, Collected S t o r i e s , p. 1 2 3 . CHAPTER TWO THE INDIVIDUAL BYSTANDER AND THE SUBJECTIVITY OF PERCEPTION In Chapter One, I have demonstrated how F a u l k n e r f r e q u e n t l y juxtaposes the a c t i o n s of h i s pro- t a g o n i s t s with a commenting c h o r i c v o i c e and have suggested t h a t the dominant c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s o f t h a t v o i c e are cau- t i o n and c o n s e r v a t i s m . O b v i o u s l y the c h o r i c comments are seldom a u t h o r i a l but are r a t h e r designed to i l l u s t r a t e the f o r c e and impact of the community upon the i n d i v i d u a l . When we move from c o n s i d e r a t i o n o f the c o l l e c t i v e by- s t a n d e r to an examination o f the i n d i v i d u a l bystander, how- ever, the q u e s t i o n o f whether p a r t i c u l a r c h a r a c t e r s r e p r e - sent the author's p o i n t o f view becomes more d i f f i c u l t . Many c r i t i c s have s e l e c t e d c h a r a c t e r s i n the v a r i o u s novels,who, they f e e l , r e p r e s e n t F a u l k n e r ' s o p i n i o n . Hyatt Waggoner, f o r i n s t a n c e , f i n d s t h i s kind of c h a r a c t e r f r e q u e n t l y even i n the n o v e l s o f F a u l k n e r ' s major p e r i o d (1929-36) and sees i n h i s l a t e r p e r i o d "a tendency to make h i s themes e x p l i c i t through the use of spokesman charac- t e r s . " 1 Joseph Gold d i v i d e s F a u l k n e r ' s work a t Go Down, Moses and suggests t h a t i n the e a r l i e r p a r t of h i s c a r e e r he presented metaphor and a c t i o n while i n the l a t t e r h a l f he s u b s t i t u t e d statement and d i s c o u r s e . In a l a t e r chapter I w i l l attempt to show t h a t the g e n e r a l c r i t i c a l *5. attitude to many of the l a t e r works, p a r t i c u l a r l y the "Gavin Stevens f i c t i o n " , i s mistaken. This tendency to f i n d spokesman characters appears even in discussion of the major works, and therefore I s h a l l make i t part, of my task in t h i s chapter to suggest that the mistaken c r i t i c i s m of the l a t e r works i s i n c i p i e n t in the c r i t i - cism of the f i c t i o n of Faulkner's "major period." My argument i s , b a s i c a l l y , that, in the novels of his major period, Faulkner repeatedly portrayed the s u b j e c t i v i t y of human perception, a theme which precludes the device of an authorial spokesman who w i l l give the questing reader "the Word." In these novels, none of the characters i s t o t a l l y correct, none is an omniscient pseudo-narrator. Faulkner himself declared: "I'm not ex- pressing my own ideas i n the s t o r i e s I t e l l , I'm t e l l i n g about people, and these people express ideas which some- times are mine, sometimes are not mine."-^ Of course, writers, Faulkner among them, are often not accurate c r i - t i c s of t h e i r own work. I t i s , therefore, necessary to demonstrate t h i s point by an examination of several of the works themselves. In many of his novels, Faulkner presents i n d i v i d u a l s whose primary role i s that of passive bystander rather than active p a r t i c i p a n t ; as the n o v e l i s t develops, he becomes more and more interested in the type of the 4 6 . bystander and the influence that type can have by the act of watching upon the events he witnesses. The theme i s not a new one in l i t e r a t u r e i M e l v i l l e in Moby Dick i s s i m i l a r l y interested as much in the way men see r e a l i t y as in r e a l i t y i t s e l f : Henry James focuses upon the act of perception i t s e l f in novels l i k e The Golden Bowl. But Faulkner, as I have suggested in the f i r s t chapter, comes to the theme of perception from his own Southern back- ground as the inhabitant of a small town. The Sound and the Fury - (1929) i s the f i r s t im- portant example of t h i s theme in Faulkner's canon. One way to approach the problem of point of view i n the novel i s through a comparison with "That Evening Sun", a short story with the same cast of c h a r a c t e r s — t h e four Compson chil d r e n . In the story, the four children are the inno- cent and unwitting witnesses of the agony of Nancy, a black washerwoman who fears that Jesus, the husband she has cuckolded, w i l l return to k i l l her. The i r o n i c tension between Nancy's desperate fear and the children's ignor- ance of danger permeates the story. The opening section of The Sound and the Fury provides us with an incident predicated on a s i m i l a r irony: t h i s section i s of added in t e r e s t because Faulkner has revealed that i t was the germ of the entire novel. The 47. incident i s Damuddy's death; as the funeral progresses inside the house, the children, outside i n the dark, spe- culate about what i s happening. One can see the obvious s i m i l a r i t i e s : four ignorant witnesses observing a horror (death) which they cannot understand. But more important i s the tableau of the three Compson brothers standing watching t h e i r s i s t e r ' s attempts to see from the branch of a tree what i s happening inside the house. Faulkner has said: I t began with the picture of the l i t t l e g i r l ' s muddy drawers, climbing that tree to look in the p a r l o r window with her brothers that didn't hav? the courage to climb the tree waiting to see what she saw. And I t r i e d f i r s t to t e l l i t with one brother, and that wasn't enough. That was Section One. I t r i e d with another brother, and that wasn't enough. That was Section Two. I t r i e d the t h i r d brother, because Caddy was s t i l l to me too beauti- f u l and too moving to reduce her to t e l l i n g what was going on, that i t would be more passionate to see her through somebody else's eyes, I thought. And that f a i l e d and I t r i e d myself--—the fourth section . to t e l l what happened, and I s t i l l f a i l e d . This famous quotation, with i t s humorous description of Faulkner's method of composition, reveals the central con- cept of the novel to be the viewing by a number of by- standers, passive because they "didn't have the courage to climb," of the active p a r t i c i p a n t , Caddy, t h e i r s i s t e r , whose muddy drawers represent for each one of them her 4 8 . corruption by sex. Each brother reveals i n his section an obsession with the actions of his s i s t e r , an obsession which controls and l i m i t s his perceptions. As Lawrence E. Bowling says, " i n the f i r s t three sections of The Sound and the Fury the author i s not pr i m a r i l y concerned with presenting the facts of a story, but with presenting the reactions of certain characters to these f a c t s and thereby revealing i n d i v i d u a l states of mind."-' As a re- s u l t , i t i s impossible to see any brother as a r e l i a b l e a r b i t e r of r e a l i t y ; therefore i t i s dangerous to regard e i t h e r Jason, Quentin, or Benjy as Faulkner's spokesman. Nevertheless, many c r i t i c s have maintained that, although Jason's and Quentin's visions of r e a l i t y are un- r e l i a b l e , Benjy can be turned to f o r an i n v a r i a b l y true representation of Compson h i s t o r y . Hyatt Waggoner, f o r instance, suggests that Benjy's r e c o l l e c t i o n s "are inno- cent memories i n several senses events Innocently re- membered, without s p e c i a l bias and without apparent i n - te r p r e t a t i o n . " I r v i n g Howe agrees that Benjy's p o s i t i o n i s non-interpretive: "Being an i d i o t he i s exempt from the main course of action and untainted by s e l f - i n t e r e s t . Because he cannot colour or shape his memories, his mind serves the novel as an e n t i r e l y f a i t h f u l glass."'' I t i s true that Benjy's section presents r e a l i t y 4 9 . as he sees i t , but one can say as much about Quention's or Jason's sections. Perhaps one reason f o r the frequent representation of Benjy as an undistorting mirror i s the ease with which his d i s t o r t i o n s are perceived. For i n - stance, at the purely physical l e v e l , Benjy's description of sleep as bright shapes l i k e f i r e can be understood from a d d i t i o n a l d e t a i l s he reports. At another l e v e l , however, Benjy's reaction to Caddy's i n i t i a l experimentation with sex argues a condemnation as r i g i d and demanding as Quentin's. When Caddy wears perfume, he reacts with a bellow of rage, his reply to everything that displeases him. Indeed, Benjy's entire section i s ordered by his i n a r t i c u l a t e moral judgments, not always sympathetic, which he uses i n an attempt to control his world. For instance, Benjy meets Caddy as she returns from one of her assignations! Caddy came to the door and stood there, looking at Father and Mother. Her eyes flew at me, and away, I began to cry. I t went loud and I got up. Caddy came i n and stood with her back to the wall, looking at me. I went toward her, crying, and she shrank against the wall and I saw her eyes and I cr i e d louder and pulled at her dress. She put her hands out but I pulled at her dress. Her eyes ran." This i s a t e r r i f y i n g p i c t u r e . Whether or not Caddy's promiscuity i s r i g h t l y judged i s not a real, problem heret the point i s that Benjy does make judgments of the 5 0 . actions he views. One should emphasize the fac t that Benjy as much as his two brothers presents an interpre- t i v e v i s i o n of r e a l i t y . It has often been recognized that Quentin c l o s e l y i d e n t i f i e s sexuality and death, but i t i s i n - te r e s t i n g to note that Benjy's mind makes a s i m i l a r i d e n t i f i c a t i o n . Benjy's memories of the events surrounding Damuddy's funeral ( 4 5 - 4 7 ) lead him d i r e c t l y into re- c o l l e c t i o n s of Caddy's marriage; both events are, f o r him, d i s t u r b i n g occurrences: "Then I saw Caddy, with flowers i n her hair, and a long v e i l l i k e shining wind. Caddy Caddy" ( 4 7 ) . Benjy, of course, cannot consciously p a r a l l e l the marriage and the funeral f o r he i s incapable of symbolic thought, but the juxtaposition of these two di s t u r b i n g events i n his mind reinforces Quentin's simi- l a r reactions at a more complex l e v e l . The point i s that Benjy's memory i s highly se- l e c t i v e ; i t returns obsessively, again and again, to the people and events which preoccupy him. His section i s a combination of perceptions which are forced upon him and r e c o l l e c t i o n s he cannot escape. Faulkner's comment about Benjy, that he "loved three things: the pasture which was sold to pay f o r Candace's wedding and to send Quentin to Harvard, his s i s t e r Candace, f i r e l i g h t " ( 4 2 3 ) , defines 5 1 . the l i m i t s of his obsessions. Benjy's memories are se- lective} i n the highly r e s t r i c t e d scope of his wanderings about the Compson farm, he undoubtedly repeats actions and events constantly, but his mind r e c a l l s only those s i m i l a r occurrences related to his obsessions. For i n - stance, i n the opening pages of Benjy's section, we see Benjy catch h i s pants on a n a i l as he crawls through the fence: "Wait a minute." Luster said. "You snagged on that n a i l again. Cant you never crawl through here without snagging on that n a i l . " Caddy uncaught me and we crawled through. (3) Luster's comment makes i t c l e a r that t h i s snagging i s a frequent occurrence, and yet Benjy's mind returns not to a s i m i l a r event two weeks before, but to an occurrence t h i r t y years past, an occurrence related to Caddy. Benjy's tendency to cross time, whether i t be three or t h i r t y years, provides Faulkner with a convenient device f o r rendering one of h i s p r i n c i p a l themes i n The Sound and the Fury. Ey juxtaposition of Benjy's present in 1 9 2 8 with the turn of the century childhood of the Compson children, Faulkner can demonstrate the progressive degradation of the family. As I r v i n g Howe suggests, "By making the past seem simultaneous with the present, Faulkner gains remarkable moments of pathos, moments 5 2 . sounding the i r r e v o c a b l e sadness t h a t comes from a r e c o g - o n i t i o n o f d e c l i n e and f a i l u r e . " 7 F o r i n s t a n c e , the jux- t a p o s i t i o n o f Caddy's a s s i g n a t i o n w i t h C h a r l i e and her daughter Quentin's t h i r t y y e a rs l a t e r h e l p s to u n d e r l i n e how much c o n s i d e r a t i o n and tenderness have been l o s t i n the i n t e r i m . Caddy r e a c t s w i t h c o m f o r t i n g a s s u rances, Quentin w i t h s e l f i s h tantrums, to Benjy's i n t e r r u p t i o n s . In t h i s manner, Benjy's s e c t i o n r e i t e r a t e s the statements of F a u l k n e r ' s A.p\jre--n.'<J;i which i t s e l f i s a chronology demonstrating the Compson d e c l i n e . F a u l k n e r d e s c r i b e s Jason as "the c h i l d l e s s b a c h e l o r i n whom ended t h a t l o n g l i n e o f men who had had something i n them o f de- cency and p r i d e even a f t e r they had begun to f a i l a t the i n t e g r i t y and the p r i d e had become mostly v a n i t y and s e l f p i t y " ( 4 1 5 ) , and he r e f e r s to Jason Lycurgus I I as "the l a s t Compson who would not f a i l a t e v e r y t h i n g he touched save l o n g e v i t y or s u i c i d e " ( 4 0 8 ) . T h i s r e n d e r i n g o f l o s s and d e c l i n e i s one o f the s t r u c t u r a l p r i n c i p l e s o f the Benjy s e c t i o n which, w i t h i t s j u x t a p o s i t i o n o f p a s t and p r e s e n t , p r o v i d e s a p i c t u r e o f contentment face to face w i t h l o s s . T h i s j u x t a p o s i t i o n extends even to F a u l k n e r ' s use o f words; a t the l i n g u i s t i c l e v e l , a pun f u l f i l l s the same purpose as s t r u c t u r a l j u x t a p o s i t i o n . Benjy's r e c o l l e c t i o n s f r e q u e n t l y use puns as the bridge between 53. two experiences. The caddies of the golf course remind Benjy of his Caddy, frequently turning his mind away from present experience. S i m i l a r l y , the two Quentin's, one Caddy's brother, the other her daughter, provide p a r a l l e l s f o r Benjy's mind, and the b a l l s the golfers lose in the creek are, f o r Luster at any rate, s i m i l a r to the b a l l s Benjy l o s t at Jackson. Benjy's section repeatedly portrays happiness achieved, then sets i t side by side with a v i s i o n of de- s o l a t i o n and l o s s . Indeed, one of the most moving scenes of harmony occurs near the end of Benjy's section, pro- v i d i n g a measure of the p o s s i b i l i t i e s denied by the Compsons' f a l l s Caddy and Father and Jason were in Mother's cha i r . Jason's eyes were puffed shut and his mouth moved, l i k e t a s t i n g . Caddy's head was on Father's shoulder. Her h a i r was l i k e f i r e , and l i t t l e points of f i r e were in her eyes, and I went and Father l i f t e d me into the chair too, and Caddy held me. She smelled l i k e trees. (88) Even here, Jason introduces a s l i g h t l y d i s q u i e t i n g note, but generally a l l i s contentment. Benjy's v i s i o n of happiness i s doomed, of course, and his frequent bellows of outrage and anguish express his disapproval of change. The problem, however, i s that change i s i n e v i - t a b l e . Caddy, f o r instance, must mature into a woman, 54 and to survive she must t r y to escape the s i c k family that drags her down. In t h i s l i g h t , Benjy's demands upon her are as impossible and destructive as Quentin's. Benjy's ideal l i f e i s an unchanging one. The f i n a l page of the novel shows him enforcing his v i s i o n of order upon r e a l i t y as his bellows drive Luster and Jason to guide the carriage i n the usual paths: The broken flower drooped over Ben's f i s t and his eyes were empty and blue and serene again as cornice and facade flowed smoothly once more from l e f t to rights post and tree, window and doorway, and signboard, each in i t s ordered place. (401) I t i s more generally agreed that Quentin's sec- t i o n presents a v i s i o n of r e a l i t y as l i m i t e d and s t u l t i - f y i n g as Benjy's has been seen to be. Faulkner describes him as one who loved death above a l l , who loved only death, loved and l i v e d in a deliberate and almost perverted a n t i c i p a t i o n of death as a lover loves and d e l i b e r a t e l y r e f r a i n s from the waiting w i l l i n g f r i e n d l y tender i n c r e d i - ble body of his beloved, u n t i l he can no longer bear not the r e f r a i n i n g but the re- s t r a i n t and so f l i n g s , hurls himself, re- l i n q u i s h i n g , drowning. (411) Jean-Paul Sartre, indeed, has suggested that Quentin's entire section i s a r e c o l l e c t i o n by a man at the instant of death by s u i c i d e . Since i t i s in the f i r s t person and the past tense, the story of the day of Quentin's death comes, i n a sense, from beyond the g r a v e . 1 0 Whether 55. or not t h i s i s l i t e r a l l y true, i t suggests the f e e l i n g of death and implacable fate cast over a l l of Quentin's per- ceptions. Shreve's i r o n i c question about Quentin's w e l l - dressed appearance, "Is i t a wedding or a wake?" (100) captures the central obsession of Quentin's section. Quentin*s concern with his s i s t e r ' s maturation drives him to the point of death; her wedding i s , i n a sense,.his funeral. Quentin's revulsion with sex and sensuality do- minates his consciousness. When he thinks of copulation i t i s in a n i m a l i s t i c terms: i t seemed to me that I could hear whispers secret surges smell the beating of hot blood under wild unsecret f l e s h watching against red eyelids the swine untethered i n pairs rushing coupled into the sea. . . . (219) Disgusted by the physical and the material, Quentin attempts to escape into abstraction and s p i r i t u a l i t y . As a r e s u l t , he thinks almost exclusively i n symbolic terms. Nothing i s what i t seems to be f o r Quentin; rather i t re- presents an idea, a concept with which he i s pre-occupied. Melvin Backman says: "Quentin's abstractions seem to me to be c h i e f l y r a t i o n a l i z a t i o n s of inadequacy, as well as a means of putting distance between himself and deeply 11 t r o u b l i n g experiences." In other words, Quentin's sym- b o l i z i n g mode of thought i s both a means of escaping and 56. perceiving r e a l i t y . Whereas Benjy i s limi t e d completely to a perceptual r e a l i t y , Quentin seeks to dwell in a con- ceptual world. For Quentin a wristwatch i s a symbol of inex- orable time bringing decay to a l l he values; more important, his s i s t e r ' s maidenhead i s the symbol of Compson honour and v i r t u e . In t h i s v i s i o n l i e s Quentin's doom, f o r his abstracting and symbolizing conceptions attempt to f i x and r i g i d i f y the fl u x of l i f e . Since he stakes a l l s i g - n i f i c a n c e upon an unchanging absolute, he i s overwhelmed by inev i t a b l e change. Just as Benjy reacts in horror to any change i n the accustomed journey through Jefferson in the Compson carriage, so Quentin objects at a d i f f e r e n t l e v e l to any change i n his s i s t e r ' s p u r i t y . Quentin shares Benjy's concern with Caddy but he dwells continually, as well, upon another member of the Compson family, his father. References to Mr. Compson are as frequent as references to Caddy. It i s obvious that Quentin's father has exerted a strong influence upon him, fo r t h i s section i s f u l l of the words "Father said," and, whether Mr. Compson r e a l i z e s i t or not, the e f f e c t of his cyn i c a l expressions of despair and ennui i s an undermining of his son's values: "Man the sum of his cl i m a t i c ex- periences Father said. Man the sum of what have you. A 5 7 . problem in impure properties carried tediously to an un- varying n i l s stalemate of dust and desire." ( 1 5 3 ) Kr. Compson maintains that "nothing i s even worth the changing of i t " ( 9 6 ) , a statement that profoundly a f f e c t s his sen- s i t i v e son. According to Michael H. Cowan, Quentin attempts "to see himself as a Romantic hero, d e f i e r of 1 2 fate, s a c r i f i c i a l redeemer of damned experience", but his father's pessimistic theories undermine his attempts to regard himself i n t h i s l i g h t . Mr. Compson seems ca- pable, with the aid of his well-used sideboard, of l i v i n g a l i f e with no s i g n i f i c a n c e , but his son desperately needs the meaning the father so e a s i l y denies. His notions of honour decimated by his father's i r o n i c commentary and Caddy's disregard, Quentin sees no other solution than s u i c i d e . Both Quentin and Benjy seem incapable of dealing with change. Their brother Jason, the Compson who has be- come a Snopes, would appear, at f i r s t sight, f l e x i b l e enough to adapt to the modern world his two brothers deny. But Jason too finds i t d i f f i c u l t to t h r i v e . The smell of gasoline makes him sick ( 2 9 6 ) even though he owns an auto- mobile; the stock market's vagaries confuse him; the simple telegraph seems determined to cause him trouble. In gen- e r a l , Jason i s incapable of coping with modern c i v i l i z a t i o n . 5 8 . Whereas his brothers attempt to deny time (and change), Benjy perceiving a l l time as present, and Quentin desper- at e l y attempting to escape a l l clocks, Jason l i v e s within a chronological framework. He i s less than successful, however, in his acceptance of time. Throughout his section Jason constantly hurries to catch up; he i s always l a t e , always off-balance because of the onward rush of change. In one sense, Jason shares his brother's r i g i d i t y . Jason's section of The Sound and the Fury, how- ever, d i f f e r s markedly from the f i r s t two sections of the book. Despite Jason's malicious mind and highly coloured interpretations of r e a l i t y , the reader experiences almost a f e e l i n g of r e l i e f when he moves into the t h i r d section. To leave the introverted and confused obsessions of the Quentin section and turn to Jason's c o l l o q u i a l and i r o n i c tone, i s l i k e stepping from a s t u f f y room into fresh a i r . Jason's opening "Once a bitch always a bi t c h , what I say" (223) launches a b r i l l i a n t d i a t r i b e . Jason i s t o t a l l y e v i l , and yet the vigor of his sarcasm and hate provides a welcome change from the previous section. One reason f o r t h i s reaction i s that Jason's perceptions are closer to our own than any we have met thus f a r in the novel. The Sound and the Fury progresses gradually from the obsessed, non-social visions of Benjy and Quentin through the more recognizable v i s i o n of Jason 5 9 . to the f i n a l s e c t i o n which most c l o s e l y approximates our own. Jason i s as completely obsessed, i n h i s own way, as h i s two b r o t h e r s , but h i s ob s e s s i o n s are those o f h i s s o c i e t y . H i s a n t i - S e m i t i s m and h i s greed f o r money, f o r i n s t a n c e , are the c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s o f some people we know. I t i s t r u e , as Hyatt Waggoner says, t h a t "Jason's c o r r u p t i o n i n t e r p o s e s a whole s e r i e s o f screens 1 3 between the re a d e r and r e a l i t y . " Eut h i s p e r v e r t e d v i s i o n i s , n e v e r t h e l e s s , i n t e r e s t i n g . H i s s a r c a s t i c g i b e s a t h i s mother express the i r r i t a t i o n o f anyone who has witnessed C a r o l i n e Compson's n e u r o t i c whining through the f i r s t two s e c t i o n s : "I know I'm j u s t a t r o u b l e and a burden to you," she says, c r y i n g on the p i l l o w . "I ought to know i t , " I says. "You've been t e l l i n g me t h a t f o r t h i r t y y e a r s . " (22k) There i s an element o f t r u t h , moreover, i n Jason's b i t t e r s e l f - j u s t i f i c a t i o n s ; he says o f h i s f a t h e r : "I never heard of him o f f e r i n g to s e l l a n y t h i n g to send me to Harvard." (2^5) Jason i s the one l e f t with the burden o f s u p p o r t i n g h i s mother and Benjy. Having s a i d t h i s , however, we must emphasize t h a t Jason i s , i n essence, an inhuman s a d i s t who shows no warmth f o r any human being. He i s e q u a l l y o b j e c t i o n a b l e as an a d u l t and a c h i l d . Another source o f the d e l i g h t i n S e c t i o n I I I i s the manner i n which Jason's s e l f i s h and 6 0 . brutal actions bring down misfortune on his own head. His years of cheating his niece, Quentin, of her mother's support money are made meaningless by the g i r l ' s clumsily executed but successful p i l f e r i n g of his strong box. He repeatedly compounds his own troubles. In his search f o r the runaway Quentin, he offends with his ins e n s i t i v e questioning one of the circus men and very nearly gets himself k i l l e d as a r e s u l t . Uncle Job's comment to Jason defines Jason's progress in the novel: "You's too smart fer me. Aint a man in dis town kin keep up wid you f e r smartness. You fools a roan whut so smart he cant even keep up wid h i s s e l f , " he says. . .. "Who's that?" Jason says. "Dat's Mr. Jason Compson," he says. ( 3 1 1 - 3 1 2 ) Part of Jason's fury arises from his sense of being watched, of appearing r i d i c u l o u s . The t h i r d bystander of the novel, become actor himself, i s conscious of a ga l l e r y which watches his every move. Fighting with Quentin, he i s restrained by a sudden awareness of being watched: "By the time I got the car stopped and grabbed her hands there was about a dozen people looking. It made me so mad f o r a minute i t kind of blinded me" ( 2 3 3 ) . Because there have been so many i r r e g u l a r i t i e s in the Compson family already, Jason f e e l s sure the town expects him to be next: 61. And there I was, without any hat, looking l i k e I was crazy too. Like a man would naturally think, one of them i s crazy and another one drowned himself and the other one was turned out into the st r e e t by her husband, what's the reason the r e s t of them are not crazy too. A l l the time I could see them watching me l i k e a hawk, waiting f o r a chance to say Well I'm not surprised I expected i t a l l the- time the whole family's crazy. — (290) He hates not. Quentin's promiscuity but her i n d i s c r e t i o n i ...Like I say i t ' s not that I object to so much; maybe she cant help that, i t ' s because she hasn't even got enough consideration f o r her own family to have any d i s c r e t i o n . I'm af r a i d a l l the time I ' l l run into them r i g h t i n the middle of the stre e t or under a wagon on the square, l i k e a couple of dogs. (299) Jason's sense of being watched i s f a c e t i o u s l y rendered i n the text by the neon sign e l e c t r i c pupil which stares at him as he returns defeated to Jefferson (388). That he appears r i d i c u l o u s only adds to the anger Jason nurses throughout his section, a fury which encompasses a l l he views, be i t Negroes, automobiles, or the weather. The three Compson brothers embody a t r i n i t y of consciousness! each provides a v i s i o n of r e a l i t y moulded by h i s own obsessions and pre-occupations. None of them plays the ro l e of au t h o r i a l spokesman. Rather, each of them presents one way of viewing a r e a l i t y of which the most s i g n i f i c a n t element i s Caddy (or in- Jason's case, her surrogate, Quentin). Many c r i t i c s have attempted to define or l a b e l the three points of view of The Sound _and the Fury. Olga Vickery c a l l s them sensation, abstraction, and l o g i c . Carvel C o l l i n s describes them as Id, Ego, Super-Ego. It i s obvious that the three sections deal with, respectively, the youth, the adolescent, and the adult. Perhaps i t would be possible to characterize the style of each as impressionism, Romanticism, and natura- lism. One could produce t r i n i t i e s i n d e f i n i t e l y . More important, however, i s the r e a l i z a t i o n that each brother represents a l i m i t e d and inadequate v i s i o n of r e a l i t y . Michael Millgate suggests that the novel i s in part concerned with the elusiveness, the multivalence, of truth, or at l e a s t with man's persistent and perhaps necessary ten- dency to make of truth a personal thing: each man, apprehending some fragment of the truth, seizes upon that fragment as though i t were the whole truth and elaborates i t into a t o t a l v i s i o n of the world, r i g i d l y exclusive and hence u t t e r l y f a l l a c i o u s . 1 Olga Vickery concurs, saying that the theme of the novel i s "the r e l a t i o n between the act and man's apprehension of the act, between the event and the i n t e r p r e t a t i o n . " 1 ^ What then of the fourth section of the novel where Faulkner drops the use of stream of consciousness and dramatic monologue? Has Faulkner decided, a f t e r mys- t i f y i n g the reader f o r over two hundred pages, to step forward with the r e a l i t y of the Compson saga? A close examination of t h i s section reveals that nothing could be 63. further from the truth. The reader of The Sound and the Fury i s once more presented with the v i s i o n of a bystander, but t h i s time a bystander closer to his own d i s p o s i t i o n than any of the three brothers, Margaret Blanchard, in her a r t i c l e , "The Rhetoric of Communions Voice in The Sound and the Fury", shows how the narrator of the fourth section i s anything but omniscient; indeed, his v i s i o n of r e a l i t y i s r e s t r i c t e d to an external view of events aided by occasional cautious speculations about motivation. The one exception to t h i s generalization i s a section of some twelve pages in which we are permitted to watch the workings of Jason's mind. The greatest portion of the fourth section, however, i s as objective and externalized as the eye of a movie camera. As Blanchard says, we emerge with a description of the speaker's perspective as l i m i t e d , having no foreknow- ledge, no control over events, p r i v i l e g e d access into one mind only, and much recourse to conjecture, rewarded at times with pro- gressive insight and empathetic sharing of a character's viewpoint, with a spectator's close but r e s t r i c t e d view of events, and his detachment. 1 0 It i s d i f f i c u l t to i l l u s t r a t e the o b j e c t i v i t y of an entire section with a few quotations, but the exam- ination of several passages w i l l , at any rate, be repre- sentative of this section's s t y l i s t i c p e c u l i a r i t i e s . For the f i r s t time, we read meticulous accounts of characters' 64. appearances; Dilsey, Benjy, Jason, and Mrs. Compson are a l l described in precise d e t a i l . For example, Benjy i s portrayed as a big mr'.n who appeared to have been shaped of some substance whose p a r t i c l e s would not or did not cohere to one another or to the frame which supported i t . His skin was dead looking and h a i r l e s s ; d r opsical too, he moved with a shambling gait l i k e a trained bear. His hair was pale and f i n e . It had been brushed smoothly down upon his brow l i k e that of children in daguerrotypes. His eyes were cle a r , of the pale sweet blue of cornflowers, his thick mouth hung open, drooling a l i t t l e . (342) The external description i s supplemented by cautious supposition and speculation, as i f the narrator were making an i n t e l l i g e n t guess. In the passage just quoted, for instance, expressions l i k e "who appeared to have been" and "would not or did not" suggest a mind t r y i n g to make sense of the l i m i t e d data a v a i l a b l e . This de- s c r i p t i o n of Jason standing outside Quentin's room i s tempered by the same cautious speculation. He grasped the knob and t r i e d i t , then he stood with the knob in his hand and his head bent a l i t t l e , as i f he were l i s t e n i n g to something much further away than the dimen- sioned room beyond the door, and which he already heard. His attitude was that of one who goes through the motions of l i s t e n i n g in order to deceive himself as to what he already hears. ( 3 4 9 - 3 5 0 , my i t a l i c s ) At times, one can almost watch the bystander-narrator's mind working with available d e t a i l s to reach a conclusion: 65. Luster was coming down the drive behind them, carrying the umbrella. A woman was with him. "Here dey come," Dilsey said. They passed out the gate. "Now, den," she said. Ben ceased. Luster and his mother overtook them.- Frony wore a dress of bright blue s i l k and a flowered hat. (361, my i t a l l s) The bystander-narrator sees an unknown womanj he then r e a l i z e s she i s Luster's mother whose name, he remembers, i s Frony. The process of speculation i s here v i s i b l e before us. The o b j e c t i v i t y of the fourth section allows Dilsey to function as a moral a r b i t e r without f o r c i n g her into the po s i t i o n of presenting another point of view which would, Inevitably, have been as limited as those of the three brothers. We must not see events through Dilsey's eyes or her force i n the nov e l - w i l l be weakened. Hyatt Waggoner sayst The structure of the novel . . . Invites us to pa r t i c i p a t e i n the process by which the Judgments i m p l i c i t i n the l a s t section are arrived at. . . . The " o b j e c t i v i t y " of the l a s t section i s , then, only formal. . . . i t s i m p l i c i t perspective i s based on Judg- ments which we ourselves have been brought to the point of making.1'' For t h i s reason, the nature of Dilsey's v i s i o n i s l e f t d e l i b e r a t e l y vague. In the context of the Negro sermon with the worshippers murmuring» "I sees, 0 Jesus! Oh I sees'" (370), Dilsey affirms that she too has had a 66. v i s i o n of a d i f f e r e n t sort: "I've seed de f i r s t en de l a s t , " Dilsey said . "Never you mind me." " F i r s t en l a s t whut?" Frony said. "Never you mind," Dilsey said. "I seed de beginnin, en now I sees de endin." ( 3 ? 1 ) But what she has seen, the f i r s t and l a s t what, Dil s e y cannot say. I t i s , indeed, fortunate she cannot. Her presence rather than her interpretation- makes her a moral force in the novel. When the town l i b r a r i a n , in f a c t , takes the picture of Caddy to Dilsey in Memphis, Dilsey t e l l s her: "Look at my eyes . . . How can I see that picture? . . . My eyes aint any good anymore . . . I cant see i t " (4l8). The l i b r a r i a n , however, i s sure that Dilsey no longer wants to see because there i s no- thing worth seeing of the Compsons anymore (420). Dilsey, i t seems, rejects at l a s t the p o t e n t i a l of seeing. It i s fortunate, furthermore, that Dilsey's point of view i s not presented in the fourth section f o r neither i s her v i s i o n i n f a l l i b l e nor her power f o r good e f f e c t i v e . Walter J . S l a t o f f says that "Dilsey spends much of her time nagging, scolding, and threatening both the Compson children and her own, and she i s , i n the l a s t a nalysis, i n e f f e c t u a l . " 1 0 To blame Dilsey f o r the f a i l u r e s of the Compson children i s , to say the l e a s t , unfair, but she seems to have done l i t t l e better in i n - 6 7 . fluencing Luster, her grandson, who she says, has "got jes es much Compson devilment in him es any of em" ( 3 ^ 4 ) . Resenting, with some j u s t i f i c a t i o n , the burden of acting as nursemaid f o r Benjy, Luster amuses himself with tormenting his hapless charge. . When Dilsey t r i e s to comfort Quentin, saying: "dont you be skeered, honey, I'se right here" ( 3 5 2 ) , the reader i s aware, i r o n i c a l l y , of how l i t t l e she can r e a l l y do to ef f e c t the course of events. Not only i s Dilsey frequently i n e f f e c t u a l ; she i s also sometimes, f a l l i b l e . When she t e l l s Jason, "You's a cold man, Jason, i f man you i s " ( 2 5 8 ) , the reader r e a d i l y agrees. But her statements are not always correct. She frequently accuses Luster of crimes he i s not g u i l t y of, blaming him i n i t i a l l y for breaking the window i n Jason's room. When Benjy bellows his anguish, disturbed by Jason's fury, Dilsey chastises Luster: "Whut you done to him?" Dilsey said. "Why cant you l e t him lone dis mawnin, of a l l times?" • " I aint doin nothin to him," Luster said. "Mr. Jason skeered him, dat's whut h i t i s . " ( 3 5 6 ) Luster i s no angel, but he i s hardly to blame fo r a l l of Benjy's frequent protestations. Her comments about the younger generation are t y p i c a l of the intolerance of age; she claims that "Whut dey needs i s a man kin put de fear 6 8 . of God into dese here t r i f l i n young niggers" ( 3 6 2 ) and, on the way to church, she exhibits a fine sense of status, " s t e a d i l y the older people speaking to Dilsey, though, unless they were quite old, Dilsey permitted Frony to respond" ( 3 6 4 ) . Dilsey i s a f a l l i b l e but li k e a b l e human being, not as Waggoner maintains "a chorus and judge." 7 Indeed, Dilsey hardly says enough to play the role of judge of the novel's characters; she l i v e s by actions rather than speech. The strength of her love and consideration acts as a counter against which to measure the lack of love of other characters. Dilsey*s presence, not her interpretations, make her the novel's moral force. Quentin defines her role best when he says of Negroes: "They come into white people's l i v e s l i k e that in sudden sharp black t r i c k l e s that i s o l a t e white facts f o r an instant in unarguable truth l i k e under a microscope" ( 2 1 1 ) . Benjy, Quentin, Jason, and the unnamed narrator of Section IV present l i m i t e d v i s i o n s of r e a l i t y , and Faulkner i s ca r e f u l to indicate t h e i r l i m i t s . Dilsey, on the other hand, reveals an i n a r t i c u l a t e and l a r g e l y unexpressed awareness of those around her; her presence and actions, not her interpretations, make her a touch- stone f o r the reader. 69. In A s I Lay Dying, we meet another character v/hose role i s large l y that of bystander, and again we have the problem of authorial i n t r u s i o n . Hyatt Waggoner, p a r a l l e l i n g his interpretation of Benjy, sees Darl as the bearer of the truth i n the novel: "What Darl sees i s true," and "In somewhat the same sense as Benjy's, his mind i s a transparent glass through which we approach 20 the r e a l i t y he passively watches." But i t i s a mis- take to regard Darl as a detached observer recording im- p a r t i a l l y a l l that he sees? Darl i s an obsessed human being on the edge of insanity who creates as much as watches the " r e a l i t y " he reports. William J. Handy, in his a r t i c l e "As I Lay Dying: Faulkner's Inner Reporter", suggests that the "fact of Darl's insanity raises the question of just how v a l i d his insights are intended by 21 .Faulkner to be." He observes that Darl i s obsessively pre-occupied with his brother Jewel, who appears very frequently in his i n t e r i o r monologues. Darl's jealousy of his mother's preference f o r Jewel drives him to taunt Jewel repeatedly during the journey to Jefferson: "Jewel . . . whose son are you?" (202), and he thinks: "I cannot love my mother because I have no mother. Jewel's mother i s a horse" (89). When he was asked about Darl, Faulkner said: 7 0 . Darl was mad from the f i r s t . We got pro- gressively madder because he didn't have the capacity not so much of sanity but of inertness to r e s i s t a l l the catastrophes that happened to the family. Jewel re s i s t e d because he was sane and he was the toughest. The others re s i s t e d through probably simple i n e r t i a , but Darl couldn't r e s i s t i t and so he went completely o f f his rocker. But he was mad a l l the time. 2 One f e e l s that many of the things Darl reports are metaphorically rather than l i t e r a l l y true; indeed, many of the scenes he witnesses could not have happened in his seeing. Here i s an observer who i s more than a passive watcher; he p a r t i a l l y creates the action in which he refuses to p a r t i c i p a t e . In a sense, the opening page of the novel provides an epiphany of Darl's r o l e . Jewel and I come up from the f i e l d , following the path i n single f i l e . Although I am f i f t e e n feet ahead of him, anyone watching us from the cottonhouse can see Jewel's frayed and broken straw hat a f u l l head above my own. (3) When Darl and Jewel reach the cotton-house, Darl c i r c l e s the cabin to reach the other side while Jewel steps " i n a single s t r i d e " through one window, crosses the f l o o r " i n four s t r i d e s " , steps through the other window, emerging again on the path ahead of Darl. In t h i s opening scene we f i n d a l l the germs of Darl's development in the novel. The f i r s t word he utters i s "Jewel"; Jewel symbolically disregards obstacles which 71. halt Darl and, though he begins behind him, ends in front of him just as he has i n Addle's a f f e c t i o n s . Darl, as he does throughout the novel, describes d e t a i l s l i k e the four s t r i d e s which he cannot possibly know. Therefore, Darl begins the novel as observer-creator, but by the time he reaches Jefferson, he has l o s t the sense of his own i d e n t i t y so much that he has in fact become a bystander to his own actions. In his f i n a l section he refers to himself in the t h i r d persons Darl has gone to Jackson. They put him on the t r a i n , laughing, down the long car laughing, the heads turning l i k e the heads of ov/ls when he passed. "What are you laughing at?" I said. (2^3) In the figure of Darl Bundren, Faulkner has pre- sented us with a type we w i l l see appearing frequently in his l a t e r novels, the sensitive observer who i s unequipped to bear the s t r a i n of what he observes, a type that finds i t s culmination in Gavin Stevens, Faulkner's most exten- sive treatment of the sensitive and perceptive i n t e l l e c t u a l . Cleanth Brooks has shown how Faulkner portrays Darl's l i m i t a t i o n s and continues» "Indeed, Faulkner, probably more than any other author of our time i s w i l l i n g to see the l i m i t a t i o n s of the a r t i s t i c temperament and to refuse 2 T to believe that i t has a monopoly upon tru t h . " J As I Lay Dying may be seen, in f a c t , as an 72. a n a l y s i s of t h e e s s e n t i a l i s o l a t i o n a n d s u b j e c t i v i t y o f a l l h u m a n p e r c e p t i o n w h i c h o n l y d r i v e s t h e i n d i v i d u a l o n t o f u t i l e e f f o r t s t o b r e a k t h a t i s o l a t i o n . T h e m a i n c o n c e r n o f A d d i e ' s f a m o u s m o n o l o g u e i n t h e n o v e l i s t o h i g h l i g h t t h i s p r o b l e m . A d d i e , d r i v e n v i r t u a l l y t o m a d - n e s s b y h e r a l o n e n e s s , b e a t s h e r p u p i l s v i c i o u s l y i n a n a t t e m p t t o e n t e r t h e i r l i v e s : W h e n t h e s w i t c h f e l l I c o u l d f e e l i t u p o n my f l e s h ; w h e n i t w e l t e d a n d r i d g e d i t w a s my b l o o d t h a t r a n , a n d I w o u l d t h i n k w i t h e a c h b l o w o f t h e s w i t c h : N o w y o u a r e a w a r e o f m e ! Nov/ I am s o m e t h i n g i n y o u r s e c r e t a n d s e l f i s h l i f e , w h o h a v e m a r k e d y o u r b l o o d w i t h my o w n f o r e v e r a n d e v e r . (162) B u t a l l s u c h a t t e m p t s a r e d o o m e d t o f a i l u r e , p a r t l y b e - c a u s e o f e a c h h u m a n ' s d e t e r m i n a t i o n t o m a i n t a i n h i s i n d i - v i d u a l i t y i n v i o l a t e . D a r l l e a r n s t h i s l e s s o n t o o l a t e , f o r h i s s u p e r - p e r c e p t i v e n e s s i n t r u d e s i n t o t h e s e c r e t s p r i n g s o f m o t i v e , m a k i n g o t h e r s f e a r h i s k n o w l e d g e . D e w e y D e l l w i s h e s t o m u r d e r h i m b e c a u s e s h e i s s u r e h e k n o w s a b o u t h e r p r e g - n a n c y . J e w e l r e s e n t s D a r l ' s c o n s t a n t p r o b i n g o f h i s s e - c r e t e m o t i o n s . F i n a l l y , t h e s e t w o u n i t e t o h a v e c o m m i t t e d t h e m a n w h o k n o w s t o o m u c h . V e r n o n T u l l d e s c r i b e s t h e w a y t h e y f e e l s H e i s l o o k i n g a t m e . He d o n t s a y n o t h i n g ; j u s t l o o k s a t me w i t h t h e m q u e e r e y e s o f h i s n t h a t m a k e s f o l k s t a l k . I a l w a y s s a y 73- i t a int never been what he done so much or said or anything so much as how he looks at you. . . . Like somehow you was looking at yourself and your doings outen his eyes. (119) It i s his phenomenal a b i l i t y as bystander which i s Darl's downfall; he has the a b i l i t y to make himself l i t t l e more than perception, to abstract his v i s i o n from his person- a l i t y to the extent that he i s defined as insane. I f there i s disagreement about the function of the bystander in As I Lay Dying and The Sound and the Fury, there i s general agreement about his function in Absalom, Absalom!. This novel i s probably the best example of Faulkner's use of the bystander in conjunction with the theme of the s u b j e c t i v i t y of perception. Ostensibly about the l i f e and career of Thomas Sutpen, i t i s in fact a lengthy examination of opinions and theories about him, providing, however, no d i r e c t picture of the "protagonist" himself. Of the four narrators in Absalom, Absalom!, three were not present at the events they narrate; i n - deed, Shreve McCannon and Quentin Compson were not born when Thomas Sutpen died and Quentin's father was too young to have been involved in the episodes he describes. Even Rosa C o l d f i e l d , whose involvement with Sutpen i s undeniable, views the action from the periphery with almost no access to p r i v i l e g e d information. Partly because of t h e i r ? 4 . d i s t a n c e from the a c t i o n , the n a r r a t o r s p r e s e n t accounts o f Sutpen's h i s t o r y which are incomplete and suspect. F a u l k n e r made h i s i n t e n t i o n s about the n o v e l c l e a r when he commented at the U n i v e r s i t y o f V i r g i n i a : I t h i n k no one i n d i v i d u a l can look a t t r u t h . I t b l i n d s you. You look a t i t and you see one phase of i t . Someone e l s e l o o k s a t i t and sees a s l i g h t l y awry phase of i t . But taken a l l t o g e t h e r , the t r u t h i s i n what they saw though nobody saw the t r u t h i n t a c t . So these are t r u e as f a r as K i s s Rosa and as Quentin saw i t . Quentin's f a t h e r saw what he b e l i e v e d was t r u t h , t h a t was a l l he saw. But the o l d man h i m s e l f was a l i t t l e too b i g f o r people no g r e a t e r i n s t a t u r e than Quentin and Miss Rosa and Mr. Compson to see a l l a t o n c e . 2 ^ As Hyatt Waggoner says, "Absalom has many v o i c e s but no o f f i c i a l , s a n c t i o n e d V o i c e . The v o i c e s i n i t speak from many p o i n t s o f view, none o f them removed from the c r i t i - 2 ̂ cism o f i r o n y . " J The d i s t a n c e between the n a r r a t o r s and t h e i r s u b j e c t i s , however, temporal or s p a t i a l , not i m a g i n a t i v e . Indeed, as p h y s i c a l c l o s e n e s s d i m i n i s h e s between the n a r r a t o r and h i s s u b j e c t i n the n o v e l , i m a g i n a t i v e pro- p i n q u i t y i n c r e a s e s . Quentin and Shreve, the f u r t h e s t from the a c t u a l events o f Sutpen's l i f e , c r e a t e the most v i v i d i m a g i n a t i v e r e c o n s t r u c t i o n . Quentin t h i n k s to him- s e l f as he r e c o n s t r u c t s Sutpen's r e - u n i o n with h i s daughter i n 1865, " I f I had been there I could not have seen i t 7 5 . t h i s p l a i n . A s each n a r r a t o r examines the s t o r y o f the Sutpen f a m i l y , he (or she) c r e a t e s an i m a g i n a t i v e r e - c o n s t r u c t i o n t h a t r e v e a l s as much about h i s ( o r her) ob- s e s s i o n s and emotions as i t does about the t r u t h of Sutpen's h i s t o r y . The n a r r a t o r s achieve t h i s c r e a t i v e involvement i n a. t a l e they h a l f r e p e a t , h a l f re-form, l a r g e l y by means o f an i n t e n s e v i c a r i o u s i d e n t i f i c a t i o n with one o f the c h a r a c t e r s of the Sutpen legend. H i s s Rosa i d e n t i f i e s w ith J u d i t h Sutpen, Mr. Compson wit h C h a r l e s Bon, and Quentin and Shreve with Henry Sutpen and C h a r l e s Bon i n t h e i r r e l a t i o n s h i p to one another. I t i s s i g n i f i c a n t t h a t none seeks v i c a r i o u s union w i t h Sutpen h i m s e l f , t h a t o l d man (as F a u l k n e r c a l l s him) "a l i t t l e too b i g f o r people no g r e a t e r i n s t a t u r e " than the n a r r a t o r s . L i k e E l i o t ' s h ollow men, the n a r r a t o r s are i n h a b i t a n t s o f a modern waste land where they can o n l y remember the " l o s t v i o l e n t s o u l s " l i k e Thomas Sutpen. The p a s t which dominates them a l l comes to serve as a s u r r o g a t e f o r a c t u a l l i v i n g . Miss Rosa, i n the midst of a " s t i l l hot weary dead September a f t e r n o o n " (7) s i t s i n her " c o f f i n - s m e l l i n g gloom" (8) t e l l i n g her t a l e to Quentin, h i m s e l f "a barracks f i l l e d w i t h stubborn back- l o o k i n g ghosts" (12). In " i n v e r s e r a t i o to [her} v a n i s h i n g 7 6 . v o i c e , " the ghost o f Sutpen assumes "a q u a l i t y almost o f s o l i d i t y , permanence" ( 1 3 ) ? he appears to he more a l i v e than I.Jiss Rosa. Mr. Compson, as Olga V i c k e r y says, has " r e j e c t e d the gambit of l i f e f o r the sake o f s i t t i n g on the s i d e l i n e s and p l a y i n g the r o l e o f i r o n i c commentator." Quentin and Shreve i n h a b i t a world imaged f o r us by the "strange i r o n New England snow" ( 1 7 3 ) i a p a s s i o n l e s s world where they contemplate the p a s s i o n s of an e a r l i e r time. Each n a r r a t o r seeks i n the s t o r y o f Thomas Sutpen a sa- t i s f a c t i o n which he has not found i n l i f e i t s e l f . I t i s t h e r e f o r e n e c e s s a r y , before examining the f i g u r e o f Thomas Sutpen, to d e f i n e the nature o f the p e r c e i v i n g i n t e l l i g e n c through which we r e c e i v e a l l we know o f him. L i f e has prepared Miss Rosa C o l d f i e l d w e l l f o r the r o l e o f bystander t o Thomas Sutpen's a c t i o n s . She has had no l i f e o f her own to l i v e and has, t h e r e f o r e , l i v e d o n l y as the s p e c t a t o r o f o t h e r people's l i v e s . Rosa de- s c r i b e s h e r s e l f as a c h i l d , eavesdropping on c o n v e r s a t i o n s " s t a n d i n g c l o s e beside t h a t door because I was a f r a i d to be there but more a f r a i d to leave i t , s t a n d i n g m o t i o n l e s s beside t h a t door as though t r y i n g to make myself blend w i t h the dark and become i n v i s i b l e " ( 2 7 ) . Mr. Compson d e s c r i b e s the source of Miss Rosa's o b s e s s i o n s and anta- gonisms c o n c e r n i n g Sutpen: 7 7 . In a grim mausoleum a i r of Puritan righteous- ness and outraged female vindictiveness Miss Rosa's childhood was passed, that aged and ancient and timeless absence of youth which consisted of a Cassandralike l i s t e n i n g be- yond closed doors, of lurking in dim h a l l s f i l l e d with that presbyterian effluvium of lugubrious and v i n d i c t i v e a n t i c i p a t i o n , v/hile she waited f o r the infancy and childhood with which nature had confounded and betrayed her to overtake the disapprobation regarding any and every thing which could penetrate the walls of that house through the agency of any man, p a r t i c u l a r l y her father, which the aunt seems to have invested her with at b i r t h along with the swaddling clothes. ( 6 0 - 6 1 ) From her father's "Puritan righteousness" and her aunt's "outraged female vindictiveness", Miss Rosa has learned an intense hatred of Thomas Sutpen, indeed of the male p r i n c i p l e . Mr. Compson claims that "Miss Rosa merely mirrored her parents* attitude toward the son-in-law" (59X and that the aunt "had taught Miss Rosa to look upon her s i s t e r as a woman who had vanished, not only out of the family and the house but out of l i f e too, into an e d i f i c e l i k e Bluebeard*s M(6 0). Moreover, as Olga Vickery says, "That i s o l a t i o n which leaves Miss Rosa forever watching other people's l i v e s unfold while hers remains unchanged gives unlimited scope to her fantasies compounded of re- 28 l i g i o n and romance." The r e s u l t of t h i s childhood i s to turn Miss Rosa into "the chief d i s c i p l e and advocate of that c u l t of demon-harrying of which [sutpenj was the chief object" 7 8 . ( 2 7 8 ) . Miss Rosa's n a r r a t i v e c a s t s Sutpen as " f i e n d blackguard and d e v i l " ( 1 5 ) i and h i s appearance i n J e f f e r - son has the q u a l i t y o f demonic i n t e n t : Out of q u i e t t h u n d e r c l a p he would abrupt (man-horse-demon) upon a scene p e a c e f u l and decorous as a s c h o o l - p r i z e water c o l o r , f a i n t s u l p h u r - r e e k s t i l l i n h a i r c l o t h e s and beard, with grouped behind him h i s band of w i l d n i g g e r s l i k e beasts h a l f tamed to walk u p r i g h t l i k e men. ( 8 ) Miss Rosa's s t y l e i s i s o l a t e d more c l e a r l y i n Quentin's r e c o l l e c t i o n s of her s t o r y i n which her e m o t i v e l y c o l o u r e d t e r m i n o l o g y c o u n t e r p o i n t s Quentin's more n e u t r a l language: I t seems t h a t t h i s demon°--his name was Sutpen ( C o l o n e l S u t p e n ) - - - C o l o n e l Sutpen. Who came out o f nowhere and without warning upon the lan d with a band of strange n i g g e r s and b u i l t a p l a n t a t i o n - - - ( T o r e v i o l e n t l y a p l a n t a t i o n , Miss Rosa C o l d f i e l d s a y s ) - - - tore, v i o l e n t l y . And c a r r i e d her s i s t e r E l l e n and begot a son and a daughter which---1 .With- out g e n t l e n e s s begot, Miss Rosa C o l d f i e l d says) without g e n t l e n e s s . Which should have been the .jewels of h i s p r i d e and the s h i e l d arid comfort of h i s o l d age, o n l y - - - ( O n l y they d e s t r o y e d him or something or he d e s t r o y e d them or something. And died) and d i e d . Without r e g r e t , Miss Rosa C o l d f i e l d says • (Save.by her) Yes, save by her. (And by Quentin Compson) Yes. And by Quentin CompsonT (~9~5 O b v i o u s l y , the s t o r y Quentin attempts to t e l l and the s t o r y f o r which Miss Rosa demands acceptance are two d i f f e r e n t t a l e s . In t h i s passage, one sees i n m i n i a t u r e the technique o f Absalom, Absalom, as a whole: a l t e r n a t i v e i n t e r p r e t a t i o n s , c o n t i n u a l r e - e v a l u a t i o n , and p e r s i s t e n t 79. s e a r c h i n g f o r the "something" t h a t w i l l make sense of Sutpen's l i f e . When seen i n the l a r g e r terms c f the n o v e l ' s examination of Sutpen's s t o r y , K i s s Rosa's i n t e r p r e t a t i o n i s r e v e a l e d as p a r t i c u l a r l y inadequate. Her d e s c r i p t i o n of Sutpen's a r r i v a l i n J e f f e r s o n , quoted above, c o n t r a s t s with Mr. Compson*s i n which Sutpen appears as "a man of about t w e n t y - f i v e as the town l e a r n e d l a t e r , because a t the time h i s age could not have been guessed because he looked l i k e a man who had been s i c k " ( 3 2 ) . In Compson's v e r s i o n , Sutpen seems more human, l e s s demonic. S i m i l a r l y , Miss Rosa's d e s c r i p t i o n o f the French a r c h i t e c t "manacled among them . . . w i t h h i s a i r grim, haggard, and t a t t e r - r an" (8) i s c o n t r a d i c t e d by Compson's a s s e r t i o n t h a t the Frenchman "had come a l l the way from M a r t i n i q u e on Sutpen's bare promise and l i v e d f o r two years on venison cooked over a campfire, i n an u n f l o o r e d t e n t made of the wagon hood, before he so much as saw any c o l o r o r shape of pay" ( 3 5 ) « In both these cases, the r e a d e r has no way of a s s e s s i n g the v a l i d i t y o f the c o n f l i c t i n g r e p o r t s . Indeed, Miss Rosa's d e s c r i p t i o n o f the a r c h i t e c t as manacled har- monizes with Compson's d e s c r i p t i o n o f h i s attempted escape and r e c a p t u r e , but the p r o p o s a l o f an a l t e r n a t i v e v e r s i o n of her s t o r y undermines the reader's confidence i n the v a l i d i t y o f e i t h e r . 80. In some important i n s t a n c e s , however, Miss Rosa very o b v i o u s l y does not understand what has happened. For i n s t a n c e , she a s s e r t s t h a t she saw " J u d i t h ' s marriage f o r b i d d e n without rhyme or reason or shadow of excuse" (18). The reader, on the o t h e r hand, knows of three d i f f e r e n t p o s s i b l e motives ( a d u l t e r y , i n c e s t , and misce- genation) f o r Sutpen's d e n i a l of Bon's b e t r o t h a l to J u d i t h . S i m i l a r l y , Miss Rosa maintains t h a t Sutpen "was accustomed to having money and intended to have i t a g a i n and would have no s c r u p l e s about how he got i t " ( 2 0 ) , but the n o v e l r e v e a l s Sutpen's background of p o v e r t y and h i s desperate s t r u g g l e to r i s e i n s o c i e t y . Other a l l e g a - t i o n s t h a t Miss Rosa makes seem e q u a l l y mistaken; she e x p l a i n s the stampeding o f the Sutpen c a r r i a g e horses: i t had been J u d i t h , a g i r l o f s i x , who had i n s t i g a t e d and a u t h o r i z e d t h a t negro to make the team run away. Not Henry, mind; not the boy, which would have been outrageous enough; but J u d i t h , the g i r l . (25) How Miss Rosa can a s s e r t t h i s " f a c t " so c o n f i d e n t l y she does not make c l e a r . She admits t h a t , i n a s i m i l a r case, when she d e s c r i b e s J u d i t h as eavesdropping on her f a t h e r ' s f i g h t w i t h a Negro s l a v e : "I was not t h e r e . I was not there to see the two Sutpen f a c e s t h i s time once on J u d i t h and once on the negro g i r l beside h e r - - - l o o k i n g down through the square entrance to the l o f t " ( 3 0 ) . 8 1 . In "The Four N a r r a t i v e P e r s p e c t i v e s i n Absalom, Absalom!", Lynn G a r t r e l l L e v i n s d e f i n e s Miss Rosa's ima- g i n a t i v e r e c o n s t r u c t i o n s "Because Rosa C o l d f i e l d immerses the c r e a t e d events i n the u n r e a l i t y of a drea m - v i s i o n , which i s without l o g i c and reason, Sutpen's a c t i o n s are prese n t e d to the readers without e x p l a n a t i o n , and hence without the p l a u s i b i l i t y a f f o r d e d to a c a u s e - e f f e c t se- quence." 2^ Miss Rosa h e r s e l f e x p l a i n s the l a p s e s i n her p e r c e p t i o n s o f r e a l i t y as a r e s u l t o f her s h e l t e r e d , i s o l a t e d childhoods i n s t e a d o f a c c o m p l i s h i n g the p r o c e s s i o n a l and measured m i l e s t o n e s o f the c h i l d h o o d ' s time I l u r k e d unapprehended as though, shod with the very damp r^nd v e l v e t s i l e n c e o f the womb, I d i s p l a c e d no a i r , gave o f f no b e t r a y i n g sound, from one c l o s e d f o r b i d d e n door to the next and ~~o a c q u i r e d a l l I knew of. t h a t l i g h t and sp?v'e i n which people moved and breathed a? I ( t h a t same c h i l d ) might have gained c o n c e p t i o n o f the sun from s e e i n g i t through a p i e c e o f smoky g l a s s . ( 1 4 5 ) Trapped i n a s t e r i l e , u n f u l f i l l e d e x i s t e n c e , Miss Rosa i s capable o f l i v i n g only through her i m a g i n a t i o n , and p a r t i c u l a r l y through her v i c a r i o u s i d e n t i f i c a t i o n with J u d i t h Sutpen. Mr. Compson d e s c r i b e s Miss Rosa as a f r u s - t r a t e d s p i n s t e r : who i n a c t u a l f a c t was the g i r l ' s aunt and who by a c t u a l years should have been her s i s t e r i g n o r i n g the mother to f o l l o w the d e p a r t i n g and i n a c c e s s i b l e l a u g h t e r with myopic and i n a r t i c u l a t e y e a r n i n g and not one whit of 82. j e a l o u s y , p r o j e c t i n g upon J u d i t h a l l the a b o r t i v e dreams and d e l u s i o n s o f her own doomed and f r u s t r a t e d youth. (71) J u d i t h ' s p r o j e c t e d marriage to C h a r l e s Bon, whom Miss Rosa has never seen, p r o v i d e s Miss Rosa with a r e a l i t y i n which t o enshrine her maiden dreams of romance, and she l o o k s forward to the wedding which w i l l "immolate the f r u s t r a t i o n ' s v i c a r i o u s recompense i n t o the l i v i n g f a i r y t a l e " ( 7 6 ) . Miss Rosa works d i l i g e n t l y sewing f o r J u d i t h "those i n t i m a t e young g i r l garments which were to be f o r her own v i c a r i o u s b r i d a l " ( 7 7 ) . Miss Rosa confirms these s p e c u l a t i o n s which Compson makes about her motives l a t e r i n the n o v e l when she d e s c r i b e s her emotions towards J u d i t h and Sons Oh no, I was not s p y i n g while I dreamed i n the l u r k i n g harborage of my own shrub or vine as I b e l i e v e d she dreamed upon the npoky seat which h e l d i n v i s i b l e i mprint o f h i s absent t h i g h s j u s t as the o b l i t e r a t i n g sand, the m i l l i o n f i n g e r - n e r v e s of f r o n d and l e a f , the very sun and moony c o n s t e l l a t i o n s which had looked down at him, the circumambient a i r , h e l d somewhere yet h i s f o o t , h i s p a s s i n g shape, h i s f a c e , h i s speaking v o i c e , h i s name: C h a r l e s Bon, C h a r l e s Good, Ch a r l e s Kusband-s.oon-to-be. (148) Given t h i s v i c a r i o u s i d e n t i f i c a t i o n , i t i s no s u r p r i s e t h a t Miss Rosa r e a c t s with f u r i o u s outrage when Sutpen puts a stop to the marriage i n t o which she h a s . i n v e s t e d a l l her emotional l i f e . The death of Bon and the widowhood of J u d i t h are one more reason to hate Thomas Sutpen. 8 3 . Y e t t o t h e a m a z e m e n t o f e v e r y o n e , i n c l u d i n g h e r s e l f , w h e n S u t p e n p r o p o s e s m a r r i a g e t o h e r , s h e a c c e p t s . I n a l e n g t h y o c c u p a t i o , M i s s R o s a a t t e m p t s t o j u s t i f y h e r a c c e p t a n c e o f S u t p e n ' s p r o p o s a l , a l l t h e w h i l e d e n y i n g t h a t s h e i s d o i n g s o : N o . I h o l d n o b r i e f f o r m y s e l f . I d o n ' t p l e a d y o u t h . . . I d o n ' t p l e a d p r o p i n q u i t y . . . I d o n t p l e a d m a t e r i a l n e c e s s i t y . . . t h o u g h I d e f y a n y o n e t o b l a m e m e , a n o r p h a n o f t w e n t y , a y o u n g w o m a n w i t h o u t r e s o u r c e s . . . . A n d m o s t o f a l l , I d o n o t p l e a d m y - s e l f : a y o u n g w o m a n e m e r g i n g f r o m a h o l o - c a u s t w h i c h h a d t a k e n p a r e n t s s e c u r i t y a n d a l l f r o m h e r . (19) M i s s R o s a ' s l e n g t h y a t t e m p t t o e x p l a i n h e r i n c r e d i b l e a c c e p t a n c e o f S u t p e n , t h e m a n s h e h a s h a t e d , a s a h u s b a n d , h e l p s t o p o r t r a y h e r a s a n i s o l a t e d , p r e m a t u r e s p i n s t e r w h o s e i z e s a t t h e o n e o p p o r t u n i t y s h e i s o f f e r e d t o l e a v e t h e w o r l d o f v i c a r i o u s r o m a n c e f o r t h e w o r l d o f r e a l i t y . V / h e n T h o m a s S u t p e n s h a t t e r s a l l h e r d r e a m s w i t h h i s i n s e n - s i t i v e p r o p o s a l t h a t t h e y b r e e d b e f o r e m a r r i a g e s o t h a t h e c a n b e a s s u r e d o f a s o n , M i s s R o s a r e t r e a t s o n c e a n d f o r a l l i n t o h e r w o r l d o f i s o l a t i o n a n d " d e m o n - h a r r y i n g " , d e t e r m i n e d t o c a s t i g a t e T h o m a s S u t p e n e v e n a f t e r h e h a s d i e d . H e r a b o r t i v e b e t r o t h a l t u r n s M i s s R o s a i n t o t h e e m b i t t e r e d a n d o b s e s s e d n a r r a t o r o f A b s a l o m , A b s a l o m ! . C o m p a r e d w i t h M i s s R o s a ' s o b s e s s i v e r e i t e r a t i o n s , M r . C o m p s o n ' s n a r r a t i v e s e e m s , a t f i r s t , straightforward 8 4 . and r a t i o n a l . However, U s e D u s o i r L i n d , i n "The Design and Meaning o f Absalom, Absalom!", d e s c r i b e s b e a u t i f u l l y h i s u n d e r l y i n g u n r e l i a b i l i t y : Mr. Compson at f i r s t arouses the conf i d e n c e of the reader as an unbiased n a r r a t o r . H i s i r o n i c eye e a s i l y p i e r c e s the romanticisms, enthusiasms, and s e l f - d e c e p t i o n s o f o t h e r s . A s k e p t i c i n r e l i g i o n , a r a t i o n a l i s t i n h i s ge n e r a l approach to l i f e , a shrewd a n a l y s t of the s o c i a l scene, h i s e l a b o r a t i o n g i v e s the legend an apparent f o u n d a t i o n i n f a c t . But h i s o b s e r v a t i o n s have dubious v a l i d i t y ; they are the p r o j e c t i o n s o f a profound s p i r - i t u a l r e s i g n a t i o n . H i s worid-weariness, h i s lo v e o f paradox, h i s f a s c i n a t i o n w i t h the e x o t i c , a l l suggest t h a t he has absorbed the malaise o f f i n de s i e c l e decadence i n t o h i s p r i v a t e p h i l o s o p h y . 3 0 Compson's d e s c r i p t i o n o f Bon's octoroon m i s t r e s s and her son p r o v i d e s a good example of the c a s t o f h i s i m a g i n a t i o n I t must have resembled a garden scene by the I r i s h poet, Wilde . . . the magnolia-faced woman a l i t t l e plumper now, a woman c r e a t e d of by and f o r darkness whom the a r t i s t B e a r d s l e y might have d r e s s e d , i n a s o f t f l o w i n g gown . . . l e a d i n g by the hand the l i t t l e boy whom B e a r d s l e y might not onl y have dressed but drawn. ( 1 9 3 ) Coupled w i t h t h i s i n t e r e s t i n the v i s i o n o f de- cadence, Compson possesses a sense o f the Sutpen s t o r y as drama wi t h h i m s e l f as audience. More s p e c i f i c a l l y , he c a s t s h i s n a r r a t i v e i n the form o f a Greek tragedy w i t h Sutpen as the doomed hero. He says o f Sutpen: he was unaware t h a t h i s f l o w e r i n g was a f o r c e d blooming too and t h a t while he was 85. s t i l l p l a y i n g the scene to the audience, behind him F a t e , d e s t i n y , r e t r i b u t i o n , i r o n y the stage manager, c a l l him what you w i l l was a l r e a d y s t r i k i n g the set and dragging on the s y n t h e t i c and s p u r i o u s shadows and shapes of the next one. (72-3) Compson s i m i l a r l y d e s c r i b e s E l l e n , Sutpen's w i f e , as "speaking her b r i g h t set meaningless phrases out of the p a r t which she had w r i t t e n f o r h e r s e l f " (69). 3y por- t r a y i n g the Sutpen f a m i l y as a c t o r s , Compson to some ex- t e n t d i s t a n c e s them, making them l e s s r e a l ; i t i s a l l an a c t , a p l a y f o r h i s amusement. As Olga V i c k e r y says, Compson "has r e j e c t e d the gambit of l i f e f o r the sake of s i t t i n g on the s i d e l i n e s and p l a y i n g the r o l e o f i r o n i c 31 commentator."^ As we s h a l l see, however, t h i s d i s t a n c i n g p r o v i d e s Compson with the o p p o r t u n i t y to c r e a t e an ima- g i n a t i v e p r o p i n q u i t y with a t l e a s t one of the saga's c h a r a c t e r s , C h a r l e s Bon. The s t o r y of Sutpen and h i s f a m i l y , taken as i t i s from the p a s t , p r o v i d e s a more s i m p l i f i e d s e t t i n g than the world of moral and i n t e l l e c t u a l complexity of which he, Compson, i s so r e p r e s e n t a t i v e a product. Compson d e s c r i b e s the Sutpen f a m i l y as: people too as we a r e , and v i c t i m s too as we a r e , but v i c t i m s of a d i f f e r e n t circumstance, s i m p l e r and t h e r e f o r e more h e r o i c too, not dwarfed and i n v o l v e d but d i s t i n c t , uncomplex who had the g i f t of l o v i n g once or d y i n g once i n s t e a d of being d i f f u s e d and s c a t t e r e d c r e a t u r e s drawn b l i n d l y limb from limb from a grab bag arid assembled, author and v i c t i m 86. too o f a thousand homicides and a thousand c o p u l a t i o n s and divorcements. (89) In h i s v i s i o n o f the Sutpens, Compson p r o v i d e s the a l t e r - n a t i v e to h i s own l i f e o f ambiguity and hedging, a s t a s i s c r e a t e d by doubt and p r o d u c t i v e of an i d e a l bystander. For the bystander i n Faulkner i s f r e q u e n t l y a man i n c a - pable of a c t i o n because of h i s sense of ambivalence and complexity, and s i m u l t a n e o u s l y s u i t e d by the same charac- t e r i s t i c s to watch the a c t i o n s of s i m p l e r , more dynamic p e r s o n a l i t i e s . One means of j u s t i f y i n g s t a s i s and i n a c t i o n i s the a s s e r t i o n o f f a t a l i t y i n the a f f a i r s o f man, and Compson employs t h i s means to the f u l l . He c o n s t a n t l y r e i t e r a t e s the doomed nature of the Sutpen s t o r y . He says o f Henry Sutpen, "he must have known, as he knew that what h i s f a t h e r had t o l d him was t r u e , t h a t he was doomed and d e s t i n e d to k i l l " ( 9 1 ) . When Thomas Sutpen t r a v e l s to New Orleans i n an attempt to prevent Bon from marrying J u d i t h , Compson says: You would almost b e l i e v e t h a t Sutpen's t r i p to New Orleans was j u s t sheer chance, j u s t a l i t t l e more of the i l l o g i c a l machinations of a f a t a l i t y which had chosen t h a t f a m i l y i n p r e f e r e n c e to any o t h e r i n the country or the land e x a c t l y as a s m a l l boy chooses one a n t - h i l l to pour b o i l i n g water i n t o i n p r e f e r e n c e to any other, not even h i m s e l f knowing why. (102) Of course, the reader l e a r n s l a t e r from Quentin t h a t Sut- 8 7 . pen's journey i s perhaps not the r e s u l t of f a t e . In the same way th a t Miss Rosa C o l d f i e l d a s c r i b e s t h i n g s she cannot understand to a s a t a n i c malignancy p e r s o n i f i e d i n Thomas Sutpen, so Mr. Compson a t t r i b u t e s unexplained as- pe c t s o f h i s n a r r a t i v e to an a r b i t r a r y and i n d i f f e r e n t f a t a l i t y . Compson goes so f a r as to suggest t h a t the c r i s i s i n 3on's r e l a t i o n s w i t h the Sutpens i s delayed by a l a r g e r d e s t i n y : by the War by a s t u p i d and bloody a b e r r a t i o n i n the high (and im p o s s i b l e ) d e s t i n y o f the Uni t e d S t a t e s , maybe i n s t i g a t e d by t h a t f a m i l y f a t a l i t y which possessed, a l o n g with a l l c ircumstance, t h a t c u r i o u s l a c k o f eco- nomy between cause and e f f e c t which i s always a c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of f a t e when reduced to u s i n g human beings f o r t o o l s , m a t e r i a l . (118 - 1 9 ) L i k e Miss Rosa a l s o , Compson f i n d s w i t h i n the Sutpen s t o r y an i n d i v i d u a l with whom he can i d e n t i f y (or r a t h e r , whom he can c a s t i n h i s own image). T h i s person i s C h a r l e s Bon. Compson d e s c r i b e s him i n terms which apply as w e l l t o h i m s e l f : He i s the c u r i o u s one to me. He came i n t o t h a t i s o l a t e d p u r i t a n country household a l - most l i k e Sutpen h i m s e l f came i n t o J e f f e r s o n . . . a man a l i t t l e o l d e r than h i s a c t u a l y e ars and enclosed and surrounded by a s o r t o f S c y t h i a n g l i t t e r , who seems to have se- duced the country b r o t h e r and s i s t e r without any e f f o r t or p a r t i c u l a r d e s i r e to do so, who caused a l l the poth e r and uproar, y e t from the moment when he r e a l i z e d t h a t Sutpen was going to prevent the marriage i f he co u l d , lie (Bon) seems to have withdrawn i n t o 88. a mere s p e c t a t o r , p a s s i v e , a l i t t l e s a r d o n i c and completely enigmatic . . . with an a i r of s a r d o n i c and i n d o l e n t detachment l i k e t h a t of a y o u t h f u l Roman c o n s u l making the Grand Tour of h i s day among the b a r b a r i a n hordes which h i s g r a n d f a t h e r conquered . . . and which he contemplated w i t h the detached a t t e n t i v e n e s s of a s c i e n t i s t watching the muscles i n an a n e s t h e t i z e d f r o g watching, contemplating them from behind t h a t b a r r i e r of s o p h i s t i c a - t i o n i n comparison w i t h which Henry and Sut- pen were t r o g l o d y t e s . (93) T h i s s a r d o n i c s p e c t a t o r sounds very much l i k e Compson him- s e l f . Compson c a l l s Bon " t h a t i n d o l e n t f a t a l i s t " (105) and says he possesses " t h a t p e s s i m i s t i c and s a r d o n i c c e r e - b r a l p i t y of the i n t e l l i g e n t f o r any human i n j u s t i c e or f o l l y o r s u f f e r i n g " (115)• Compson's constant concern w i t h the past a l l o w s the r e a d e r to d e s c r i b e him as he does Eon, as a man "whose f a t e i t a p p a r e n t l y was to e x i s t i n some limbo halfway between where h i s c o r p o r e a l i t y was and h i s m e n t a l i t y and moral equipment d e s i r e d to be" (124). Compson i s q u i t e w i l l i n g t o admit the s p e c u l a t i v e and h y p o t h e t i c a l nature o f h i s n a r r a t i v e , t h a t he may be super-imposing h i s own p r e c o n c e p t i o n s upon the s t o r y of the Sutpen c l a n . H i s n a r r a t i v e i s studded w i t h q u a l i f i - c a t i o n s which make i t s t e n t a t i v e q u a l i t y e v i d e n t . For i n s t a n c e : Miss Rosa probably went out t h e r e , p r o b a b l y once and then no more. And she must have t o l d Mr. C o l d f i e l d t h a t there was n o t h i n g wrong and e v i d e n t l y she b e l i e v e d t h a t her- s e l f s i n c e , she continued to sew on the 89. arments f o r J u d i t h ' s wedding. 8 0 , my i t a l i c s ) Ke c o n t i n u a l l y r e v e a l s t h a t h i s n a r r a t i v e i s c r e a t e d as much as repeated with the use of e x p r e s s i o n s l i k e "I can imagine him" (90) or "perhaps (I l i k e to t h i n k t h i s ) " (95). He a s s e r t s t h a t Eon used Henry as a go-between r a - t h e r than c o u r t i n g J u d i t h d i r e c t l y , and he uses as h i s evidence the f a c t t h a t : You can not even imagine him and J u d i t h alone t o g e t h e r . T r y to do i t and the n e a r e s t you can come i s a p r o j e c t i o n of them while the two a c t u a l people were d o u b t l e s s separate and elsewhere. (97) In o t h e r words, the i m a g i n a t i o n becomes the u l t i m a t e a r - b i t e r o f the t r u t h o f any o c c u r r e n c e : Compson i s p r i m a r i l y i n t e r e s t e d i n f i c t i o n a l r e a l i t y . U l t i m a t e l y , Compson i s f o r c e d to admit the i n - adequacy of h i s account of Sutpen's s t o r y ; there i s too much which he does not know or understand: " I t ' s j u s t i n c r e d i b l e . I t j u s t does not ex- p l a i n . Or perhaps t h a t ' s i t : they dont ex- p l a i n and we are not supposed to know. We have a few o l d mouth-to-mouth t a l e s ; we ex- hume from o l d trunks and boxes and drawers l e t t e r s without s a l u t a t i o n or s i g n a t u r e , i n which men and women who once l i v e d and breathed are now merely i n i t i a l s o r nicknames . . . we see dimly people, the people i n whose l i v i n g blood and seed we o u r s e l v e s l a y dormant and w a i t i n g , i n t h i s shadowy a t t e n - u a t i o n of time p o s s e s s i n g now h e r o i c p r o - p o r t i o n s , p e r f o r m i n g t h e i r a c t s o f simple p a s s i o n and simple v i o l e n c e , impervious to time and i n e x p l i c a b l e . . . , They are t h e r e , y e t something i s m i s s i n g . " (100-1) 90. Compson's dilemma i s that shared by Quentin and Shreve and, indeed, by any h i s t o r i a n , but his own personal i g - norance i s of Charles Bon's true r e l a t i o n s h i p to Thomas Sutpen. Only late in the novel does Compson learn from h i s own son that Charles Bon was Thomas Sutpen's son by an e a r l i e r marriage. Even t h i s knowledge, as he l p f u l as i t i s , does not provide a l l the answers; indeed, a l l the answers are never a v a i l a b l e . U n t i l the l a s t page, the narrators speculate about d e t a i l s of the Sutpen story. Compson p a r t i c u l a r l y confesses his (and the general) i g - norance of many of the f a c t s : Then Sutpen went to New Orleans. Whether he chose that time to go in order to get Bon and his mother together and thrash the business out f o r good and a l l or not, no- body knows whether he ever saw the mother or not while he was there, i f she received him . . . or i f Bon was there and i t was Bon himself who refused the o f f e r , though nobody ever did know i f Bon ever knew Sut- pen was his father or not. (268-9) I t i s important to keep in mind Compson's assertions that nobody knows these d e t a i l s , f o r the narratives of Shreve and Quentin, p a r t l y because of the definiteness with which the narrators speak, p a r t l y because t h e i r versions of the Sutpen story come l a s t , are more frequently accepted as the "truth" about the Sutpens rather than yet another a l - ternative speculation. 91. Quentin Compson, the t h i r d narrator of Absalom, Absalom!, faces the same problems of understanding and explanation faced by the other narrators. In so f a r as he incorporates the narratives of Miss Rosa and Mr. Compson into his own, he achieves more insight into some of the problems l e f t unsolved by his predecessors. His meeting with Henry Sutpen in 1909 also adds to his fund of f a c t s , but ultimately he must f a l l back on an imaginative recon- s t r u c t i o n as unreliable as those of his father and Miss Rosa. Michael Millgate suggests that "Quentin's f i n a l f a i l u r e to resolve the quasi-authorial problems which con- front him i s c l o s e l y related to his p a s s i v i t y , which i t - s e l f has important implications f o r his i n i t i a l and much • 3 2 more successful role of listener."-^ Quentin i s subject to the schizophrenia of the bystander, divided between the ha l f of him that merely watches and the half that i s i n - volved imaginatively with the action he views. Faulkner speaks of "two separate Quentins": the Quentin Compson preparing f o r Harvard in the South, the deep South dead since 1865 and peopled with garrulous outraged baf f l e d ghosts, l i s t e n i n g , having to l i s t e n , to one • of the ghosts which had refused to be s t i l l even longer than most had, t e l l i n g him about old ghost-times; and the Quentin-Compson who was s t i l l too young to deserve yet to be a ghost, but nevertheless having to be one for a l l that. (.9) Like Miss Rosa, Quentin seems hardly as s o l i d as the ghosts 92. he broods upon; "he was not a being, an e n t i t y , he was a commonwealth. Ke was a barracks f i l l e d with stubborn backlooking ghosts s t i l l : recovering, even forty-three years afterward, from the fever which had cured the d i - sease" (12). It hardly seems necessary f o r Quentin to l i s t e n to the t a l e s of his father and Miss Rosa f o r he already possesses t h e i r knowledge i n his blood: But you were not l i s t e n i n g , because you knew i t a l l already, had learned, absorbed i t a l - ready without the medium of speech somehow from having been born and l i v i n g beside i t , with i t , as c h i l d r e n . w i l l and do: so that what your father was saying did not t e l l you anything so much as i t struck, word by word, T h e resonant strings of remembering. (212-13) In t h i s sense, the study of the Sutpen story i s an exam- ination of the formation of the consciousness of i t s narrators, p a r t i c u l a r l y Quentin, and therefore the tech- nique of f i r s t person narration i s appropriate to the novel as a whole. Like the other narrators, Quentin seeks out a personality in the Sutpen story with whom he can v i c a r i o u s l y i d e n t i f y , and he finds his soulmate in Henry Sutpen, whose re l a t i o n s h i p with his s i s t e r i s reminiscent of Quentin's r e l a t i o n s h i p with his s i s t e r as portrayed in The Sound and the Fury. One cannot place too much emphasis upon t h i s s i m i l a r i t y , because Faulkner never alludes to i t in Absalom, Absalom!. Leaving aside the theme of incest, 9 3 . however, there s t i l l remains the romanticism of Henry's p o s i t i o n to appeal to Quentin (and, to some extent, Shreve). William R. P o i r i e r suggests that Quentin's "attempt to discover a meaningful t r a d i t i o n depends f o r i t s success upon his discovery of a par t i c i p a n t i n the c o n f l i c t with Sutpen with whom he can share an active sense of ass o c i a t i o n . " - ^ Mr. Compson fixes on the moti- vations of Bon; Rosa C o l d f i e l d cannot forget Sutpen's outrageous proposal to her; Quentin Compson cannot escape his v i s i o n of Henry's confrontation of his s i s t e r with the news he has k i l l e d her "bridegrooms there was also something which he too could not pass that door, the running feet on the s t a i r s beyond i t almost a continuation of the f a i n t shot, the two women, the negress and the white g i r l i n her underthings . . , pausing, looking at the door, the yellowed creamy mass of old i n t r i c a t e s a t i n and lace spread c a r e f u l l y on the bed and then caught s w i f t l y up by the white g i r l and held before her as the door crashed in and the brother stood there, hatless, with his shaggy bayonet- trimmed hair, his gaunt worn unshaven face, his patched and faded grey tunic, the p i s t o l s t i l l hanging against his flanks the two of them, brother and s i s t e r , curiously a l i k e as i f the difference i n sex had merely sharpened the common blood to a t e r r i f i c , an almost unbearable, s i m i l a r i t y , speaking to one another i n short b r i e f staccato sentences l i k e slaps, as i f they stood breast to breast s t r i k i n g one another i n turn neither making any attempt to guard against the blows. Now you cant marry him. Why cant I marry him? Because he's dead. Dead? Yes. I k i l l e d him. 94. He (Quentin) couldn't pass that. (1?2) Like so many other incidents i n the novel, t h i s confrontation i s a product of the imagination of the narrators (in t h i s case, Quentin). The d e t a i l s of the scene, "the yellowed creamy mass of old i n t r i c a t e s a t i n " which Judith holds before her, Henry's "shaggy bayonet- trimmed hair", the entire conversation, are impossible to prove, but they f i t Quentin's conception of what the scene must have been l i k e . Shreve quotes Miss Rosa's statement i n j u s t i f i c a t i o n of such poetic l i c e n c e j "There are some things that just have to be whether they are or not, have to be a damn sight more than some other things that maybe are and i t dont matter a damn whether they are or not" ( 3 2 2 ) . Quentin and Shreve create, f o r instance, a scene of Bon and Judith walking in a garden among the "jasmine, spiraea, honeysuckle" and the author comments: It would not matter here i n Cambridge that the time had been winter i n that garden too, and hence no bloom nor l e a f even i f there had been someone to walk there and be seen there since, judged by subsequent events, i t had been night i n the garden also. But that did not matter because i t had been so long ago. (295) Indeed, Quentin and Shreve create characters never before mentioned simply because they f e e l the need f o r t h e i r ex- istence. E u l a l i a Bon's mother i s not mentioned i n 9 5 . Mr. Compson's version of Sutpen's Haitian experience, but the two young men create and describe her: the s l i g h t dowdy woman with untidy, gray- streaked raven hair coarse as a horse's t a i l , with parchment-colored skin and im- placable pouched black eyes which alone showed no age because they showed no f o r - getting, whom Shreve and Quentin had l i k e - wise invented and which was likewise pro- bably true enough. ( 3 3 5 ) Quentin and Shreve have become, so to speak, surrogate authors s e l e c t i n g , creating, and r e j e c t i n g d e t a i l s which f i t t h e i r v i s i o n of the way things must have been. Frequently, t h e i r s e l e c t i o n and in t e r p r e t a t i o n c o n f l i c t s with that of the other narrators. Sometimes, one f e e l s that, because of t h e i r access to new information, they have provided superior accounts of the action, as i s the case i n t h e i r i n t e r p r e t a t i o n of Sutpen's motivations f o r forbidding Judith's marriage to Charles Bon. But occasionally the reader i s provided with a l t e r n a t i v e versions which he has no way of evaluating. For instance, Shreve declares to Quentin: your old man was wrong here, too! He said i t was Bon who was wounded, but i t wasn't. Because who t o l d him? Who t o l d Sutpen, or your grandfather either , which of them i t was who was h i t ? . . . i t was not Bon, i t was Henry? Bon that found Henry at l a s t and stooped to pick him up. ( 3 ^ 4 ) The arguments Shreve uses to invalidate Mr. Compson's version of the b a t t l e f i e l d incident can just as well be 96. used to undermine his own assertions. Compson prefers to think Kenry did the saving because he views Bon as a sar- donic and passive spectator. Shreve, on the other hand, i d e n t i f i e s with Bon as a young man i n search of his r i g h t s and prefers to assign him the active role against Henry's Quentin-like p a s s i v i t y . In speaking of Quentin's narrative, i t has been necessary to include Shreve McCannon i n the discussion f o r he and Quentin speak often i n the same terms to the extent that they are v i r t u a l l y interchangeable. Faulkner describes t h e i r conversations I t was Shreve speaking, though save f o r the s l i g h t difference which the intervening de- grees of l a t i t u d e had inculcated in them (differences not i n tone or p i t c h but of turns of phrase and usage of words), i t might have been e i t h e r of them and was i n a sense both: both thinking as one, the voice which happened to be speaking the thought only the thinking become audible, vocal. (303) A l l that Shreve knows about the Sutpen hi s t o r y , he has learned from Quentin so his narrative frequently becomes a form of playback. More important, though, i s t h e i r mutual f i x a t i o n on the love story of Judith, Charles, and Henry which r e a l l y forms only a part of the Sutpen legend. Faulkner explains that the two young men achieves some happy marriage of speaking and hearing wherein each before the demand, the require- ment, forgave condoned and forgot the f a u l t i n g of the other f a u l t i n g s both i n the creating 9 7 . of the shade whom they discussed (rather, existed in) and i n the hearing s i f t i n g and discarding the f a l s e and conserving what seemed true, or f i t the preconceived in order to overpass to love, where there might be paradox and inconsistency but nothing f a u l t nor f a l s e . (316) The love the two young men focus upon i n t h e i r narrative fusion p a r a l l e l s an emotion springing from t h e i r own experience. Faulkner says of them: There was something curious in the way they looked at one another, curious and quiet and profoundly intent, not at a l l as two young men might look at each other but almost as a youth and a very young g i r l might out of v i r g i n i t y i t s e l f a sort of hushed and naked searching, each look burdened with youth's immemorial obsession not with time's dragging weight which the old l i v e with but with i t s f l u i d i t y . ( 2 9 9 ) Quentin and Shreve, the Southerner and the Canadian, "born half a continent apart yet joined, connected a f t e r a fashion i n a sort of geographical transubstantiation by that Continental Trough" ( 2 5 8 ) , the M i s s i s s i p p i River, unite emotionally and imaginatively to create t h e i r ver- sion of the Southern romance. Shreve i s not always indistinguishable from Quentin i n tone and attitude; t h e i r union occurs at those points i n the narrative at which they are joined by a sen timental apprehension of the romance of Henry, Charles, and Judith. Frequently, however, Shreve's stance i s 9 8 . t y p i f i e d by distance and irony, p a r t i c u l a r l y when the discussion centers upon Sutpen or Miss Rosa (whom he i n s i s t s upon c a l l i n g Aunt Rosa, thereby equating Quentin and Henry, saying: "You mean she was no kin to you, no kin to you at a l l , that there was a c t u a l l y one Southern Bayard or Guinevere who was no kin to you?" ) Typical of Shreve's attitude at these times i s his comment: "Jesus, the South i s f i n e , i s n ' t i t . I t ' s better than the theatre, i s n ' t i t . I t ' s better than Ben Hur, i s n ' t i t " (21?). A f t e r the obsessed musings of the other narrators, Shreve's irony i s refreshing and d i r e c t ; he provides a welcome counterpoint to the dark tones of the novel. At times, his i r o n i c comments remind Quentin of his father's sardonic statements. Quentin thinks: "He sounds .just l i k e father. . . . Just exactly l i k e father i f father had known as much about i t the night before I went out there as he did the day a f t e r I came back" (181). So at times Shreve sounds l i k e Mr. Compson, at other times l i k e Quentin (as was shown above). Indeed, he occasionally even resembles Miss Rosa in that he uses the same imagery, although i r o n i c a l l y ; he c a l l s Sutpen " t h i s demon, t h i s Beelzebub . . . t h i s Faustus who appeared suddenly one Sunday with two p i s t o l s and twenty subsidiary demons . . . 99. who hid horns and t a i l beneath human raiment and a beaver hat" (178). The reason f o r t h i s i d e n t i f i c a t i o n of the separate narrators with one another p a r a l l e l s the reason f o r the vicarious i d e n t i f i c a t i o n of the members of the Sutpen family with those same narrators. Quentin saysi Maybe we are both Father. Maybe nothing ever happens once and i s f i n i s h e d . Maybe append i s never once bur l i k e r i p p l e s maybe on water a f t e r the pebble sinks^ "the r i p p l e s moving on, spreading, the pool attached by a narrow umbilical water- cTord to the next pool which the f i r s t pool feeds f has fed, did feed, l e t t h i s second  pool contain a d i f f e r e n t temperature of water, a d i f f e r e n t molecularity of having seen, f e l t , remembered, r e f l e c t in a d i f f e r e n t tone the i n f i n i t e unchanging sky, Tt doesn't matters that pebble's watery echo whose f a l l i t did not even see moves across i t s surface too at the o r i g i n a l ripple-space, to the old ineradicable rhythm . . . Yes, we are both Father. fir maybe Father and I are both Shreve, may- be . i t took Father and me both to make Shreve or Shreve and me both to makejFather or maybe Thomas Sutpen to make a l l of us. ^ (26t42) It i s appropriate that the narrators of a story of which a major theme i s the influence of the story on those narrators should s i m i l a r l y influence and merge with one another. Therefore, the novel's style f a i l s to d i s t i n - guish tones and accents as c l e a r l y as, f o r instance, The Sound and the Fury. Irvi n g Howe, points out that, while "several characters are employed as narrators, they are not sharply distinguished, t h e i r voices blending i n a 100. drone of eloquence. . . . Faulkner i s t r y i n g not to i d e n t i f y the narrators as in d i v i d u a l s but to arrange them •5/4 as parts in a chorus."-^ Although the differences i n s t y l e and tone are more obvious than Mr. Howe admits, i t i s true that the novel's st y l e i s more monotone than tk^t&fotket* of Faulkner's novels. The unity of the style r e f l e c t s the human interconnections the book considers. There i s another important reason f o r Shreve's tendency to irony s i m i l a r to Mr. Compson's. Like Mr. Compson, he uses the sardonic tone to distance events which might otherwise d i s t u r b him too much. Faulkner ex- pl a i n s Shreve*s tone saying: "This was not flippancy e i t h e r . I t too was just that protective c o l o r i n g of l e - v i t y behind which the youthful shame of being moved hid i t s e l f " (280). Shreve confesses as much to Quentin, when, a f t e r making several sardonic remarks about the South, he drops his pose of detached amusement to say: "Wait. L i s t e n . I'm not t r y i n g to be funny, smart. I just want to understand i t i f I can and I dont know how to say i t better. Because i t ' s something my people haven't got. Or i f we have got i t , i t a l l happened so long ago across the water and so now there aint anything to look at every day to remind us of i t . We dont l i v e among defeated grandfathers and freed slaves (or have I got i t backward and was i t your folks that are free and the niggers that lost?) and b u l l e t s i n the dining room table and such, to be always reminding us to never forget. What i s i t ? something you l i v e and breathe in l i k e a i r ? a kind of vacuum f i l l e d with 101. wraithlike and indomitable anger and pride and glory at and i n happenings that occurred and ceased f i f t y years ago? a kind of entailed b i r t h r i g h t father and son and father and son of never f o r g i v i n g General Sherman, so that forevermore as long as your children's children produce children you wont be anything but a descendant of a long l i n e of colonels k i l l e d in Pickett's charge at Manassas?" (361) Shreve's Canadian background removes him completely from the e f f e c t s of the South's history (much more than i f he were an American from the North, the old enemy) while, at the same time, h i s r e l a t i o n s h i p with Quentin involves him in the universal implications of the events he helps to narrate. He i s unable to remember that Pickett's charge occurred not at Manassas, a Southern v i c t o r y , but at Gettysburg, a decisive Southern defeat. Cleanth Brooks describes his i n c l u s i o n i n Absalom, Absalom! as "a stroke of genius", f o r by including him "Faulkner has in e f f e c t acknowledged the attitude of the modern ' l i b e r a l , ' twentieth-century reader, who i s b a s i c a l l y r a t i o n a l , s k e p t i c a l , without any s p e c i a l concern f o r history, and pretty well emancipated from the t i e s of family, race, or s e c t i o n . " - ^ Like the other narrators, however, Shreve finds a personality within the Sutpen story with whom he can v i c a r i o u s l y i d e n t i f y . He and Quentin, linked by a love 102. which has an important e f f e c t on t h e i r j o i n t narrative, i d e n t i f y with Charles Bon and Henry Sutpen, whose • passionate bond p a r a l l e l s t h e i r own. Indeed, the r e l a - tionship between Charles and Henry i s i t s e l f founded upon a sense of vicarious experience, "Henry watching Bon and Bon permitting himself to be watched," (119) s i m i l a r to that shared by the narrators. As Quentin and Shreve contemplate the story of Charles and Henry, they suddenly become the characters of t h e i r own n a r r a t i v e : So that now i t was not two but four of them r i d i n g the two horses through the dark over the frozen December ruts of that Christmas Eve: four of them and then just two Charles-Shreve and Quentin-Kenry. (33 k ) The two p a r a l l e l s are obvious: Charles and Shreve, both outsiders, both coolly sardonic in appearance, both i n - t e l l e c t u a l s , j o i n with Henry and Quentin, respectively, the two young Southerners obsessed with t h e i r heritage. Beyond these immediate p a r a l l e l s l i e s a more profound i d e n t i f i c a t i o n , f o r as the narrators delve more deeply into t h e i r narrative, they become "not even four now but compounded s t i l l further, since now both of them were Henry Sutpen and both of them were Bon, compounded each of both yet e i t h e r neither" (351). A l l four young men t y p i f y the eternal q u a l i t y of youth so that, as Faulkner says, i t doesn't matter "what faces and what 103. names they c a l l e d themselves and were c a l l e d by so long as the blood coursed the blood, the immortal b r i e f recent intransient blood which could hold honor above slothy unregret and love above f a t and easy shame" (295). F i n a l l y , the i d e n t i f i c a t i o n i s an imaginative one, the one evoked by a l l good f i c t i o n , so that there are more than four r i d i n g "through the dark over the frozen De- cember ruts." They are joined by a f i f t h , the involved reader, attempting to create from the disparate narra- t i v e s of Absalom, Absalom! an imaginative unity. It i s necessary, before leaving Absalom, Absalom!, to examine i t s c e n t r a l f i g u r e , the personality that a l l the narrators discuss even when they focus on other mem- bers of the Sutpen family. I t i s , nevertheless, d i f f i c u l t to discuss Thomas Sutpen's career with any degree of cer- t a i n t y f o r v i r t u a l l y everything we know about him f i l t e r s through the subjective consciousness of the novel's four narrators. This i s somehow appropriate, f o r Thomas Sutpen's career may be defined i n terms of the impressions and attitudes of those who surround him. The watching by- stander influences the p a r t i c i p a n t ' s actions. The o r i g i n a l c r i s i s of Sutpen's l i f e occurs when, as a boy of th i r t e e n , he i s turned away from the front door of a V i r g i n i a mansion by a Negro servant who 104. regards him as white trash. Suddenly, Thomas i s forced into: seeing his own father and s i s t e r s and brothers as the owner, the r i c h man (not the nigger) must have been seeing them a l l the time as c a t t l e , creatures heavy and without grace, brutely evacuated into a world without hope or purpose f o r them. (235) This v i s i o n of himself through society's eyes and his r e a l i z a t i o n that "there was a country a l l divided and fix e d and neat with a people l i v i n g on i t a l l divided and f i x e d and neat because of what co l o r t h e i r skins happened to be and what they happened to own" (221) pro- p e l him on a quest f o r the s o c i a l r e s p e c t a b i l i t y and wealth that w i l l c l a s s i f y him with the "haves" rather than the "have-nots." Appropriately, the attitudes of the watchers impel the actions of the watched. Sutpen's Hundred and the paraphernalia, i n c l u - ding a wife and children, which surroundf? i t are the v i s i b l e manifestations of Sutpen's urge to create an image f o r a watching society. Miss Rosa claims he marries her s i s t e r as necessary adjunct to r e s p e c t a b i l i t y (16) and Mr. Compson concurs, saying. decorum even i f not elegance of appearance would be the only weapon (or rather, ladder) with which he could conduct the l a s t assault upon what Miss C o l d f i e l d and perhaps others believed to be r e s p e c t a b i l i t y that r e s p e c t a b i l i t y which, according to 105. General Compson, consisted i n Sutpen's secret mind of a great deal more than the mere a c q u i s i t i o n of a chatelaine f o r his house. (37) Sutpen seems concerned that his gestures, the external shape of the impression he desires to create, be the appropriate ones. His sa l u t a t i o n i s a " f l o r i d , swaggering gesture to the hat" which i r o n i c a l l y draws the comment: yes, he was underbred. I t showed l i k e t h i s always, your grandfather said, i n a l l his formal contacts with people. He was l i k e John L. S u l l i v a n having taught himself p a i n f u l l y and tediously to do the schottische, having d r i l l e d himself and d r i l l e d himself i n secret u n t i l he now believed i t no" longer necessary to count the music's beat, say. (46) General Compson wonders from what book Sutpen learned "the bombastic phrases with which . . . he even asked you f o r a match f o r his cigar" (240). From the same source we learn that Sutpen desired a big wedding be- cause "He wanted, not the anonymous wife and the anony- mous children, but the two names, the s t a i n l e s s wife and the unimpeachable father-in-law, on the l i c e n s e , the patent" (51). Yet Sutpen frequently flaunts his disregard of public opinion. Compson says: He was the biggest single landowner and cottonplanter i n the county now, attained by the same t a c t i c s with which he had b u i l t his house the same singleminded 1 0 6 . unflagging e f f o r t and u t t e r disregard of how his actions which the town could see might look and how the ones which the town could not see must appear to i t . ( 7 2 ) A f t e r the C i v i l War, he refuses to join with his neigh- bours in the Ku Klux Klan, r e p l y i n g to t h e i r declaration that h i s r e f u s a l meant wars "'I.am used to i t ' ? ( 1 6 2 ) . The paradox of concern and disregard i s only apparent, however. E c c e n t r i c , immoral, ruthless, the town may be- l i e v e him to be, but i n s i g n i f i c a n t or lowly he knows they w i l l never consider him. His actions e s t a b l i s h his grandeur and strength, i f nothing else; those are the important q u a l i t i e s f o r the t h i r t e e n year old boy who be came Thomas Sutpen. Furthermore, Sutpen's disregard of public opinion contrasts with his concern f o r the attitude of p o s t e r i t y : A l l of a sudden he discovered, not what he wanted to do but what he just had to do . . . because i f he did not do i t he knew that he could never l i v e with him- s e l f f o r the rest of his l i f e , never l i v e with what a l l the men and women that had died to make him had l e f t inside of him f o r him to pass on, with a l l the dead ones waiting and watching to see i f he was going to do i t r i g h t , f i x things r i g h t so that he would be able to look i n the face not only the old dead ones but a l l the l i v i n g ones that would come a f t e r when he would be one of the dead. ( 2 2 0 ) His concern with his heritage and with p o s t e r i t y i s more 107. important than his desire to impress his neighbours. I t i s , therefore, p a r t i c u l a r l y f i t t i n g that his story should be t o l d by the very people he wished to impress. The four narrators of Absalom, Absalom!, l i v i n g in the twen- t i e t h century, are the audience uppermost i n Sutpen's mind just as he, a dead C i v i l War Colonel, bulks largest in t h e i r s . ^ As each narrator faces the b a f f l i n g i n t r i - cacies of the Sutpen legend, he (or she) searches f o r an i n d i v i d u a l with whom he (or she) can share an emotional experience. In the absence of personal f u l f i l l m e n t , t h i s imaginative and vicarious experience serves as a surro- gate at the same time that i t represents a triumph of the imagination i n penetrating the years separating the narra- tors and t h e i r subjects. In a fusion of past and present, Henry and Quentin, Rosa and Judith, Compson and Bon, Shreve and Bon, are each u n i f i e d by an achieved awareness of the u n i v e r s a l i t y of human pain and joy. Af t e r the complexities of Absalom, Absalom! (1936), Pylon (1935) seems r e l a t i v e l y straightforward; i t appears to be the t a l e , highly coloured and dramatic, of the new l i f e associated with aviation and, more generally, of the mechanical revolution transforming society. While at the University of V i r g i n i a , Faulkner described the aviators he was t r y i n g to show i n the novel: 108. To me they were a f a n t a s t i c and bizarre phenomenon on the face of a contemporary scene, of our culture at a p a r t i c u l a r time.-. . . . They were ephemera and phe- nomena on the face of a contemporary scene. That i s , there was r e a l l y no place f o r them i n the culture, i n the economy, yet they were there, at that time, and everyone knew that they wouldn't l a s t very long, which they didn't. That time of those f r a n t i c l i t t l e aeroplanes which dashed around the country and people wanted just enough money to l i v e , to get to the next place to race again. Some- thing f r e n e t i c and in a way almost immoral about i t . That they were outside the range of God, not only of r e s p e c t a b i l i t y , of love, but of God too. That they had escaped the compulsion of accepting a past and a future, that they were they had no past.3? At the same time, Faulkner revealed that he had written the book as a diversion a f t e r he had become temporarily bogged down i n the complexities of Absalom, Absalom! Perhaps the a v i a t o r s ' appearance of having "escaped the compulsion of accepting a past" appealed to him at t h i s moment as a r e l i e f from the past-obsessed narrators of the l a r g e r novel. Edmond L. Volpe f e e l s that t h i s statement about the aviators of Pylon "reveals the ambivalent attitude toward the f l i e r s that mars the novel. Sympathy f o r them in t h e i r i s o l a t i o n from society merges with antipathy f o r them as rootless beings beyond the range of God and love."^ 0" On the contrary, I would suggest that Pylon 109. i s an examination of t h i s ambivalence, rather than a novel inadvertently marred by i t . A cl o s e r look at the novel reveals the central importance of the bystander who reports the action, a man whose name we never learn, who i s known simply as the Reporter. Olga Vickery suggests that "a name and a per- sonal i d e n t i t y presuppose a ce r t a i n consistency of a t t i - tude, whereas the Reporter e x i s t s s o l e l y as a reverberator who can and does a r t i c u l a t e a series of disconnected and, at times, contradictory interpretations of the New World. But the Reporter i s more than t h i s : he i s , as his name suggests, another example of the bystander we have d i s - cussed in previous novels, the man who watches rather than acts, who seems incapable of emotion l e t alone action u n t i l t h i s p a r t i c u l a r group of aviators burst into his Prufrook- l i k e existence. The novel i s , moreover, a record of his development into a l i f e of emotion because of the impact of Laverne and the wild men who surround her. Michael Millgate has suggested that the s i t u a t i o n i s much l i k e that i n Light in August with Laverne's rescue of the Re- porter from semi - l i f e comparable to Lena Grove's wakening of Byron Bunch from his i s o l a t i o n . * * 0 Jiggs re f e r s to the Reporter as Lazarus, a name that suggest his r e b i r t h from the dead. 110. Much has been said about the obvious p a r a l l e l s between E l i o t ' s e a r l i e r poetry and Pylon. The Reporter's existence at the f i r s t of the novel i s much l i k e that of E l i o t ' s famous "patient etherized upon a table." A more important comparison f o r understanding the novel, however, i s with E l i o t ' s "The Hollow Men." Faulkner's Reporter seems very much l i k e E l i o t ' s dessicated ghosts, unable to act or f e e l . Moreover, he sees the aviators as " l o s t , v i o l e n t souls" who, whatever t h e i r l i m i t a t i o n s , l i v e a l i f e which seems preferable to his own h a l f l i f e i n the limbo of modern society. In the same way that the narra- tors of Absalom, Absalom! watch the violence and passion of Thomas Sutpen from the s t e r i l i t y of t h e i r own l i v e s , so the Reporter in Pylon focusses upon the passions of Laverne and her entourage because they provide a welcome al t e r n a t i v e to his own Life-in-Death. Throughout the novel, Faulkner constantly em- phasizes the Reporter's i n s u b s t a n t i a l i t y and ghostliness. He i s a creature which, erect, would be better than six feet t a l l and would weigh about ni n e t y f i v e pounds in a s u i t of no color, as though made of a i r and doped l i k e an aeroplane wing with the incrusted excre- t i o n of a l l a r t i c u l a t e l i f e ' s contact with the passing earth, which ballooned l i g h t and impedimentless about a skeleton frame as though s u i t and wearer both hung from a flapping c l o t h e s l i n e . ^ - 2 111. Ke hangs before his editor's desk "as though he had been blown f o r a second against the desk by a wind and would in another second be blown onward once more" (178). The Reporter i s the archetype of the bystander divorced from the r e a l i t y he perpetually watches: he seemed doomed to look down at everyone with whom he seemed p e r e n i a l l y and perpe- t u a l l y compelled e i t h e r to plead or just to endure: perhaps enduring and passing the time u n t i l that day when time and age would have thinned s t i l l more what blood he had and so permit him to see himself a c t u a l l y as the f r i e n d l y and lonely ghost peering t i m i d l y down from the hayloft at the other children playing below. (167) When the novel opens, we f i n d the Reporter's e d i t o r accusing him of w r i t i n g l i f e l e s s copy with no i n - tere s t i n i t : "you never seem to bring back anything but information. Oh you have that, a l l r i g h t , because we seem to get everything that the other papers do and we haven't been sued yet and so doubtless i t ' s a l l that anyone should expect f o r f i v e cents and doubtless more than they deserve. But i t ' s not the l i v i n g breath of news. It' s just information. I t ' s dead before you even get back here with i t . " (42) But the Reporter immediately leaps to t h i s challenge, f o r he has been awakened from his coma by the advent of Laverne and her "twin husbands." Fascinated by t h e i r un- orthodox l i f e s t y l e and the sense of immediate f e l t l i f e they embody, the Reporter fastens onto t h i s group of 112. aviators and follows them l i k e one obsessed. "Why don't you leave these people alone?" Hagood the e d i t o r asks him: "I cant," he said. "You cant?" Hagood said. "Did you ever t r y to?" "Yes," the Reporter said i n his dead f l a t voice looking at the lamp again . . .."I t r i e d . " (179) So, i n spite of himself, the bystander i s forced to be- come involved i n l i f e and the l i v e s of other people, and, as the novel develops, his sympathy f o r the aviators deepens. His attitude changes from one of l a s c i v i o u s c u r i o s i t y to a f a s c i n a t i o n with the v i t a l i t y of these people. To underscore the Reporter's development Faulkner presents a scene a f t e r .Roger 'Schumann's crash into the lake which contrasts the Reporter's fee l i n g s with the attitudes of reporters from the other newspapers of New Valo i s . The Reporter, returning from the d i s a s t e r scene, has had a strong drink: "So I f e e l better," he said. Then he began to say i t f a s t : "Oh God, I f e e l better.* I f e e l better! I f e e l : I f e e l I " u n t i l he quit that too and said q u i e t l y . . . "Some- thing i s going to happen to me. I have got myself stretched out too f a r and too thin and something i s going to bust." (300) He enters the realm of human emotion: "I f e e l better" has suddenly become "I f e e l : " , the declaration of a new condi- t i o n f o r the Reporter. As he returns to his apartment, 113. we f i n d that he begins to i d e n t i f y i n the f u l l e s t sense with the dead £o'qer* Schumanns But i t {jthe apartment] was empty, or com- par a t i v e l y so, because he kept on making that v e r t i c a l reverse without any rudder or f l i p p e r s and looking down on the close- peopled land and the empty lake and d e c i - ding, and the dredgeboat hanging over him f o r twenty hours and then having to l i e there too and look up at the wreath d i s - solving, f a i n t l y rocking.,...., (301) F i n a l l y , the bystander, through emotional i d e n t i f i c a t i o n , has merged with the p a r t i c i p a n t , just as Quentin and Shreve merged with Charles and Henry i n Absalom, Absalom!. This emotional i d e n t i f i c a t i o n i s more remarkable because of i t s contrast with the indifference of the other reporters at the scene of the accident; the comments of the crowd which witnesses the accident are composed of "ten thousand d i f f e r e n t smug and gratulant behind- sighted forms of. I might be a bum and, a bastard but I am not out there i n that lake" (252). One reporter says of Schumann: " I f he had been a man that thought, he would not have been up there i n the f i r s t place" (289). Another speculates that Laverne must be thinking: "Thank God I carry a spare" (289). The difference between the public newspaper re- port that concludes the novel and the version which the Reporter destroys underlies the paradox in his emotions. 114. No longer i n d i f f e r e n t spectator, he i s s t i l l not an i n - volved p a r t i c i p a n t . His sympathy involves him in the actions of the aviators but his i n e r t i a i s o l a t e s him from experience. Walter J. S l a t o f f asserts that the Reporter i s unable to make sense of his experience. S l a t o f f de- scribes one version of the report as f u l l of phony sen- timent, the other as conveying "only the reporter's anger and b i t t e r n e s s . M i c h a e l Millgate says that the Repor- t e r "becomes obsessed with the f a c t that he cannot be 'the Reporter' without also being an interpreter, and with the knowledge that the act of in t e r p r e t a t i o n ne- 44 c e s s a r i l y involves d i s t o r t i o n . " More important, the act of i n t e r p r e t a t i o n , i n Pylon as in Absalom, Absalom!, demands involvement. The report f o r the newspaper i s b i t t e r l y sar- c a s t i c . I t s irony serves to distance i t from human su f f e r i n g as does i t s meticulous concern with concrete d e t a i l : "At midnight l a s t night the search f o r the body of Roger Schumann, racing p i l o t who plunged into the lake Saturday P.M. was f i n a l l y abandoned by a three-place biplane of about eighty horsepower which managed to f l y out over the water and return without f a l l i n g to pieces and dropping a wreath of flowers into the water approximately three quarters of a mile away from where Schumann's body i s generally supposed to be since they were pr e c i s i o n p i l o t s and so did not miss the entire lake." (315) 115. Scrawled beneath the report, a note to the Reporter's edit o r , Hagood, states: "I guess t h i s i s what you want you b a s t a r d . ( 3 1 5 ) The anger of the report i s at l e a s t an improvement upon the indifference Hagood e a r l i e r c r i t i c i z e d . The private version which the Reporter throws into the wastebasket reveals a concern and sympathy ab- sent from the f i n a l copy. The copy boy who reads i t be- l i e v e s i t "to be not only news but the beginning of l i - terature" (314). This abortive report represents the Reporter's attempt to express part of what he f e l t about the aviators, but the f a i l u r e of the attempt i s manifest in the Reporter's r e j e c t i o n of i t himself: "On Thursday Roger Schumann flew a race against four competitors, and won. On Saturday he flew against but one competi- t o r . But that competitor was Death, and Roger Schumann l o s t . And so today a lone aeroplane flew out over the lake on the wings of dawn and c i r c l e d the spot where Roger Schumann got the Last Checkered Flag, and vanished back into the dawn from whence i t came. Thus two friends t o l d him farewell. Two f r i e n d s , yet two competitors too, whom he had met i n f a i r contest and conquered i n the lonely sky from which he f e l l , dropping a simple wreath to mark his Last Pylon." (314) The two juxtaposed versions demonstrate the ambivalence the novel describes. The aviators are strangely immoral, apparently callous people, and yet they embody a v i t a l i t y 116. and passion missing from the limbo of the Reporter's world. Are they to be scorned as the public newspaper version shows or are they to be respected as the private, more sympathetic version suggests? The Reporter i s incapable of saying. In a l l of the novels discussed i n t h i s chapter, Faulkner has portrayed the r e l a t i o n s h i p between the spec- ta t o r and the p a r t i c i p a n t . The passive bystander finds himself trapped in a meaningless world from which he ob- serves the actions of a more v i t a l personality. For the bystander, perception has become the only a c t i v i t y . Quentin Compson, Darl Bundren, Miss Rosa C o l d f i e l d , and the Reporter a l l seem to have no alt e r n a t i v e to watching. But t h e i r observing can be a powerful force and frequently Faulkner shows the p a r t i c i p a n t s i n the action reacting to and being controlled by the observer who can do no more than watch. Conscious of the watching eyes, characters l i k e Cad<kj Compson, Jewel Bundren, and Thomas Sutpen re- act in complex ways ei t h e r to s a t i s f y or defy what they f e e l to be the demands of the observing v i s i o n . In t h i s sense, the bystander by merely watching becomes an important force. 117. Footnotes 1 Hyatt Waggoner, William Faulkner: From Jefferson to the World (Lexington! University of Kentucky Press, 1959), p. 213. 2 Joseph Gold, William Faulkner: A Study in Humanism from Metaphor to Discourse (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1966), p. 5. ^ Faulkner in.the University, p. 83. ^ Faulkner i n the University, p. 1 , Lawrence E. Bowling, "The Technique of The Sound and the Fury," Kenyon Review, 10 (Autumn 1948), 552-566. Reprinted i n Frederick J . Hoffman and Olga Vickery, eds., William Faulkner: Two Decades of C r i t i c i s m (East Lansing: Michigan State University Press, 1951), P» 175« 6 Waggoner, p. 39. ^ I r v i n g Howe, William Faulkner: A C r i t i c a l Study 2nd ed. (New York: Vintage Books, 1962), p. 158. o William Faulkner, The Sound and the Fury (1929; r p t . New York: Random House, 1956), p. IW. A l l subsequent references to t h i s e d i t i o n w i l l appear in the text. 9 Howe, p. 164. 1 0 Jean-Paul Sartre, "Time i n Faulkner: The Sound and the Fury" i n his L i t e r a r y and Philosophical Essays, trans. Annette Michelson (London: Rider, 1955)» PP« 79-87. Reprinted in Two Decades, p. 186. Melvin Backman, Faulkner: The Major Years (Bloomington: Indiana University i-ress, 1966) , p. 28. 1 2 Michael H. Cowan, "Introduction" to Twentieth Century Interpretations of The Sound and the Fury, ed. Michael H. Cowan (Englewood C l i f f s , N.J.: P r e n t i c e - H a l l , 1968), p. 10. Waggoner, p. 40. l k M i l l g a t e , p. 87. 118. 1 5 Vickery, p. 29. 1 6 Margaret Blanchard, "The Rhetoric of Communion: Voice in The Sound and the Fury," American L i t e r a t u r e , 41 (January 1970), 560. 1 7 Waggoner, p. 58. 1 8 Walter J . S l a t o f f , Quest f o r Fa i l u r e : A Study of William Faulkner (Ithaca, N.Y.: Cornell University Press, I960), p. 153. *9 Waggoner, p. 56. 2 0 Waggoner, p. 63 and pp. 76-77. 2 1 William J . Handy, "As I Lay Dying: Faulkner's Inner Reporter," Kenyon Review, 21 (Summer 1959)» p. 442. Faulkner i n the University, p. 110. 2 ^ Brooks, p. 146. 2 ^ Faulkner i n the University, pp. 273-274. 2 5 Waggoner, p. 148. 2 6 William Faulkner, Absalom. Absalom! (19361 rpt. New York: Random House, 1964), p. 190. A l l subsequent references to t h i s e d i t i o n w i l l appear i n the text. 2 7 Vickery, p. 101. 28 29 2 8 Vickery, p. 87. Lynn G a r t r e l l Levins, "The Four Narrative Per- spectives i n Absalom, Absalom!" PMLA, 85 (January 1970), 37. 3° U s e Dusbir Lindvi, "The Design and Meaning of Absalom, Absalom!!' PMLA, 70 (December 1955)» 887-912. Reprinted in Frederick Hoffman and Olga Vickery, eds., William Faulkner: Three Decades of C r i t i c i s m (I960; r p t . New York: Harcourt, Brace, 1963). p. 283. 5 1 Vickery, p. 101. 3 2 M i l l g a t e , p. 155. 119. 33 William P o i r i e r , "'Strange Gods' in Jefferson, M i s s i s s i p p i : Analysis of Absalom, Absalom!" in Two Decades, pp. 230-231. ^ Howe, p. 255. 3$ Brooks, p. 313. 3^ One could compare the actions of Judith Sutpen and Miss Rosa C o l d f i e l d , both of whom seem concerned with reaching p o s t e r i t y , the one by giv i n g Charles Bon's l e t t e r to her aunt to save, the other by passing on to Quentin Compson the story of her l i f e . 37 Faulkner in the University, p. 36. 3Q Volpe, p. 176. 39 vickery, p. 151. ^° M i l l g a t e , p. 142. 4l See Waggoner, pp. 122 -132, f o r instance. ^ 2 William Faulkner, Pylon (New York: Random House, 1935)• PP« 20-21. A l l subsequent references to t h i s e dition w i l l appear i n the text. ^3 s i a t o f f , p. 214. ^ M i l l g a t e , p. 147. CHAPTER THREE THS BYSTANDER AND IRONY In the previous chapters, I have shown Faulkner's natural concern with the choric voice i n his f i c t i o n and the manner i n which he developed the bystander or witness into an i n t e g r a l and s t r u c t u r a l part of various novels. I have also indicated that t h i s device expresses one of his recurring themes, the s u b j e c t i v i t y of v i s i o n . Thus h i s use of the by- stander i s at times i r o n i c j f o r instance, the chorus of bystanders i n As I Lay Dying i s a fine example of dramatic irony. Again, i n Absalom, Absalom!, Faulkner frequently uses the figure of Shreve McCannon to de- f l a t e i r o n i c a l l y Quentin's high-powered r h e t o r i c . Irony i s pervasive i n most of Faulkner's works, but i n a number of novels i t i s p a r t i c u l a r l y involved with the use of the bystander. In subsequent chapters I w i l l show that t h i s irony also extends to the Gavin Stevens novels. S t a r t i n g with S o l d i e r s ^ Pay, his f i r s t novel, Faulkner uses his bystander figure as a means to under- cut i r o n i c a l l y the novel's dominant mood. Just as i n As I Lay Dying he created the comic v i s i o n of the chorus to counterpoint the t r a g i c v i s i o n of the Bundrens, so i n SoldierWJ> Pay he juxtaposes the i r o n i c v i s i o n of 121. Januarius Jones with the predominantly romantic v i s i o n of the novel. As Michael Millgate says, "The presence of Januarius Jones casts an i r o n i c l i g h t over much of the book, as i f the action were being regarded with a kind of double v i s i o n , a l t e r n a t i n g the t r a g i c mask with the comic ."1 The character Januarius Jones seems at f i r s t i r r e l e v a n t to the novel: he i s a stranger a r b i t r a r i l y introduced into an action i n which he has no place. He i s i n no sense a sympathetic or a t t r a c t i v e f i g u r e ; he i s lecherous, s e l f - s e r v i n g , unpitying. Faulkner, how- ever, indicates immediately h i s character's p o s i t i o n i n the novel: "Januarius Jones' face was a round mirror before which fauns and nymphs might have wantoned when the world was young" (58). He i s the mirror which re- f l e c t s upon the ac t i o n . His very name suggests the two- headed Roman god, looking before and a f t e r , always watching. This i s his primary role i n the novel: to act as an audience to the play performed before him. Indeed, Jones i s exceedingly perceptive — he immediately picks out the hints and clues necessary to understanding the scene; on h i s f i r s t meeting with C e c i l y Saunders, Donald Mahon's fiancee, he characterizes her as "shallow" and he perceives the fact that Emmy, who 122. also loves Donald, i s involved i n the emotional playt "Oho, Emmy has f i s h of her own to f r y , thought Jones" (79). Jones* continual watching disturbs the other characters, p a r t i c u l a r l y C e c i l y Saunders. As C e c i l y leaves the house with George Farr, she looks back and sees "a face i n the window, a round face" (86). When she meets George s e c r e t l y i n a cafe against her father's wishes, she i s again s t a r t l e d by Jones' watching pre- sence t "She looked hurriedly about the store, and her heart turned to water. Here, s i t t i n g at a table i n the alcove made by the ascending s t a i r s , was that f a t man, with a half-empty glass before him" (216). Jones i s often ludicrous, p a r t i c u l a r l y when he "stoops" to continue his role as watcher* Jones, ignored, followed down the h a l l and stood without the closed door to the study, l i s t e n i n g , hearing her throaty, rapid speech beyond the bland panel. Then, stooping, he peered through the keyhole. But he could see nothing and f e e l i n g his creased waistline con- s t r i c t i n g his breathing, f e e l i n g his braces c u t t i n g into his stooped fleshy shoulders, he rose under G i l l i g a n ' s detached contemplative stare. Jones' own yellow eyes became q u i e t l y empty and he walked around G i l l i g a n ' s immovable belligerence and on toward the front door, w h i s t l i n g casually. (138) Such scenes m i l i t a t e against our taking Jones himself s e r i o u s l y , but they do not i n v a l i d a t e his view of the 123. novel's action. His i r o n i c v i s i o n of C e c i l y , f o r instance, i s one we can agree with: In the dark hallway he halted, l i s t e n i n g . Light from the front door f e l l d i r e c t l y on his face i he could see only the edged i n d i c a t i o n of sparse f u r n i t u r e . He paused, l i s t e n i n g . No, she i s n ' t here, he decided. Not enough t a l k going on f o r her to be here. That femme hates s i l e n c e l i k e a cat does water. C e c i l y and sllencet o i l and water. And s h e ' l l be on top of i t , too. L i t t l e b itch* . • • And Georgle, too. She's such a f a s t worker I guess i t takes a whole s t r i n g to keep her busy. (135) C e c i l y ' s h o s t i l i t y to Jones i s strongly motivated by h i s a b i l i t y to see behind the romantic facade she creates. Her actions, l i k e Bayard's i n S a r t o r i s . are t h e a t r i c a l , but as an actress, she requires a sympathetic and not too perceptive audience. In the scene i n which C e c i l y learns from the r e c t o r that Donald i s a l i v e , both Jones and Mrs. Powers serve as her audience. As she weeps In Mr. Mahon's armsi "The audience watched t h i s , Mrs, Powers with speculative detached i n t e r e s t and Jones with morose speculation" (81). As Mrs. Powers and C e c i l y parry with one another," Jones, s t a t i c a l l y remote, watched the comedy" (82). Mrs. Powers marvels at C e c i l y ' s dra- matic a b i l l t y t that g i r l leaning against the oaken branch of the rector's arm, bel i e v i n g that she i s i n love with the boy, or hia i l l u s i o n — pretending she i s , anyway. . . . I t ' s quite 1 2 4 . romantic, being r e f t of your love and then having him returned unexpectedly to your arms. And an aviator, too. What luck that g i r l has playing her parts. Even God helps her. • . . (83) A s i m i l a r scene, even more to the point, occurs l a t e r i n the novel when Ceolly performs f o r her audience at a dance} she acts out her r o l e while the same audience of Mrs. Powers and Jones keeps up a running commentary of s a r c a s t i c asides which undercut the Southern b e l l e chattinesss •"Awfully nice dance. And Mr. G i l l i g a n ! " (What's she wanta come worrying him now for ? She bothers damn l i t t l e while he's s i t t i n g a t home there.) "Of course, one simply does not see Donald without Mr. G i l l i g a n . I t must be nice to have Mr. G i l l i g a n fond of you l i k e that. Don't you think so, Mrs. Powers?" Her braced straightening arms supported a p l i a n t low backward curve from her hips. "And Rufus. (Yes, she i s pretty. And s i l l y . But — but pretty.) You deserted me f o r another woman! Don't say you didn't. I tr i e d to make him dance with me, Mrs. Powers, but he wouldn't do i t . Perhaps you had better luck?" A dropped knee molded the g l a s s - l i k e f r a g i l i t y of her s i l v e r dress. "Ah, you needn't say any- thing! we know how a t t r a c t i v e Mrs. Powers i s , don't,we, Mr. Jones?" (See your be- hind, the shape of i t . And your whole le g , when you stand l i k e that. Knows i t , too.) (205-206) C e c i l y ' s r o l e as charming young Southern b e l l e requires an impressionable audience, but instead Faulkner provides her romanticizing and s u p e r f i c i a l posturing with a 125. sardonic audience i n the. person of Januarius Jones (and, o c c a s i o n a l l y , Mrs* Powers). C e c i l y ' s young brother, Robert Saunders, f u l - f i l l s a s i m i l a r function when he views the meeting of Mrs. Powers and Joe G l l l l g a n . His n a t u r a l l y anti-roman- t i o bias makes him a Januarius Jones i n l i t t l e . While C e c i l y c r i e s and shudders a t the thought of Donald's d i s f i g u r i n g scar, Robert i s consumed with c u r i o s i t y to see i t . He oversees the scene of sentiment which takes place with Margaret Powers and Joe G l l l l g a n , and h i s boy- i s h anti-romanticism counterpoints the romantic despair the two adults f e e l i G l l l l g a n f e l t impersonal, weary. He took her hand and rubbed h i s cheek against i t . Her hand turned i n h i s and patted h i s cheek, withdrawing. (Holding hand s i gloated young Robert Saunders) He faced her and i n -her firm sexless embrace he stood s t a r i n g a t the b l u r of her face almost on a l e v e l with h i s own, i n longing and despair. (Uhuh, k i s s i n g ! crowed young Robert Saunders, r e l e a s i n g his.cramped limbs, t r a i l i n g them l i k e an Indian.) (164-165) Robert Saunders, Januarius Jones, and the town as a whole (as was shown i n Chapter One) observe the return of the s o l d i e r s to Charlestown, observe them with an unsympathetic c u r i o s i t y which i s o l a t e s them but which also serves to undercut the t h e a t r i c a l romanticism of much of the aotion. Aunt Jenny Du Pre serves a s i m i l a r function i n 126. S a r t o r l a where her caustio remarks s a t i r i z e Bayard's ro- mantic despair. Like Januarius Jones, she provides an i r o n i c v i s i o n which balances and comments upon the domi- nant romantic tone of the novel. Jenny i s very d i f f e r e n t from Jones, however, f o r she partakes to a considerable extent in, the S a r t o r i s romance she o r i t i c i z e s . Indeed, she i s the one who has inculcated the Southern myth i n the S a r t o r i s sons, and her .sympathy f o r i t s world view oolours a l l her remarks; her taste i n reading Indicates her romantio tendenciesi "She enjoyed humanity i n i t s more c o l o r f u l mutations, p r e f e r r i n g l i v e l y romance to the most impeccable of dun f a c t , so she took i n the more l u r i d afternoon paper . . . " (40). I t i s Miss Jenny who r e l a t e s the story of the much e a r l i e r Bayard Sa r t o r i s who rode with Stuarti She had told the story many times since (at eighty she s t i l l t o l d i t , on occasions usually inopportune) and as she grew older the t a l e I t s e l f grew r i c h e r and r i c h e r , taking on a mellow splendor l i k e wine5 un- t l l l what had been a hare-brained prank of two heedless and reckless boys wild with t h e i r own youth had become a g a l l a n t and f i n e l y t r a g i c a l f o c a l point to whioh the h i s t o r y of the race had been raised from out the old mlasmlc swamps of s p i r i t u a l s l o t h by two angels v a l i a n t l y f a l l e n and strayed, a l t e r i n g the course of human events and purging the souls of men. (9) In s p i t e of such mythologizing, however, Jenny can act as an i r o n i c observer of the boys whose behaviour 127. has been l a r g e l y formed by such romantic t a l e s . For one thing, she i s capable, unlike old Bayard, of accepting the new; she immediately takes to the motor car which he so long r e j e c t s ("Is that as f a s t as i t ' l l go?" she asks Bayard a f t e r a hectic ride t?Qy\ she champions the young doctor against old Doc Peabody, saying: "Old people just f r e t me to death" (101). But her men cannot forget the old, outmoded c h i v a l r i c feats of the Southern past. She int e r p r e t s John's death i n the war not as a glorious and t r a g i c f a t a l i t y , but as a s i l l y act: "The war just gave John a good excuse to get himself k i l l e d . I f i t hadn't been that, i t would have been some other way that would have been a bother to every- body around . . . . I've l i v e d with these bullheaded Sartorises f o r eighty years, and I ' l l never give a single ghost of •em the s a t i s f a c t i o n of shedding a tear over him." (31) The hard-bitten q u a l i t y of Miss Jenny's protestation s t r i k e s us as overdone — c e r t a i n l y she does care — but her angry sarcasm constantly undercuts the romantic d i g n i t y of the S a r t o r i s e s . When Narcissa phones Jenny, worried about an in j u r y Bayard has sustained, she receives the following replyt No, she had heard nothing of him since Loosh Peabody 'phoned her at four o'clock that Bayard was on his way home with a broken head. The broken head she r e a d i l y believed, but the other part of the message she had put no credence i n whatever, having 128. l i v e d with those damn Sartorises eighty years and knowing that home would be the l a s t place i n the world a S a r t o r i s with a broken head would ever consider going. No, she was not even interested in h is present whereabouts, and she hoped he hadn't injured the horse. Horses were valuable animals. (152) A f t e r Narcissa marries Bayard, Miss Jenny advises her not to accompany him on h i s reckless t r i p s i n the motor c a n "Np. I t won't make him drive slowly. Nothing w i l l . " "Of course not. Nobody believes i t w i l l , not even his grandfather. He goes along f o r the same reason that boy himself does. S a r t o r i s . I t ' s i n the blood. Savages, everyone of 'em. No earthly use to any- body." (298) At the conclusion of the novel, a f t e r Bayard has f i n a l l y k i l l e d himself, Jenny predicts that h i s son w i l l follow i n his footsteps: "Do you think . . . that because his name i s Benbow, h e ' l l be any l e s s a S a r t o r i s and a scoundrel and a f o o l ? " (380) In his l a t e r novels, Faulkner consistently presents women as commonsensical and concerned with the business of l i v i n g ; Miss Jenny i s the f i r s t of such characters. As a sympathetic but c l e a r - headed bystander, she counterpoints with i r o n i c commentary the extremes of the romantic action f o r which she h e r s e l f i s p a r t i a l l y responsible. Light in August, as Cleanth Brooks has ably de- monstrated, presents the i n d i v i d u a l i n confrontation with 129. h i s community. He suggests that the i s o l a t e d condition of a " l o s t sheep" l i k e Joe Christmas "can be given s p e c i a l point and meaning because there i s s t i l l v i s i b l e i n the background a recognizable f l o c k with i t s shepherds, i t s watchdogs sometimes f i e r c e and c r u e l , and i t s b e l l 2 wethers." I t i s not, therefore, s u r p r i s i n g to f i n d se- v e r a l bystanders who play important parts i n the novel. Byron Bunch, G a i l Hightower, and Gavin Stevens are a l l p r i m a r i l y witnesses to rather than p a r t i c i p a n t s i n the primary action of the novel, which i s the career of Joe Christmas. Each of these characters w i l l be dealt with i n subsequent chapters: here I wish to examine only the novel's i r o n i c bystander, the t r a v e l l i n g furniture dealer, who narrates the f i n a l chapter of the novel. He has no purpose i n the novel other than to witness and r e l a t e the story of Lena Grove and Byron Bunch a f t e r they have l e f t Jefferson. John Lewis Longley, J r . suggests that the furniture dealer i s introduced as narrator because he sees only the now, not the past of Byron's struggle.^ The dealer knows none of the characters, personally or by reputation, and therefore his narration of the story of Lena Grove and Byron Bunch i s concerned with the imme- diate r e l a t i o n s h i p between the two rather than the h i s t o r y 130. of t h e i r experiences i n Jefferson. He appears a mere ten pages from the end of the novel, introduced suddenly to f u l f i l l h i s l i m i t e d r o l e . A f t e r the t r a g i c action of Joe Christmas* l i f e i s concluded, Faulkner provides us with a gently comic romance which counterpoints the ob- sessions and the shock of the main p l o t . To narrate t h i s romance, so r a d i c a l l y d i f f e r e n t i n tone, he creates the i d e a l narrator, a man l y i n g i n bed with h i s wifes . . . he (Byron) was desperated up to something. But even then I didn't know what i t was. What was i t ? the wife says. I just showed you once. You a i n t ready to be showed again, are you? I reckon I dont mind i f you dont.^ The easy sexuality of the p a i r , the relaxed Joking,, i s the perfect medium through which to view Byron's desperate wooing of Lena Grove. Seen through the eyes of one who i s sexually s a t i s f i e d , Byron's f r u s t r a t i o n seems l e s s cru- c i a l than i t might i f we were to see i f from the view of a bystander who shared Byron's romantic dilemma. The salesman i s sympathetic, but his distance from the action allows the introduction of a gentle irony at Byron's ex- pense. Moreover, though we have no proof that Byron i s ultimately successful i n his s u i t , there i s l i t t l e doubt that he f i n a l l y wins. The narrator Faulkner has chosen indicates what kind of a story he wishes to t e l l i 131. He laughs, l y i n g i n bed, laughing. "Yes, s i r . You cant beat a woman. Because do you know what I think? I think she was Just t r a v e l l i n g . I dont think she had any idea of fi n d i n g whoever i t was she was following. I dont think she had ever aimed to, only she hadn't told him yet. . . . I think she had just made up her mind to t r a v e l a l i t t l e f urther and see as much as she could, since I reckon she knew that when she sett l e d down t h i s time, i t would l i k e l y be f o r the r e s t of her l i f e . " (479-^80) The salesman views the t r a v e l l e r s with amusement, with an i r o n i c distancei he r e f e r s to Byron as "the kind of fell o w you wouldn't see the f i r s t glance i f he was alone by himself i n the bottom of an empty concrete swimming pool" (469). But h i s sympathy i s obvious. He sees Byron as s l i g h t l y r i d i c u l o u s , but he does h i s best to hide h i s amusement. He sees Byron as e s s e n t i a l l y decent, and he does not wish to add to h i s humiliation. As he remembers Lena's r e j e c t i o n of Byron's attempt to Join her i n the salesman's truck, the salesman says to h i s wifet "Well, I was downright ashamed to look at him, to l e t him know what any human man had seen and heard that happened. I be dog i f I didn't want to find the hole and crawl into I t with him." (477) As bystander, he i s prevented by hi s sympathy f o r Byron from revealing the f a c t of hi s watching. In each of the three novels examined to t h i s 132. point i n t h i s chapter, a bystander views the action with a sense of irony made possible by his lack of involvement i n the a c t i o n . As the bystander's sympathy f o r the pro- tagonist increases, however, his irony softens. In Soldiers~> Pay, Januarius Jones views the other characters with a complete lack of sympathy, and his b i t t e r d i s s e c t i o n of p e r s o n a l i t i e s frequently provides the reader with keen i n s i g h t s . But h i s own character i s so self-centered and unattractive that we ultimately r e j e c t his in t e r p r e t a t i o n s . In S a r t o r i s , Miss Jenny provides a sardonic commentary which counterpoints the romantic extremes and posturings of the Sar t o r i s family, but Faulkner makes c l e a r her under- l y i n g sympathy. Indeed, she i s p a r t l y responsible f o r the dramatic S a r t o r i s world view which she c r i t i c i z e s be- cause 3he has taught i t to the Sa r t o r i s grandchildren. Her p o s i t i o n as i r o n i c bystander i s ambivalent, and, in her protestations of disgust, she seems frequently to be pro t e s t i n g too much. The salesman i n Light i n August, s i m i l a r l y , provides an i r o n i c v i s i o n of the romantic story of Byron and Lena, but he i s very obviously a l i v e to the fee l i n g s of the "lovers." His sympathy partakes, to some extent, however, of condescension, f o r a bystander who views an action i r o n i c a l l y n e c e s s a r i l y looks down upon the p a r t i c i p a n t s . As the bystander's sympathy increases 133. i n other words, as he sees himself as occupying the same l e v e l as the p a r t i c i p a n t s he views, the irony de- creases. As the bystander i d e n t i f i e s himself with one or the other of the p a r t i c i p a n t s , he can no longer r e t a i n a superior point of view, and his i r o n i c commentary be- comes more gentle. In two l a t e r novels, Go Down, Moses and The Hamlet, Faulkner's irony l i e s more i n structure than i n ch a r a c t e r i z a t i o n . In each novel, the choice and p o s i - t i o n i n g of the bystander i s instrumental i n making a statement about the acti o n . In Go Down, Moses the r e l a t i v e p o s i t i o n of black and white men as bystanders reveals the s i t u a t i o n of the Negro i n the South. In the next chapter we w i l l examine Isaac McCaslin's r o l e as bystander i n the novel's four "hunt" s t o r i e s which focus upon the white man's re- l a t i o n s h i p to nature and the land* "Was," "The Old People," "The Bear," and "Delta Autumn." In t h i s chapter, the two s t o r i e s e s s e n t i a l to our consideration of the by- stander and irony are "The F i r e and the Hearth" and "Pant- aloon i n Black," which focus upon the white man's r e l a - t i o n s h i p to the black man. "The F i r e and the Hearth," a story f u l l y one hundred pages long, i s , along with "The Bear," a central statement in Go Down, Moses. Within i t s bounds, i t por- trays the development of the Negro i n the s o c i a l envi- ronment of the South, just as "The Bear" traces the de- velopment of the white man i n terms of the nature he de- s p o i l s . Lucas Beauchamp, the hero of the former story, undergoes a change which i s c l o s e l y connected with the c o n t r o l l i n g symbol of the f i r e and the hearth. The struc- ture of Chapter One with i t s comic frame and nearly t r a - g i c c e n t r a l section (Cf. Light i n August) may be likened to a f i r e burning within a hearth. But even more impor- tant, the passive hearth observing the active f i r e par- a l l e l s a number of observer-actor d u a l i t i e s i n the story. In the flashback section of Chapter One, Zack Edmonds acts as he pleases; a f t e r his wife dies i n c h i l d - b i r t h , he brings Molly up to the main house to care f o r h i s newborn son without asking Lucas, her husband, and Lucas can do nothing but watch. His despairing question i s "How to God . . . can a black man ask a white man to please not l a y down with his black wife?"-* He i s f i n a l l y driven by his sense of honour to act i n a fashion he f e e l s i s c e r t a i n to bring his death. Zack i n i t i a t e s action which Lucas must watch. The events of the story come to us through the observing consciousness of the despairing black man who f e e l s himself incapable of a f f e c t i n g the course of the action. F i n a l l y , driven almost mad by his 135. conviction that Zack Edmonds has cuckolded him, Lucas confronts the white man with a razor and very nearly k i l l s him. A l l t h i s , however, happens i n 1898. In the present of the story, Lucas i s the actor rather than the audience and Roth Edmonds, Zack's son, watches Lucas* outrageous deeds with impotent fury. The white man, not the black man, has become the by- stander i n the Southern present. Lucas r i g s a s t i l l be- neath Roth's very nose and escapes punishment; he s e l l s Roth's mule to buy a mine-detector and s t i l l comes out on top. The white man's anger i s i n e f f e c t u a l and, at times, s i l l y . But Roth cannot penetrate the cover which Lucas has learned to devise since his encounter with Zack: "Was that s t i l l yours, Lucas?" Edmonds sa i d . They looked at one another. Yet s t i l l the face which Edmonds saw was ab- so l u t e l y blank, impenetrable. Even the eyes appeared to have nothing behind them. (71) Lucas now i s capable of r e t r e a t i n g behind the mask of "Sambo," the black man of Southern white mythology, and, at the same time, pursuing his ends with l i t t l e concern f o r the at t i t u d e s of h i s white landlord. Point of view, therefore, s h i f t s in the•contemporary story from Lucas to the white man and the impetus of action now originates with the black man. The white man finds himself i r o n i - c a l l y i n the p o s i t i o n of a helpless witness to Negro 136. actions in a South he ostensibly controls. Chapter Two of "The Fire and the Hearth" i s s i m i l a r l y structured. I t begins and ends with a v i s i t by Lucas to Roth's commissary. Between these two v i s i t s Lucas perpetrates another of his outrages, the s t e a l i n g of Roth's mule to buy a mine detector to search f o r buried gold. Roth learns of Lucas* adventure from another Negro, Dan: He was not only about to perceive the whole s i t u a t i o n i n i t s complete and instantaneous e n t i r e t y , as when the photographer's bulb explodes, but he knew now that he had seen i t a l l the while and had refused to believe i t purely and simply because he knew that when he did accept i t , h i s brain would burst. (85) Roth i s , i n other words, forced into the role of unwilling bystander, compelled to watch the inexplicable actions of the Negroes who were his grandfather's slaves. The juxtaposition of the story of Zack and Lucas with the l a t e r story of Roth and Lucas provides a measure of the development i n race r e l a t i o n s i n the South. Roth presumes that he exercises as much power and authority as his father before him did, but he i s constantly shocked to f i n d that i t i s the black man who i n i t i a t e s events while he can do nothing but watch. Faulkner creates t h i s irony by s t r u c t u r i n g the two «ep«i?g-te s t o r i e s in such a way 137. that they comment upon one another. Chapter Three explains why Roth puts up with Lucas* numerous audacities. Roth Edmonds bears the g u i l t of his Southern heritage, the g u i l t his cousin Ike attempts to deny when he renounces the farm which i s r i g h t l y h i s . Roth gives Molly, h i s surrogate Negro mother, presents every month i n an attempt to placate h i s sense of g u i l t f o r the fa c t of black suppression i n the South. Unlike Ike McCaslin, who, as we s h a l l see 1 i n the next chapter, attempts to escape t h i s r a c i a l g u i l t by f l e e i n g into the wilderness, Roth must l i v e with his guilt« He c a l l e d i t a l i b a t i o n to h i s luck, as the centurion s p i l l e d f i r s t a l i t t l e of the wine he drank, though a c t u a l l y i t was to h i s ancestors and to the con- science which he would have probably affirmed he did not possess, i n the form, the person, of the negro woman who had been the only mother he ever knew. (99 - 100) Roth rages about Lucas' treatment of him, the "accumula- t i o n of f l o u t i n g s and outrages covering not only his span but h i s father's l i f e t i m e too," (104) but he i s helpless to act because of what he c a l l s the " b i t t e r f r u i t " of h i s heritage, his sense of g u i l t as a descendant of Old Caro- thers McCaslin, Lucas Beauchamp, moreover, embodies the r a c i a l and f a m i l i a l g u i l t of the McCaslins and the Edmondses 138. i n h is very presence, and, therefore, Roth finds i t im- possible simply to dismiss or ignore his outrages: He's more l i k e old Carothers than a l l the rest of us put together, inclu d i n g old Carothers. He i s both h e i r and prototype simultaneously of a l l the geography and climate and biology which s i r e d old Carothers and a l l the rest of us; (118) Trapped by h i s sense of r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r h i s ancestor's s i n s , yet incapable of granting the black man h i s due, Roth and white men l i k e him face the i r o n i c d u a l i t y of a c t u a l , physical power wedded with v o l i t i o n l e s s i n e r t i a . As we w i l l f i n d l a t e r , i n "Delta Autumn," the Negro i s the true i n h e r i t o r of the South? he has moved stage center i n the McCaslin family, at any rate, and his white r e l a t i o n s are on the periphery, helpless bystanders watching f o r his next move. I f t h i s seems an overly o p t i m i s t i c rendering of the Negro's p o s i t i o n i n Southern society, Faulkner ba- lances i t with a bleak p o r t r a i t i n the story which follows "The F i r e and the Hearth." In "Pantaloon i n Black," the white man i s s t i l l i n the p o s i t i o n of bystander, but his cont r o l over the Negro he doesn't understand i s much greater. The very t i t l e suggests the p o s i t i o n of the Negro i n the white man's eyes; Rider, the g r i e f - s t r i c k e n husband 139. whose wife has just died, i s seen as a "pantaloon", a clown, by the white society which does not have the i n s i g h t into his sufferings which we, the readers, are given. The irony of t h i s story l i e s not i n the changing po s i t i o n s of "The F i r e and the Hearth" but i n the misin- terpretations that other characters place on the actions of the c e n t r a l character. A f t e r Rider's death, we are presented with the i n t e r p r e t a t i o n we recognize as shock- i n g l y inappropriate f o r the agonies we have seen Rider experience because of his wife's death i "Them damn niggers," he said. "I swear to godfrey, i t ' s a wonder we have as l i t t l e trouble with them as we do. Be- cause they a i n t human. They look l i k e a man,and they walk on t h e i r hind legs l i k e a man, and they t a l k and you can understand them and you think they are understanding you, at l e a s t now and then. But when i t comes to the normal human fe e l i n g s and sentiments of human beings, they might just as well be a damn herd of wild buffaloes." (154) Indeed, Rider's actions, when seen from the view of an uninformed bystander, bear more than one i n t e r p r e t a t i o n . He hurries to cover h i s wife's c o f f i n with d i r t ; he appears at work the next morning rather than taking a day o f f ; he gets drunk and goes to a crap game where he cuts the throat of the white man running the game. Having a l l the prejudices of his white society, the deputy i n - terprets these acts i n the worst possible way, but at 140. l e a s t he i s disturbed. Edraond L. Volpe suggests that the deputy, disturbed by hi s new-found awareness of Rider's s u f f e r i n g , must "restore the protective image of the Negro as not quite human by recasting each d i s - play of anguish he has witnessed or heard about as proof of the Negro's lack of humanity."^ Certainly the deputy i s bothered by the events surrounding Rider's death. His wife, however, to whom he r e l a t e s his version of Rider's story, i s not even interested: "Die keepsTJ laughing and laughing and saying, 'Hit look lack Ah just cant quit thinking. Look lack Ah just cant q u i t . ' And what do you think of that?" "I think i f you eat any supper i n t h i s house y o u ' l l do i t i n the next f i v e minutes," h i s wife said from the din i n g room. "I'm going to c l e a r t h i s table then and I'm going to the picture show." (159) Faulkner here uses the bystander to portray the i n d i f f e r - ence of society to the s u f f e r i n g of the i n d i v i d u a l . The deputy's wife i s untouched and therefore unconcerned by the sufferings of Rider. The bystander's inhumanity pro- vides the reader with a moving portrayal of the treatment of the black man by a soc i e t y which refuses to recognize him as a human. "Pantaloon i n Black" i s a savagely i r o n i c statement about one man's i s o l a t i o n i n s u f f e r i n g rendered through the use of the bystander. In The Hamlet, V.K. R a t l i f f acts as the bystander 141. not to the unapprehended s u f f e r i n g of another i n d i v i d u a l , but to the mystifying plans and secret depredations of Flem Snopes, the unfeeling c a p i t a l i s t whose r i s e to power i s the subject of the Snopes t r i l o g y as a whole. R a t l i f f , as an interested but uncommitted onlooker, faces"the dilemma of any well-meaning bystander. Should he maintain h i s aloofness and remain i n v i o l a t e , or should he involve himself i n a struggle against e v i l i n which he may be him- s e l f corrupted? On one l e v e l , we may see The Hamlet as the gradual development of R a t l i f f * s commitment to the cause of f i g h t i n g Snopesism i n Yoknapatawpha County, and his.ultimate defeat at the hands of Flem Snopes provides one of the important i r o n i e s i n the novel. While R a t l i f f remains uninvolved, his perceptive c r i t i c i s m of Flem and the townspeople who allow themselves to be cheated serves as a running commentary upon the action, but R a t l i f f * s attempt to remain uninvolved means that no champion equal i n power to Flem has entered the l i s t s against him. Economic rapacity remains unchallenged. When R a t l i f f does involve himself i n the battle against Snopesism, however, he i s defeated and, indeed, corrupted by the force that he faces. Edmond L. Volpe suggests that i n the plan of the novel, R a t l i f f must succumb. I f he i s not bested by Flem, he too w i l l remain beyond the pale of emotional f a l l i b i l i t y i n which everyone except Flem i s gathered.' 1 4 2 . In other words, R a t l i f f * s defeat i s proof of h i s human* i t y . James Gray Watson suggests that t h i s defeat has been prepared f o r by R a t l i f f ' s e a r l i e r misjudgments of o Flem's a b i l i t i e s . The irony i s that, In order to be peroeptlve, R a t l i f f must be uninvolvedi i n order to be e f f e o t i v e , he must aot. The bystander become pa r t i c i p a n t can no longer function as an observer, but the value of h i s observations i s r e a l i z e d i n a sense of involvement. We f i r s t hear of R a t l i f f In his r o l e of i n t e r - ested observeri He spoke i n a pleasant, lazy, equable voice which you did not d i s c e r n a t once -to be even more shrewd that humorous. This was R a t l i f f , the sewing-machine agent. . . • On successive days and two counties apart the splashed and battered buckboard and the strong mismatched team might be seen tethered i n the nearest shade and R a t l i f f * s bland a f f a b l e ready face and h i s neat t i e l e s s blue s h i r t one of the squatting group a t a crossroads store,,or — and s t i l l squatting and s t i l l doing the t a l k i n g apparently - though a c t u a l l y doing a good deal more l i s t e n i n g than anybody believed u n t i l afterward — among the women surrounded by laden c l o t h e s l i n e s and tubs. . . . He never forgot a name and he knew every- Q one, man mule and dog, within f i f t y m i l e s . 9 When t h i s quotation i s juxtaposed with a statement R a t l i f f makes about the Snopeses l a t e r on i n the novel, i t i n d i - cates the nature of the book's strugglei "I don't under- stand yet how a man that has to spend as much time as I 143. do being constantly reminded of them f o l k s , s t i l l can't keep the names s t r a i g h t " (327). When R a t l i f f , the capa- ble and imperturbable, find s himself confronted, w i l l y - n i l l y , with the Snopes horde as they overrun the hamlet, he must abandon his c h a r a c t e r i s t i c stance of non-involve- ment. He enters the l i s t s against the arch-Snopes of them a l l , Flem, and when he does, he i s defeated. E a r l y i n the novel, R a t l i f f i s seen: easy and relaxed i n his chair, with his lean brown pleasant shrewd face, i n h i s faded clean blue s h i r t , with that same a i r of perpetual bachelorhood which Jody Varner had, although there was no other resem- blance between them and not much here, since i n Varner i t was a q u a l i t y of shabby and f u s t i a n g a l l a n t r y where i n R a t l i f f i t was that hearty celibacy as of a lay brother in a twelfth-century monastery — a gardener, a pruner of vines, say. ( 4 3 ) R a t l i f f s bachelorhood, h i s celibacy, i s expressive not of a lack of i n t e r e s t i n l i f e , but of a non-involvement which he maintains only with great d i f f i c u l t y . For when he sees a wrong, he believes i t should be righted, and i f no one else w i l l r i g h t i t , as i s usually the case i n Frenchman's Bend, i t f a l l s to him to act. When R a t l i f f hears about Flem's usurious t r e a t - ment of the blacks of Frenchman's Bend, he asks T u l l and Bookwright» "Aint none of you fo l k s out there done nothing about i t ? " he said. 144. "What could we do?" T u l l said, " I t a i n t r i g h t . But i t a i n t none of our business." "I believe I would think of something i f I l i v e d there," R a t l i f f s a i d . "Yes," Bookwright said. • •.. "And wind up with one of them bow t i e s i n place of your buckboard and team. You'd have room to wear i t . " "Sho now," R a t l i f f said. "Maybe you're r i g h t . " (72) In a sense, t h i s conversation predicts what w i l l happen i n the course of the novel. R a t l i f f s confrontation of Flem i s , however, long i n coming. P a r t l y through chance, p a r t l y through deliberate p o l i c y , he i s not c l o s e l y involved i n the e a r l i e r episodes of the novel. John Lewis Longley, J r . , suggests that R a t l i f f s shrewdness and insight give him the best chance against Flem Snopes but also make him u n l i k e l y to plunge headlong into the s t r u g g l e . 1 0 Michael Millg a t e points out a more important aspect of R a t l i f f s i n t e r n a l struggle when he says that he i s caught between his desire to remain uninvolved and his drive, his moral commitment, to f i g h t Flem and i n j u s t i c e . 1 1 R a t l i f f pro- t e s t s i "I never made them Snopeses and I never made the f o l k s that can't wait to bare t h e i r backsides to them. I could do more, but I won't. I won't, I t e l l you!" (326) This i s almost the only time i n the novel we see R a t l i f f lose his composure, and the reason i s c l e a r . R a t l i f f protests too much, f o r , i n spite of his desire to remain 1*5. uninvolved, he i s constantly drawn into the f i g h t against the Snopeses. Florence Leaver, i n "The Structure of The Hamlet", states that "the Snopes absorption of the v i l l a g e could not have come to pass except f o r lack of i n t e l l i g e n t 1 2 resistance." This absence i s the absence of R a t l i f f , Leaver then goes on to suggest that the only person who i s undefeated by Flem i s Mrs. L i t t l e John who, p a r t l y f o r that reason, stands above R a t l i f f i n the moral hierarchy of the novel: " s u p e r i o r i t y to him i n t h i s c o n f l i c t ex- pl a i n s that only she i s invulnerable to the Snopeses. Shrewdness i s not enough, not even shrewdness with a heart. 1 ? R a t l i f f needs her wisdom and some of her Olympian anger." J But such an in t e r p r e t a t i o n misses one of the central points of the novel; R a t l i f f * s problem i s that of the well-meaning i n d i v i d u a l : whether to hold himself aloof from l i f e or to enter the fray with the p o s s i b i l i t y of inju r y and even the compromising of his moral standards. The novel portrays the two avenues open to morality: a c l o i s t e r e d r v i r t u e or a vigorous moral system. To say that Mrs. L i t t l e J o h n i s invulnerable i s r i d i c u l o u s , f o r she i s never attacked; only R a t l i f f combines moral con- cern with concerted action. Indeed, we can see the novel structured in terms of R a t l i f f s appearances and disappearances. With the ex- ception of the episode of the goats, which i s a spe c i a l 146. case as we s h a l l see, Flem Snopes' depredations u n t i l the concluding episode of the book take place during R a t l i f f s absences. Olga Vickery sees the book as showing the clash of two t r a d i t i o n s , the economic and the humanistic, represented by Flem and R a t l i f f res- 14 p e c t i v e l y , but t h i s clash occurs only at the end of the book. The p l o t of the novel involves an a l t e r n a - t i o n between the two, climaxed by t h e i r meeting at the conclusion. A b r i e f outline of the main p l o t i s ne- cessary to i l l u s t r a t e t h i s point. R a t l i f f hears i n d i - r e c t l y about Flem's appointment at the beginning of the book: "I hear you and Jody got a new c l e r k i n the store." Varner looked at him sharply, the reddish eyebrows beetling a l i t t l e above the hard l i t t l e eyes. "So that's done spread," he said. "How f a r you been since yesterday?" "Seven-eight miles," R a t l i f f s a i d . (25) Having learned of the advent of Flem, R a t l i f f i s able to f i l l i n the background from his vast storehouse of knowledge by n a r r a t i n g the s t o r i e s of Ab Snopes and h i s son, S a r t o r i s . R a t l i f f v i s i t s Ab's farm i n an attempt to f i n d out more about Flem's move but learns nothing and returns to watch what Snopes w i l l do: R a t l i f f and his companions sat and squatted about the g a l l e r y a l l that day and watched 14?. not only the v i l l a g e proper but a l l the countryside within walking distance come up si n g l y and i n pair s and in groups, men women and children, to make t r i v i a l purchases and look at the new cler k and go away. (52) We can see here R a t l i f f s o r i g i n s i n the gossiping town- f o l k of novels l i k e Soldiers^- Pay and Sar t o r i s; he i s the s o c i a l awareness supreme. When he has learned enough, he leavesi "He was moved by hi s i t i n e r a r y , his established and nurtured round of newsmongering, the pleasure of re- t a i l i n g i t , not the le a s t nor s t a l e s t of which present stock he had spent the l a s t two weeks a c t u a l l y watching" (55). When R a t l i f f returns to Frenchman's Bend months l a t e r (56), he learns of Flem's advances i n prosperity and the introduction of 1.0. and Lump. Then R a t l i f f d i s - appears again, t h i s time into h o s p i t a l with g a l l -bladder trouble (62). A f t e r his return from h o s p i t a l , R a t l i f f takes on Snopes f o r the f i r s t time with a complex plan which involves a sewing machine sold to Mink Snopes and a herd of goats. But R a t l i f f , i n spite of h i s shrewdness, barely wins t h i s opening duel because of his i n a b i l i t y to a n ticipate Flem's use of hi s i d i o t r e l a t i o n , Ike Snopes.^ But he thinks to himself, "I reckon I was sick e r than I knowed. Because I missed i t , missed i t clean" (88). And as he leaves Frenchman's Bend once more, he 148. decides: I just never went f a r enough, he thought. I quit too soon. I went as f a r as one Snopes'will set f i r e to another Snopes* barn and both Snopeses know i t , and that was a l l r i g h t . But I stopped there. I never went on to where that f i r s t Snopes w i l l turn around and stomp the f i r e out so he can sue that second Snopes f o r the reward and both Snopeses know that too. (89) The next long section of The Hamlet i s the story of Eula and how Flem uses her predicament to h i s own ad- vantage by marrying her. Again, R a t l i f f knows nothing about t h i s u n t i l he sees the couple i n Jefferson: "But when he at l a s t turned his tough l i t t l e team toward Frenchman's Bend again, Bookwright and T u l l had long since returned home and t o l d i t " (150). With t h i s new knowledge, R a t l i f f f u l l y appreciates the extent and nature of Flem's rapacity, and he invents the tale of Flem's confrontation with the D e v i l to express the mixture of amusement and horror he f e e l s . In Section Three of The Hamlet ("The Long Summer"), R a t l i f f returns once again to Frenchman's Bend to discover the l a t e s t Snopes i n d i g n i t y , t h i s one perpe- trated by Lump Snopes, who has turned his i d i o t cousin's passion f o r a cow into a sideshow. The long i d y l l r e l a - t i n g the i d i o t ' s love f o r the cow i s framed by the scene of R a t l i f f s discovery o f i t : 149. He knew not only what he was going to see but that, l i k e Bookwright, he did not want to see i t , yet unlike Book- wright, he was going to look. He did look, leaning his face i n between two other heads? and i t was as though i t were himself inside the s t a l l with the cow, himself looking out of the blasted tongueless face at the row of faces watching him. (199) This passage i s important f o r i t reveals the powerful empathy that R a t l i f f possesses, an a b i l i t y to put him- s e l f i n another's place, which drives him, against his w i l l , i n a crusade against the depradations of the Snopeses. The passage suggests also the difference be- tween R a t l i f f and Bookwright, who acts i n a sense as R a t l i f f s surrogate during his absences. Bookwright remains aloof, but R a t l i f f , as much as he would l i k e to, cannot. When he discusses with Mrs. L i t t l e John his actions, i n taking away Ike's cow, R a t l i f f admits to being P h a r i s a i c a l : I know the reason I ai n t going to leave him have what he does have i s simply be- cause I am strong enough to keep him from i t . I am stronger than him. Not r i g h t e r . Not any better, maybe. But just stronger . . . .. Maybe a l l I want i s just to have been righteouser, so I can t e l l myself I done the r i g h t thing and my conscience i s c l e a r now and at lea s t I can go to sleep tonight. (201) His own statement disproves his suggestion that he i s i s simply being righteous, but i t also indicates the 150. power of conscience which drives him to act. The next major section i n the book i s the story of Jack Houston and Mink Snopes, an action i n which R a t l i f f plays no part at a l l . 3ut as soon as the narra- t i v e returns to the community at large, R a t l i f f i s there, looking a f t e r Mink's wife and children with "not p i t y : rather, concern" (264). Indeed, t h i s i s the pattern of the book u n t i l the l a s t episode: a story i n v o l v i n g one of the Snopes family i s followed by R a t l i f f * s gaining knowledge of i t and reacting to i t . In "The Spotted Horses" section which follows, R a t l i f f s absence i s more evident because people comment upon i t . When the horses f i r s t a r r i v e i n town, R a t l i f f warns the townfolk to avoid them: I reckon there a i n t nothing under the sun or in Frenchman's Bend neither that can keep you f o l k s from g i v i n g Flem Snopes and that Texas man your money. But I'd sholy l i k e to know just exactly who I was g i v i n g my money to You f o l k s can buy them c r i t t e r s i f you want to. But me, I'd just as soon buy a t i g e r or a rattlesnake. And i f Flem Snopes offered me e i t h e r one of them, I would be a f r a i d to touch i t f o r fe a r i t would turn out to be a painted dog or a piece of garden hose when I went to take possession of i t . I bid you one and a l l goodnight. (283) And with t h i s R a t l i f f departs, leaving the f i e l d to Flem Snopes. A f t e r the auction, the men see R a t l i f f s team t i e d nearby and one says: "I thought something was wrong 151. a l l day . . . . . R a t l i f f wasnt there to give nobody advice" (304). And when the t r i a l to decide i n j u r i e s i s held at Whiteleaf's store, Faulkner l e t s us know that "neither did the Varner surrey nor R a t l i f f s buckboard make one among the wagons, the buggies, and the saddled horses and mules which moved out of the v i l l a g e on that May Saturday morning" (327). But while R a t l i f f i s absent, two other charac- ters serve, as Bookwright e a r l i e r did, as surrogate by- standers watching the Snopes^ outrages! Mrs. L i t t l e j o h n and the Justice of the Peace. While the auction i s con- ducted at Frenchman's Bend, Faulkner makes constant r e- ferences to the watching, d i s d a i n f u l presence of Mrs. L i t t l e j o h n as she goes about her houseworki "Mrs. L i t t l e - john came out of the kitchen and crossed the yard to the woodpile, watching the l o t . She picked up two or three s t i c k s of wood and paused, watching the l o t again" (285). "Mrs. L i t t l e j o h n was i n the yard again . . . . . She carried an armful of c l o t h i n g and a metal-ridged washboard and she was standing motionless at the kitchen steps, looking into the l o t . Then she moved across the l o t , s t i l l looking into the l o t , and dumped the garments into the tub, s t i l l looking into the l o t " (292). These are only two of several s i m i l a r references which run l i k e a motif 152. through the episode (others« p. 291. p. 295). WTien f i n a l l y the auction and i t s epilogue are over, she makes her short judgment: " I ' l l declare . . . . You men" (310). The Justice of the Peace who hears the t r i a l a r i s i n g from the auction i s s i m i l a r l y a replacement i n the action f o r an absent R a t l i f f . Faulkner makes t h i s e x p l i c i t when he states: "into the lens-distorted and i r i s l e s s old-man's eyes of the Ju s t i c e there grew an ex- pression not only of amazement and bewilderment but, as i n R a t l i f f s eyes while he stood on the store g a l l e r y four weeks ago, something very l i k e t e r r o r " (329). When he learns the f u l l extent of the hamlet's s t u p i d i t y and Flem's rapacity, his reaction echoes R a t l i f f s : "I cant stand no more!" the old Justice c r i e d . "I wont! This court's adjourned! Adjourned!" (338, c f . 326) Faulkner has d e l i b e r a t e l y avoided bringing R a t l i f f into these episodes i n order to delay .his inevitable confrontation with Snopes which comes i n the next (and l a s t ) episode of the novel. When Faulkner was asked at Nagano who his f a - v o r i t e characters were, he named R a t l i f f as one: " R a t l i f f i s wonderful. He's done more things than any man I know. Why, I couldn't t e l l some of the things that man has done." 1^ But even R a t l i f f i s flawed, as Faulkner proves 153. i n the l a s t chapter of The Hamlet; even R a t l i f f f a l l s v i c t i m not so much to Flem's rapacity as to his own. Convinced that there i s hidden gold on the Old French- man's place, he, along with Odum Bookwright and Henry Armstid, buys the property from Flem Snopes only to f i n d i t has been salted with gold coins. Scrabbling and scratching i n the dark, \ R a t l i f f ^ finds himself s t r u g g l i n g with Bookwright f o r the shovel they have brought along: "Wait," he said. "Wait." Then R a t l i f f seemed to r e a l i z e what he was doing. He released the shovelj he almost hurled i t at Bookwright. "Take i t , " he s a i d . He drew a long shuddering breath. "God," he whispered. "Just look at what even the money a man ai n t got yet w i l l do to him." (3^9) I t i s i n t e r e s t i n g that R a t l i f f s downfall i s brought about by the lure of buried gold, f o r t h i s i s also what f e l l s Lucas Beauchamp, an aloof and d i g n i f i e d figure who, i n "The Fi r e and the Hearth" i s also reduced to scratch- in g f r a n t i c a l l y i n the ground. Flem's triumph i s com- plete i n The Hamlet when he has brought R a t l i f f low, and i t i s i r o n i c that R a t l i f f s loss of the cafe to Flem i s what f i n a l l y r i d s Frenchman's Bend of his depredations. Flem i s on to greater things in Jefferson. But R a t l i f f s defeat i s only temporary, f o r he has the sense of humour and the r e s i l i e n c y necessary to allow him to recover 154. r a p i d l y . James Gray Watson maintains that more important than the fa c t of R a t l i f f s f a l l through greed " i s the fac t that such ravages are not t o t a l l y d e b i l i t a t i n g , that the moral world i s rejuvenatory and self-regenerative. R a t l i f f s defeat i s only f i n a n c i a l . . . i ; " 1 7 The obsessed and maddened Henry Armstid acts as an i l l u m i n a t i n g con- t r a s t to R a t l i f f as he continues to hurl himself f u t i l e l y against the earth of the Old Frenchman's jaiace. In t h i s f i n a l episode, R a t l i f f has become f o r once the watched rather than the watcher. Eustace Grimm and Lump Snopes watch him as he digs f o r gold. When we see him again i n The Town, however, R a t l i f f i s once again the removed spectator who leaves attempts at involvement to Gavin Stevens. Jean-Paul Sartre has described another aspect of Faulkner's a r t which helps us to understand the p o s i - t i o n of R a t l i f f i n The Hamlett Faulkner's man i s undiscoverable. He i s to be understood neither i n terms of his gestures, which are a facade, nor through his t a l e s , which are imaginary, nor yet by his acts, f o r they are l i g h t n i n g flashes that defy d e s c r i p t i o n . And yet, beyond behaviour and beyond words, beyond empty consciousness, Man e x i s t s . We have an i n k l i n g of a genuine drama, a kind of i n t e l l i g i b l e nature that might explain everything. But just what i s t h i s nature?! 0" This statement applies to a l l of Faulkner's f i c t i o n , of course, but i t i s p a r t i c u l a r l y relevant to the Snopes 155. t r i l o g y . Faulkner's bystander figures are cast i n the r o l e of detectives plumbing the depths of motive, ex- p l o r i n g the why of others' actions. Part of R a t l i f f s task i s discover "what makes Flem t i c k , " to understand the motivations of h i s actions. But Flem i s e s s e n t i a l l y inscrutable we never have an insight into h i s mindj he has no dramatic monologues i n Faulkner's portrayals of him. We, the readers, know only as much about Flem Snopes as R a t l i f f does. As Warren Beck has shown, R a t l i f f s concern i s an " i n q u i r i n g into the mysteries of personality and behaviour with i n s i s t e n t ' c u r i o s i t y yet with recognition of the enigmatic." 7 Therefore, Faulk- ner's de s c r i p t i o n of Flem Snopes consists always of a very l i m i t e d number of c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s which are re- peated l i k e a l e i t - m o t i f throughout the novel. Flem i s a chewing jaw and a small bow t i e , "a tiny., v i c i o u s l y depthless c r y p t i c a l l y balanced splash l i k e an enigmatic punctuation symbol against the expanse of white s h i r t " (58. my i t a l i c s ) . Flem's characterization i s purposely depthless because we can never plumb his depths; he re- mains enigmatic because he refuses ever to allow anyone to know his innermost thoughts. This use of l e i t m o t i f i s a c h a r a c t e r i s t i c (and a device) common with Faulkner's characters; Joe Christmas 156. of Light i n August i s s i m i l a r l y described i n very l i m i t e d terms: a sneer, a drooping c i g a r e t t e , and a cocked hat. The technique i s very c l o s e l y connected to Faulkner's use of the bystander, a figure whose job i t i s to attempt a reading of these enigmatic runes, to penetrate the surface of person a l i t y . His f a i l u r e i s i n e v i t a b l e , f o r , whether i t be the mysterious story of Thomas Sutpen i n Absalom; Absalom!, the e x c i t i n g l i f e of the aviators i n Pylon, or the personality of Flem Snopes i n the T r i l o g y , the. nature of t h i s r e a l i t y remains unknowable. More p a r t i c u l a r l y , i n each of the four novels discussed i n t h i s chapter, the presence of the bystander creates an i r o n i c d u a l i t y between the r e a l i t y of the par- t i c i p a n t s ' emotions and the r e a l i t y of the witnesses' re- actions and in t e r p r e t a t i o n s . The comments of the by- standers provide a counterpoint to the dominant mood of the novel as a whole as in Soldiersb Pay and S a r t o r i s , or the p o s i t i o n s , p h y s i c a l l y and s t r u c t u r a l l y , of the by- standers represent stances i r o n i c a l l y related to those of the c e n t r a l characters. This i s , to some degree, true of a l l the bystander figures i n Faulkner's f i c t i o n . They have a role as l i m i t e d characters rather than as commen- ta t i v e voices or au t h o r i a l spokesmen. What Cleanth Brooks says about R a t l i f f i n The Hamlet i s true of the other 157. bystanders i n Faulkner's f i c t i o n as we l l i The author r e l i s h e s R a t l i f f and admires him, but he i s hot content to see Frenchman's Bend through R a t l i f f s eyest the author's v i s i o n of Frenchman's Bend includes the figure of R a t l i f f himself.2 0 158. Footnotes 1 M i l l g a t e . p. 66. 2 3 Brooks, p. 54. John Lewis Longley, J r . , The Tragic Mask: A Study of Faulkner's Heroes (Chapel H i l l : University of North Carolina Press, 1963), p. 60. ^ William Faulkner, Light i n August (1932; r p t . New York: Random House, 1968), p. V37. A l l subsequent references to t h i s e d i t i o n w i l l appear i n the text. ^ William Faulkner, Go Down. Moses (1942j r p t . New York: Random House, 1955) 1 P- 59* A l l subsequent references to t h i s e d i t i o n w i l l appear i n the text. 6 Volpe, p. 235. 7 Volpe, p. 315. o James Gray Watson, The Snopes Dilemma: Faulkner's T r i l o g y (Coral Gables, F l o r i d a : University of Miami Press, 1968), p. 23. 9 William Faulkner, The Hamlet (1940, r p t . New York: Random House, 1962), p. 13. A l l subsequent references to t h i s e d i t i o n w i l l appear i n the text. 1 0 Longley, p. 63. 1 1 M i l l g a t e , p. 199. 12 Florence Leaver, "The Structure of The Hamlet," Twentieth Century L i t e r a t u r e . 1 (July 1955)t 77. *3 Leaver, p. 84. l k Vickery, p. 174. Cleanth Brooks has analyzed the complexities of t h i s business deal, showing how R a t l i f f comes out ahead. See Brooks, pp. 402 - 406 . ^ James B. Meriwether and Michael M i l l g a t e , eds., Lion i n the Garden: Interviews with William Faulkner 1926- 62 (New York: Random House, 19S&)1 P« 224. 159. A ' Watson, p. 73. 1 8 Sartre, L i t e r a r y and Philosophical Essays, p. ? 6 . 1 ^ Warren Beck, Man in Motion: Faulkner's T r i l o g y ison* University of Wisconsin Press, 1961), p. 24. 2 0 Brooks, p. 172. CHAPTER FOUR THE YOUTH AS 3YSTANDER Faulkner's concern with the figure of the by- stander manifests i t s e l f often as a consideration of the ch i l d ' s reaction to his society. Repeatedly, he por- trays innocence confronting experience, youth coming to terms with a world of imperfections and i n j u s t i c e . In a previous chapter, we saw an example of such a confronta- t i o n i n the Compson children's reaction to Damuddy's death in The Sound and the Fury. The pattern i s prevalent i n Faulkner, f o r the figure of the youth,experiencing r e a l i t y provides him not with an unbiased bystander, but with a fresh v i s i o n which leads the reader, himself unfamiliar with the Southern milieu, into a new world. Again, c r i t i c s have made the error of t r e a t i n g Faulkner's bystanders, i n t h i s case his youths, as re- presentatives of the author within the novel. This has led, as in the case of The Unvanquished.(1938), to mis- taken interpretations of the book. In his discussion of t h i s i n t e r - r e l a t e d series of short s t o r i e s , f o r instance, Melvin Backman dismisses The Unvanquished as "sentimental, s u p e r f i c i a l , and stereotyped." 1 Backman then goes on to say that with "Odor of Verbena," the culminating story i n which Faulkner presents a strong c r i t i c i s m of Southern morals and standards, the a r t i s t breaks through the 161. Southerner again. S i m i l a r l y , V/illiam Van O'Connor refers 2 to the book's " s l i c k magazine stereotypes" and again goes on to exempt the f i n a l story. Cleanth 3rooks, how- ever, suggests that the judgments of the conclusion are i m p l i c i t i n the e a r l i e r s t o r i e s . 3 Indeed, I w i l l attempt to show that the sequence of s t o r i e s comprises a thorough examination of point of view linked with a presentation of the degradation of the three people who stand at the centre of the novels John S a r t o r i s , Rosa M i l l a r d , and D r u s i l l a . Faulkner presents a romantic v i s i o n of war only to suggest i t s inadequacy; he erects the stereo- types to show what l i e s behind them; he portrays a s e n t i - mental Southern morality i n action to indicate i t s f a t a l inadequacy. On the f i r s t page of the book, Faulkner presents an image suggesting the dichotomy between the myth Bayard loves and the r e a l i t y he does not yet recognize. 3ayard and Ringo work f u r i o u s l y on a miniature of Vicksburg they have b u i l t , t r y i n g v a i n l y to keep t h e i r imitation M i s s i s s i p p i f u l l of waters we ran, panting and interminable, with the leaking bucket between wellhouse and b a t t l e - f i e l d , the two of us needing f i r s t to join forces and spend ourselves against a common enemy, time, before we could engender between us and hold i n t a c t the pattern of recapitulant mimic furious v i c t o r y l i k e a c l o t h , a shield between ourselves and r e a l i t y , between us and fact and doom. 162. But into t h e i r play kingdom steps r e a l i t y in the form of Loosh, who sweeps t h e i r chip castle away with the words: "There's your Vicksburg" (5) . With the f a l l of Vicks- burg, Bayard's father returns to M i s s i s s i p p i surrounded by a sense of grandeur, in the boy's imagination. An older Bayard, t e l l i n g the story, r e a l i z e s : "He was not big; i t was just the things he did, that we knew he was doing, had been doing i n V i r g i n i a and Tennessee, that made him seem b i g to us" (10) . His size i s "the i l l u s i o n of height and size which he wore f o r us at l e a s t " (11). Bayard smells an odor associated with his father, that ddor i n his clothes and beard and f l e s h too which I believed was the smell of powder and glory, the elected v i c t o r - ious but know better now: know now to have been only the w i l l to endure, a sardonic and even humorous d e c l i n i n g of se l f - d e l u s i o n which i s not even kin to that optimism which believes that that which i s about to happen to us can possi b l y be the worst which we can su f f e r . (11) "Know better now": these three words are the key to understanding the opening s t o r i e s of The Unvanquished. We are constantly made aware of the two perceptions fo- cussed upon the action, that of the young innocent by- stander with h i s romantic vi s i o n s of war and his father, and the older, d i s i l l u s i o n e d narrator r e c a l l i n g what he thought. In "Raid", when Bayard and Ringo learn of the 163. locomotive chase, t h i s dual sense of romantic invention and apprehended r e a l i t y which informs the book i s e p i - tomized : So we knew a war existed . . . . Yet we had no proof of i t . In f a c t , we had even l e s s than no proof: we had had thrust into our faces the very shabby and un- avoidable obverse of proof, who had seen Father (and the other men too) return home, afoot l i k e tramps or on crowbait horses, i n faded and patched (and at times obviously stolen) clothing, pre- ceded by no fl a g s nor drums and followed not even by two men to keep step with one another, in coats bearing no g l i t t e r of golden braid and with scabbards i n which no sword reposed, a c t u a l l y almost sneaking home to spend two or three or seven days performing actions not only without glory . . . and in which they had no s k i l l but the very necessity f o r which, returning, they bore no proof — actions i n the very clumsy performance of which Father's whole presence seemed (to us, Ringo and me) to emanate a kind of humility and apology, as i f he were saying, "Believe me, boys? take my word f o r i t : there's more to i t than t h i s , no matter what i t looks l i k e . I can't prove i t , so y o u ' l l just have to believe me." And then to have i t happen, where we could have been there to see i t , and were not: and t h i s no poste and riposte of sweat-reeking cavalry which a l l war- t e l l i n g i s f u l l of, no galloping thunder of guns to wheel up and unlimber and crash and crash into the l u r i d grime- glare of t h e i r own demon-served inferno which even children would recognize, ho ragged l i n e s of gaunt and s h r i l l - y e l l i n g i n f a n t r y beneath a tattered f l a g which i s a very cart of that c h i l d ' s make- believe. (107-108) 164. The story of the locomotive i s completely unlike Bayard's romantic vi s i o n s of t r a d i t i o n a l cavalry c o n f l i c t , and the sight of his father and the others returning home " l i k e tramps" i s strangely troubl i n g to him. Like Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms (written only f i v e years e a r l i e r i n 1929), The Unvanquished i s a c r i t i c i s m of t r a d i t i o n a l romantic conceptions of war. War destroys morally as well as p h y s i c a l l y ; John S a r t o r i s , D r u s i l l a , and Rosa M i l l a r d each degenerate when confronted by i t s horror. In "Ambuscade," Faulkner presents the boy's v i s i o n of his father as a Southern hero, tempered however by the older Bayard's i r o n i c awareness. 3ut John S a r t o r i s has been turned into a creature of war and by the time we reach "An Odor of Verbena," we f i n d Bayard describing him i n the following terms; he sat half-turned from the table, a l i t t l e paunchy now though not much, a l i t t l e g r i z z l e d too i n the h a i r though his beard was as strong as ever, with that spurious forensic a i r of lawyers and the i n t o l e r a n t eyes which i n the l a s t two years had acquired that transparent f i l m which the eyes of car- nivorous animals have and from behind which they look at a world which no ruminant ever sees, perhaps dares to see, which I have seen before on the eyes of men who have k i l l e d so much that never again as long as they l i v e w i l l they ever be alone. (265-266) Bayard nov/ sees the i n t o l e r a n t eyes of a carnivore where 165. before he had seen only an heroic father. John S a r t o r i s too r e a l i z e s what he has become, claiming he "acted as the land and the time demanded" (266), and he decides as an act of moral expiation to face his enemy unarmed. But the pattern which he helped to e s t a b l i s h cannot be ignored, and John S a r t o r i s i s k i l l e d by Redmond, his ex-partner. As we s h a l l see l a t e r , i t i s Bayard's dilemma to attempt to escape t h i s f i x e d pattern of revenge and r e t r i b u t i o n which his society imposes upon him. D r u s i l l a , h i s father's second wife, attempts to force him into that f a t a l i t y more than anyone. She i s the second person i n the novel who i s destroyed without being k i l l e d by the C i v i l War. Her femininity i s drained from her by the exigencies of wartime and her v i s i o n of the heroic code, leaving her a cold and inhuman s h e l l . E a r l y in the book, she informs Bayard that she has quit sleeping and Bayard, when he looks at her, sees "her head with the short jagged h a i r l i k e she had cut i t h e r s e l f without bothering about a mirror, and her neck that had got t h i n and hard l i k e her hands since Granny and I were here before" (114). By the time of John S a r t o r i s ' death, she has become "the Greek amphora pr i e s t e s s of a succinct and formal violence" (252). She s t i l l seems to e x i s t at the time of the C i v i l War, " i n that l a s t year of i t while 166. she had ridden i n man's clothes and with her ha i r cut short l i k e any other member of Father's troop" (253). She asserts the primacy of the dream over human l i f e , f o r , to D r u s i l l a , a l i f e i s an unimportant thing when weighed against the glory of the romantic imagination* A dream i s not a very safe thing to be near, Bayard. I know. I had'one once. I t ' s l i k e a loaded p i s t o l with a h a i r triggers i f i t stays a l i v e long enough, somebody i s going to be hurt. But i f i t ' s a good dream, i t ' s worth i t . There are not many dreams i n the world, but there are a l o t of human l i v e s . And one human l i f e or two dozen (25?) When she urges upon Bayard the p i s t o l s which she intends he s h a l l use against h i s father's k i l l e r , her fusion of the symbols of l i f e and sexuality with the instruments of death provides a shocking i l l u s t r a t i o n of her perver- sion s "Oh you w i l l thank me, you w i l l remember me who put into your hands what they say i s an a t t r i b u t e only of God's, who took what belongs to heaven and gave i t to you. Do you f e e l them? the long true barrels true as j u s t i c e , the tri g g e r s (you have f i r e d them) quick as r e t r i b u t i o n , the two of them slender and i n v i n c i b l e and f a t a l as the phy s i c a l shape of love?" (273) Like D r u s i l l a and John S a r t o r i s , Rosa M i l l a r d , who i s the moral center of Bayard's childhood, i s also corrupted by the war. She finds the moral p r i n c i p l e s 167. she has guarded so f i e r c e l y compromised by the necessi- t i e s of l i f e before and during the occupation of the South. Bayard and Ringo hide beneath her s k i r t s from a Yankee p a t r o l they have f i r e d upon and as they cower there, Bayard thinks how Granny had never whipped us f o r anything i n our l i v e s except l y i n g , and that even when i t wasnt even a t o l d l i e , but just keeping quiet, how she would whip us f i r s t , and then make us kneel down and kneel down with us h e r s e l f and ask the Lord to forgive us. (32) But to save the two boys, she l i e s to the Yankees, and when Bayard points out to her that she has done so, "I know i t , " she said. She moved. "Help me up." She got out of the chair, holding to us. We didn't know what she was t r y i n g to do. We just stood there while she held to us and to the cha i r and l e t h e r s e l f down to her knees beside i t . I t was Ringo that knelt f i r s t . Then I knelt, too, while she asked the Lord to forgive her f o r t e l l i n g the l i e . (39) In "Retreat," the next story i n the book, another of Granny's s t r i c t u r e s breaks down, her soap-inforced rule against swearing. Driven to desperation by the Yankee occupation and the Negro exodus, she joins her two boys i n cursing them: "The bastuds, Granny!" I said. "The bastuds!" Then we were a l l three saying i t — Granny and me and Ringo, saying i t together: "The bastuds!" we c r i e d . "The bastuds! the bastuds!" 168. These are, however, rather minor and understandable de- vi a t i o n s from her moral code. 3ut i n the next two st o r i e s we see a much more serious corruption of her p r i n c i p l e s occur, one that leads to her death. Taking advantage of a Yankee quartermaster's mistake, she and the hoys b i l k the Union Army out of several hundred mules, which she then r e s e l l s to support h e r s e l f and her neighbours. I n i t i a l l y , Granny attempts to j u s t i f y her • actions, saying: "I t r i e d to t e l l them better. You and Ringo heard me. I t ' s the hand of God" (128). But Ringo, who moves more and more into a p o s i t i o n of command, uses the incorrect r e q u i s i t i o n paper to obtain supplies and mules and asks her i r o n i c a l l y : "Hah! . . . Whose hand was that?" (130) Even when she makes her confession to God, however, she sounds more l i k e an advocate i n court than a penitent: "I have sinned. I have stolen, and I have borne fal s e witness against my neighbour, though that neighbour was an enemy of my country. And more than that, I have caused these children to s i n . I hereby take t h e i r sins upon my conscience . . . . 3ut I did not si n f o r gain or f o r greed . . . . I did not s i n f o r revenge. I defy You or anyone to say I d i d . I sinned f i r s t f o r j u s t i c e . And a f t e r the f i r s t time, I sinned f o r more than j u s t i c e : I sinned f o r the sake of food and clothes f o r Your own creatures . . . . " (167) 169. As Granny continues i n her career of heating the Yankees, she i s forced to consort with criminals l i k e Ab Snopes and Grumby: her moral system degenerates and she i s f i - n a l l y destroyed by her own actions. A f t e r 3ayard and Ringo have avenged her death by the murder of Grumby, Ringo points the moral: " I t wasn't him or Ab Snopes e i t h e r that k i l t her . . . . I t was them mules. That f i r s t batch of mules we got f o r nothing" (211). Caught up i n a sequence of events they have helped to i n i t i a t e but cannot control, a l l three people, D r u s i l l a , Rosa M i l l a r d , and John S a r t o r i s , are, i n one sense or another, destroyed by them. This i s the action Bayard watches h e l p l e s s l y and t h i s i s the f a t a l i t y from which he seeks to escape i n the f i n a l story of the volume, "The Odor of Verbena." His problem i s complicated by the f a c t that, as soon as he becomes an actor in t h i s drama, he too i s provided with an audience which watches his every move. In "Skirmish at S a r t o r i s , " an e a r l i e r story i n the book, we see t h i s community opinion brought to bear upon D r u s i l l a with ultimate success, as she i s forced into a t r a d i t i o n a l role against her w i l l by the women of Jefferson. Aunt Louisa, D r u s i l l a ' s mother, marshalls public opinion to force a marriage between her daughter and John S a r t o r i s : 170. Aunt Louisa didn't doubt, only she did hope and pray that Mrs. Compson had been spared the sight of her own daughter i f Mrs. Compson had one f l o u t i n g and out- raging a l l Southern p r i n c i p l e s of p u r i t y and womanhood that our husbands had died f o r . . . . (222) This parody of Southern sentiments i s comic l a r g e l y be- cause i t i s seen through the wondering eyes of Bayard, who, as a boy, doesn't understand the t r a d i t i o n a l values h i s community embraces: "Because I was just f i f t e e n ; I s t i l l didn't know what i t was a l l about" (225). But i n the l a t e r story, the influence the community exerts, as bystander, upon the action i t wit- nesses i s very nearly deadly. When Bayard a r r i v e s at his home a f t e r l e a r n i n g of h i s father's murder, he sees Wyatt and the others of Father's old troop — and I had forgot they would be there. I had forgot that they would be there; I remember how I thought, since I was t i r e d and spent with s t r a i n , Now i t w i l l have to begin tonight. I won't even have u n t i l tomorrow in which to begin to r e s i s t . (267) ~ Bayard sees the watching men gathered "with that curious v u l t u r e - l i k e formality which Southern men assume i n such s i t u a t i o n s " (267). The image of the vulture i s apt, f o r these men f u l l y expect to witness a death and indeed even desire i t . Bayard suddenly f e e l s that he i s acting out a dramatic scene with the men as a Greek chorus: I seemed to be s t i l l in the saddle and to watch myself enter the scene which she D r u s i l l a had postulated l i k e another actor while i n the background 171. f o r chorus Wyatt and the others stood with the unctuous formality which the Southern man shows i n the presence of death . . . . (269) The influence of these watchers i s strong upon Bayard, f o r , as he t e l l s Aunt Jenny in explaining his ride to the town to confront Redmond, "you see, I want to be thought well of" ( 2 8 0 ) . As he enters the town, Bayard i s con- scious of the eyes upon him and he thinks: " I f I could only be i n v i s i b l e u n t i l I reach the s t a i r s to his o f f i c e and begin to mount" ( 2 8 3 ) . But he cannot escape the force of p u b l i c opinion. Aunt Jenny advises him to ignore t h i s opinion, but Bayard r e p l i e s that there i s more t° ifedttan tkat-, as a creature of h i s society, he c a r r i e s within himself the at t i t u d e s of the society which has fostered him: "Don't l e t i t be D r u s i l l a , a poor hys- t e r i c a l young woman. And don't l e t i t be him, Bayard, because he's dead now. And don't l e t i t be George Wyatt and those others who w i l l be waiting f o r you tomorrow morning. I know you are not a f r a i d . " "But what good w i l l that do?" I said. "What good w i l l that do? . . . I must l i v e with myself, you see." "Then i t ' s not just D r u s i l l a ? Not just him? Not just George Wyatt and Jefferson? "No," I said. (276) Bayard's task i s to s a t i s f y the demands of t h i s p u blic opinion, which are, in part, demands of his own conscience, while at the same time putting an end to the progression of violence, the l a t e s t victim of which has been his own father. His solution i s to face Redmond, but unarmed, a 172. sol u t i o n his father t r i e d before him. But his father has been trapped too f i r m l y i n the pattern of violence he has i n i t i a t e d ; however, i t i s not too late f o r 3ayard, in spite of the f a c t that he has e a r l i e r ( i n contrast to t h i s incident) taken a bloody revenge upon Grumby, his grandmother's murderer. Wyatt, Jefferson's representa- t i v e , i s i n i t i a l l y outraged to f i n d that Bayard does not intend to k i l l Redmond, but he, and the town with him, are f i n a l l y s a t i s f i e d with Bayard's substitution f o r violence, moral courage. As Bayard leaves Redmond's o f f i c e , the men salute him with raised hats, the commu- n i t y ' s stamp of approval and respect. He escapes the ex- pectations of the choric observers b u t o n l y i n a l i m i t e d sense; the bystanders exert a powerful influence upon Bayard by the very act of watching. The Unvanquished delineates, i n a series of short s t o r i e s , the emotional development of a youthful bystander, Bayard S a r t o r i s , i n reaction to the destruc- t i o n of h i s father, his grandmother, and h i s cousin. Their fates are important l a r g e l y because of the impact they have upon the perceiving consciousness of the inno- cent bystander whose innocence i s destroyed by the actions of his r e l a t i o n s . Faced with a newly acquired awareness of his society's l i m i t a t i o n s , Bayard i s forced to act on 173. h i s own, l a r g e l y because of the pressure of that society's presence as c o l l e c t i v e bystander. Ke can no longer func- t i o n simply as a bystander himself. In several of his short s t o r i e s Faulkner uses a s i m i l a r device — the youth as bystander — i n rather d i f f e r e n t ways. In "My Grandmother M i l l a r d and General Bedford Forrest and The Battle of Harrykin Creek," a story which i s c l o s e l y connected by subject to The Unvanquished, he again uses the innocent v i s i o n of Bayard S a r t o r i s as a means of s a t i r i z i n g the old t r a d i t i o n of the South. The tone of t h i s story i s close to that of "Skirmish at S a r t o r i s , " but the hints of darker occurrences which frequent The Unvanquished are here absent. Bayard's unromantic report of the romantic clap-trap spoken by Cousin P h i l i p and Cousin Melisandra emphasizes the l u d i - crous q u a l i t y of t h e i r posturings. The manner of the l o v e r s ' meeting, with i t s embarrassment, i s constantly r e c a l l e d f o r Melisandra by her lover's names Lieutenant P h i l i p St-Just Backhouse. Cousin P h i l i p wanders aimlessly about with what 3ayard c a l l s "that b e a u t i f u l - g i r l look i n h i s face."-' When Bayard suggests that the l o g i c a l s o l u t i o n to t h e i r dilemma i s f o r P h i l i p to change his name, Rosa M i l l a r d says: "That's the f i r s t sensible thing I've heard said on t h i s place since eleven o'clock t h i s morning. . . . I t ' s so sensible and simple that I reckon only a c h i l d could have thought of i t . " (682) 174. But Cousin P h i l i p explains that the name i s not his to change, but that of a proud family whose honour he must uphold. In t h i s juxtaposition of attitudes, Bayard's t r a d i t i o n - f r e e common sense and P h i l i p ' s t r a d i t i o n - bound allegiances, we have the essence of the story. The s a t i r e of Cousin Melisandra's romantic posturings while her l o v e r i s away i n the army bear a strong resem- blance to Huck Finn's d e s c r i p t i o n of the Grangerford's p i c t u r e s . Bayard thinks: i f I was General Forrest I would go back and get Cousin P h i l i p and make him s i t i n the l i b r a r y u n t i l about suppertime while Cousin Melisandra played the dulcimer and sang. Then he could take Cousin P h i l i p on back and then he could f i n i s h the war without worrying. (694-95) The source of Cousin Melisandra's behaviour i s obvious when Bayard r e f e r s to her reading habits: When Cousin Melisandra f i r s t came she t r i e d to read aloud to Ringo and me. I t wasn't much. That i s , what she i n s i s t e d on reading to us wasn't so bad, even i f i t was mostly about l a d i e s looking out windows and playing on something (maybe they were dulcimers too) while somebody else was o f f some- where f i g h t i n g . I t was the way she read i t . (695) One r e c a l l s the unsympathetic v i s i o n of young Robert Saunders i n Soldier's Pay, but here the e f f e c t i s quite d i f f e r e n t . In the novel, we see the romantic, doomed 175. protagonists d i r e c t l y and sympathize with them, so that Robert's v i s i o n s t r i k e s us as just another example of Charlestown's lack of understanding. But i n t h i s short story, we have only Bayard's report and, consequently, we f e e l the truth of h i s perceptions. In "Barn Burning," Faulkner again renders the youth as bystander to an ac t i o n . In t h i s story, however, the consciousness of the youthful witness plays a much lar g e r role than i n "My Grandmother M i l l a r d " or Soldier's Pay, i n which the figure of the youth i s l a r g e l y a tech- n i c a l device, a created narrative voice used to contrast with the subject of the f i c t i o n . S a r t o r i s Snopes of "Barn Burning" i s c l o s e r to the 3ayard of The Unvanquished i n that he shows development; indeed, the changing aware- ness of the youth i n these two s t o r i e s becomes c e n t r a l rather than secondary to the a r t i s t ' s concern. We see the undermining of the boy's confidence i n his father as Ab Snopes continues on h i s career of arson. The boy i s caught between two forces, his need to respect h i s father and his s o c i a l morality: He could not see the table where the Justice sat and before which his father and his father's enemy (our enemy he thought i n despair; ournI mine and hisn both! He's my f a t h e r T l ^ The tension i s constantly i n the boy's mind as he 176. h e l p l e s s l y witnesses the outrages his father perpetrates; the boy hopes f u t i l e l y : Maybe i t w i l l a l l add up and balance and vanish -- corn, rug, f i r e ; the t e r r o r and the g r i e f , the being pulled two ways l i k e between two teams of horses -- gone, done with f o r ever and ever. (17l Images expressing the boy's f e e l i n g of hovering between two worlds, two forces, p r o l i f e r a t e in the s t o r y j he i s aware of "the t e r r i b l e handicap of being young, the l i g h t weight of his few years, just heavy enough to prevent his soaring free of the world as i t seemed to be ordered but not heavy enough to keep him footed s o l i d i n i t , to r e s i s t i t and t r y to change the course of i t s events" (9). In- deed, the story ends with such an image, the picture of the spring dawn which represents the middle point in the boy's development: He went on down the h i l l , toward the dark woods within which the l i q u i d s i l v e r voices of the birds c a l l e d unceasing -- the rapid and urgent beating of the urgent and q u i r i n g heart of the late spring night. He did not look back. (25) Because he wishes to capture t h i s sense of development from one world into another, Faulkner presents his by- stander from the point of view of the omniscient narrator who can s l i p i n and out of his characters' consciousness. In The Unvanquished, Faulkner solved a s i m i l a r problem by 177. rendering the story i n steps, one discrete story a f t e r another, thereby allowing both a viewer's awareness and a sense of change within that awareness. In "Uncle W i l l y , " Faulkner uses the youth as bystander i n a very d i f f e r e n t manner; the innocence of the youthful narrator allows him to see truths beyond the comprehension of the adults of Jefferson. As a f e r - vent advocate f o r the old druggist who i s destroyed by the town, the boy takes on the meddling adults who drive Uncle W i l l y to destruction. He saysj Uncle Willy was the f i n e s t man I ever knew, because even women couldn't beat him, because i n spite of them he wound up h i s l i f e g e t t i n g fun out of being a l i v e and he died doing the thing that was the most fun of a l l because I was there to help him. And that's something that most men and even most women too don't get to do, not even the women that c a l l meddling with other f o l k s ' l i v e s fun.7 We have seen the town and the choric voice s a t i r i z e d before i n novels l i k e Soldier's Pay and As I Lay Dying, but t h i s story i s by f a r Faulkner's most b i t t e r attack on the destructive power of community opinion. In an essay c a l l e d "On Privacy," Faulkner has l e f t us a c l e a r expression of h i s attitude on t h i s subject; he attacks the constant v i o l a t i o n of the in d i v i d u a l ' s privacy i n America, saying."one man's l i b e r t y must stop at exactly 178 the point where the next one's begins." This story i s a good f i c t i o n a l representation of that a t t i t u d e . Like Darl Bundren i n As I Lay Dying, with whom he i s e x p l i c i t l y compared, Uncle W i l l y C h r i s t i a n i s s a c r i f i c e d to the p r i n c i p l e s of Jefferson's pharasaical society: Uncle W i l l y was s i t t i n g by Reverend Schuttz looking l i t t l e r than ever, and I thought about one day l a s t summer when they took a country man named Bundren to.the asylum at Jack- son but he wasn't too crazy not to know where he was going. (228) Uncle W i l l y , whose l a s t name i s C h r i s t i a n , i s l i k e "one of those sheep they would s a c r i f i c e back i n the Bi b l e " (231). Determined to stop him from enjoying himself with drugs, women, l i q u o r , or anything else he might l i k e , the women of the town, led by the i r o n i c a l l y named Mrs. Merridew, send him to the asylum and put him through un- t o l d agonies, a l l i n the name of " r e a l C h r i s t i a n i t y " (232). Now and then, of course, the pious facade s l i p s , as when Mrs. Merridew curses the whore Uncle W i l l y married; the boy observes d r i l y : so maybe the church can go just so f a r and maybe the f o l k s that are i n i t are the ones that know the best or are e n t i t l e d to say when to d i s - connect r e l i g i o n f o r a minute or two. (236) The boy i s seldom t h i s calm i n his indictment of the town; he claims that he runs away with Uncle W i l l y because " i f 179. I wasn't there i t would be just him against a l l the old t e r r i f i e d and timid c l i n g i n g to d u l l and rule-ridden breathing which Jefferson was to him** (239). Uncle Wi l l y f i n a l l y dies i n the crash of h i s aeroplane, but, f o r the boy, the true d i s c i p l e , he w i l l outlast the mob who c r u c i f i e d him: It was l i k e I knew even then that, no matter what might happen to him, he wouldn't ever die and I thought that i f I could just learn to l i v e l i k e he l i v e d , no matter what might happen to me I wouldn't ever die e i t h e r . (242) The boy learns Willy's lesson of happiness, but he i s unable to communicate i t to others, to explain what he has learned from Uncle W i l l y C h r i s t i a n : "And now they w i l l never understand, not even- Papa, and there i s only me to t r y to t e l l them and how can I ever t e l l them, and make them understand? How can I?" (247) In each of these three short s t o r i e s , the v i - sion of the youthful bystander clashes with the t r a d i - t i o n a l morality and actions of his society. In "My Grand- mother M i l l a r d " , Bayard's uncomprehending but commonsense view of the extravagant romanticism of his cousins re- veals the ludicrous nature of Southern courtly love. S i - m i l a r l y , Sarty Snopes' innate sense of what i s r i g h t con- f l i c t s with h i s family's insistence upon the sanc t i t y of blood t i e s . Again, the youthful bystander in "Uncle Wi l l y " 180. because of h i s youthful sympathy with Wi l l y Christian's e t h i c of d e l i g h t , perceives the predominant morality of the town as harsh and h y p o c r i t i c a l . In each case, Faulkner seems to imply that the innocence and inexperience of h i s youthful narrator provides a v i s i o n which i s superior to that of his society. In Go Down, Moses, Faulkner treated t h i s theme i n a more complex manner. The great bulk of c r i t i c i s m on Go Down, Moses has focussed upon "The Bear" with only occasional r e f e r - ences to the other s t o r i e s i n the volume, but an examina- t i o n of the book i n terms of the bystander can show the close r e l a t i o n s h i p of t h i s long story to the u n i f i e d se- quence. The book €€rx$.eL-&vid«4frr7 —..!s.£ into two groups of s t o r i e s , the plantation s t o r i e s , which concentrate on the white man's r e l a t i o n s h i p with the Negro, and the hunting s t o r i e s , which reveal his r e l a t i o n s h i p to the land. That t h i s d i v i s i o n seems a r b i t r a r y to some extent suggests the unity of these two concerns, because the white man, i n hi s destruction of the wilderness, h i s rape of nature, has compounded his s i n by using as his t o o l the enslaved black man. Therefore Ike McCaslin's attempt to l i v e i n harmony with the wilderness also involves h i s attempt to renounce the heritage of e v i l descending from his grand- father's miscegenation. 181. Ike McCaslin i s the "bystander of the four hunting s t o r i e s , "Was," "The Old People," "The Bear," and "Delta Autumn." The f i r s t story, indeed, occurs long before his b i r t h and yet i t s importance f o r him i n - volves him as a bystander to i t s action. In both "The Old People" and "The Bear", although Ike i s one of the hunters, he seems incapable of act i n g , and h i s role be- comes that of a witness, profoundly influenced by the im- p l i c a t i o n s of the events he watches. His decision, i n Section Four of "The Bear," to renounce his heritage and i t s concomitant g u i l t makes him a perpetual bystander to the passions of l i f e , and i n "Delta Autumn," as an old man, he i s the helpless witness of events he would pre- f e r not to see. Although i n the l a s t two pieces mentioned Ike i s no longer the youth he was i n the e a r l i e r s t o r i e s , i t seems appropriate to deal with him even as an old man. As an adult he i s the product of those experiences he witnessed as a youth, just as Bayard S a r t o r i s of The Un- vanquished i s . Moreover, i t w i l l be argued below that Ike's i n a b i l i t y to develop beyond the stage of youthful and passive bystander i s his problem as a man. Ike attempts, unsuccessfully, i n these four s t o r i e s to escape the burden of g u i l t which he, as a white man and, even more, as old Carothers McCaslin*s descendant, 182. bears. In the other s t o r i e s i n the volume, Roth Edmonds i s s i m i l a r l y unsuccessful i n grappling with the white- black problem which Ike hopes to escape. In t h i s sense, Roth and Ike form the d u a l i t y of human consciousness and i t s approach to o r i g i n a l or inherited s i n : Ike's attempted escape and denial of his heritage contrasts with Roth's acceptance and involvement. In a previous chapter, I discussed the "plantation" s t o r i e s ; here I w i l l show how Ike's r o l e as bystander structures and u n i f i e s the "hunting" sequence. I t may seem strange to include "Was" i n the se- quence f o r two reasons: i t deals with the slave-planta- t i o n experience s i m i l a r l y described i n "The F i r e and the Hearth," "Pantaloon i n Black," and "Go Down, Moses," and i t uses as i t s viewing consciousness not Ike himself, but Cass Edmonds, the f i r s t representative of the family which supplants Ike as owner of Carothers McCaslin's plantation. But there are two reasons f o r i t s i n c l u s i o n i n the hunting sequence: i t i s presented as an action to which Ike i s a bystander h i s t o r i c a l l y , and i t i s related i n terms of a seri e s of hunting metaphors which p a r a l l e l i t to the other hunting s t o r i e s . Although Ike appears nowhere i n the action of "Was," he i s involved i n i t by an introductory section 183 which suggests his r e l a t i o n s h i p to the story: Isaac McCaslin, 'Uncle Ike,* past seventy and nearer eighty than he ever corroborated any more, a widower now and uncle to h a l f a county and father to no one t h i s was not something p a r t i c i - pated i n or even seen by himself, but by h i s elder cousin, McCaslin Edmonds . . not something he had p a r t i c i p a t e d i n or even remembered except through and from h i s cousin McCaslin . . . out of the old time, the old days (3-4) Like Quentin Compson i n Absalom. Absalom!. Ike i s a wit- ness of a di s t a n t past i n which he could hardly have p a r t i c i p a t e d , a witness because the emotional and moral impact of those previous actions upon him i n the present are so strong. In a l l of these s t o r i e s , Ike i s influenced by h i s c u l t u r a l past; nowhere i s t h i s truer than i n h i s inheritance from old Sam Fathers, the half-Negro, h a l f - Indian guide, who i n h i s very presence embodies the h i s t o r y of the South. In "The Old People,"for instance: The boy would just wait and then l i s t e n and Sam would begin t a l k i n g about the old days and the People whom he had not had time ever to know and so could not remember. . . ••••••••• And as he talked about those old times and those dead and vanished men of another race from e i t h e r that the boy knew, gradually to the boy those old times, would cease to be old times and would become a part of the boy*s present, not only as i f they had happened yesterday but as i f they were s t i l l happening, the men who walked through them a c t u a l l y walking i n breath and a i r and casting an actual shadow on the earth they had not quitt e d . (171) 184. Imaginatively, the hoy becomes the witness of events transmitted to him only through Sam Fathers, h i s s p i r i - t u a l father, who becomes "the mouthpiece of the past" (171). Later, i n "The Bear," Faulkner describes Ike as a person who "even at almost eighty would never be able to d i s t i n g u i s h c e r t a i n l y between what he had seen and what had been t o l d to him" (291). Ike's imaginative awareness makes him the bystander of his race's past and heritage. "Was" takes i t s place i n the hunting sequence f o r another important reason; the attempt to recapture Tomey's T u r l , the Negro slave, who repeatedly s l i p s away to v i s i t his woman on a nearby plantation, i s ren- dered co n s i s t e n t l y i n terms of the hunting of an animal. This bizarre use of metaphor underlines the inhumanity of the slavery system that makes such a chase possible, and i t reveals an aspect of the horror which Ike, as a reluctant and post facto witness, attempts to absolve. The story begins and ends with the furor created when the McCaslin's tame fox gets loose among t h e i r dogs and turns the house into a chaos i n the r e s u l t i n g chase. In both cases, the boy's comment i s : " I t was a good race" (5«30)« When we turn to the main business of the story, the pursuit of Tomey's Tu r l ( i n his own way a 185. tame fox), the de s c r i p t i o n continues to r e l y on the me- taphor of hunting. Here i s the chase seen through Cass Edmond's eyes: He waited u n t i l Uncle Buck had vanished into the woods. Then he went on. But Tomey's T u r l saw him. He closed i n too f a s t j maybe he was a f r a i d he wouldn't be there in time to see him when he treed. I t was the best race he had ever seen. (8) The events are obviously regarded l i g h t h e a r t e d l y by the boy; indeed, the tone of the story throughout i s comic. For Tomey's T u r l , however, the outcome i s more serious; the comic tone of the story i s p a r t l y a r e s u l t of d i s - tance. The hunting imagery, when viewed i n terms of the t o t a l scheme of Go Down, Moses takes on a darker s i g n i f i cance. Stanley Tick points out the immorality revealed i n -Was": To the boy, the chase i s only an ad- venture; no s o c i a l or moral consider- ation can be expected to occur to him. Yet the adults see the pursuit no d i f f e r e n t l y ; t h e i r interference with another human being, who i s a negro, has f o r them no more significance than t h e i r dog's pursuit of the fox which opens and ends t h i s section.° One need only remember Roth Edmond's attitude to "does" i n "Delta Autumn" to see that Faulkner uses the hunting terms consciously. For instance: he never did know just when and where they jumped Tomey's T u r l , whether he 186. flushed out of one of the cabins or not. Uncle Buck was away out i n front on Black John and they hadn't even cast the dogs yet when Uncle Buck roared, "Cone away! I godfrey, he broke cover then!" ( l k ) Another reason f o r the lightness of tone i s that the actions are seen through the innocent v i s i o n of the double-youth narrator ( s i m i l a r to the Gowan-Charles d u a l i t y i n The Town). The serious pursuits of these adults are e i t h e r bewildering or funny to a c h i l d un- touched by the sexual urges of Tomey's T u r l or Sophonsiba Beauchamp and as yet unconcerned by the implications of slavery. Miss Sophonsiba*s s t a l k i n g of Uncle Buck i s presented i n terms as humorous as those used to describe Tomey's T u r l pursuit. When i t seems that Uncle Buck has f i n a l l y been caught, Hubert Beauchamp's comment i s : "She's got you ' F i l u s , and you know i t . You run a hard race and you run a good one, but you skun the hen-house one time too many" (23). S i m i l a r l y , Cass's understanding of Miss Sophonsiba's elaborate romantic vocabulary makes i t appear ludicrous: Then Miss Sophonsiba said something about a bumblebee, but he couldn't remember that. I t was too f a s t and there was too much of i t , the earrings and the beads clashing and j i n g l i n g l i k e l i t t l e trace chains on a toy mule t r o t t i n g and the perfume stronger too, l i k e the earrings and the beads 187. sprayed i t out each time they moved. . . . something about Uncle Buck was a bee sipping from flower to flower and not staying long anywhere and a l l that stored sweetness to be wasted on Uncle Buddy's desert a i r . (11) In the same way as he used 3ayard i n "My Grandmother M i l l a r d and General Bedford Forrest and The Battle of Harrykin Creek" to s a t i r i z e adult behaviour, so Faulkner uses Cass's v i s i o n of Sophonsiba Beauchamp to make her appear ludicrous. This comic sense disappears in "The Old People" and "The Bear," two s t o r i e s i n which Isaac McCaslin i s himself now the bystander to the actions. Although cer- t a i n l y the most important character i n e i t h e r story, Ike i s strangely passive and removed. His p r i n c i p a l function seems to be to act as the consciousness upon which the implications of the s t o r i e s * actions impact. Sam Fathers and Boon Hogganbeck, the central actors, are s i g n i f i c a n t only i n so f a r as they influence the boy who watches them. It i s true that i n "The Old People" the boy does act to slay his f i r s t deer, but that very act seems to place him as the n o v i t i a t e whose role i t i s to watch the master. Ike i s joined to Sam Fathers i n a union consecrated by the blood of Ike's f i r s t deer, " j o i n i n g him and the man forever, so that the man would continue to l i v e past the boy's seventy years and then eighty years, long a f t e r the 188. man himself had entered the earth as chiefs and kings entered i t " ( I65). The boy's role i s not even as active as that of questioner: "The boy would never question him; Sam did not react to question. The boy would just wait and then l i s t e n and Sam would begin" (171). When the old buck, "grandfather," symbol of the wilderness i t - s e l f , stands before him, Ike only watches with "the gun s t i l l p a r t l y aimed and one of the hammers s t i l l cocked" (184). Indeed, t h i s act of confrontation occurs three times i n Go Down, Moses and, i n each case, Ike remains strangely i n a c t i v e . Standing before the mighty buck in "The Old People," he holds a cocked r i f l e , but he doesn't even t r y to shoot. In "The Bear," the boy's confrontation with Old 3en i s s i m i l a r l y passive; he neglects his oppor- t u n i t y to shoot the fabled bear. Sam Fathers t e l l s him, a f t e r Old Een has disappeared into the ; f o r e s t , "You've done seed him twice rrow, with a gun i n your hands . . . t h i s time you couldn't have missed him" (212). The boy's reply i s : "Neither could you. . . . You had the gun. Why didn't you shoot him?" (212) F i n a l l y , the boy confronts the rattlesnake i n the l a s t section of "The Bear," once more face to face with an exceptional animal. The elevation of the head did not change as i t began to glide away from him, 189. moving erect yet o f f the perpendicular as i f the head and that elevated t h i r d were complete and a l l . . . going and then gone; he put the other foot down at l a s t and didn't know i t , standing with one hand raised as Sam had stood that afternoon s i x years ago when Sam led him into the wilderness and showed him and he ceased to be a c h i l d , speaking the old tongue which Sam had spoken that day without premeditation e i t h e n "Chief," he said: "Grandfather." (329-330) In t h i s f i n a l meeting, we can see the reason f o r Ike's previous p a s s i v i t y ; the three animals, deer, bear, and snake, represent and symbolize the wilderness, nature, as a whole, Ike's reaction to each one i s the breathless amazement of the n o v i t i a t e before a p a r t i c u l a r l y sacred shrine. Ike embodies the hunter as witness rather than destroyer, as appreciative bystander to a mysterious and l i f e - g i v i n g order which his unrestrained a c t i v i t y would corrupt. Richard E. Fisher, i n "The Wilderness, the Commissary, and the 3edroom: Faulkner's Ike McCaslin as Hero i n a Vacuum" has suggested that Ike's role i n Go Down, Moses i s a denial of the vicious s e l f - a s s e r t i o n which has characterized the white man and, p a r t i c u l a r l y , Ike's ancestor, Carothers McCaslin: "In terms of the story, his proper education and mode of l i f e amount to recognizing and repudiating s e l f - a s s e r t i o n . " 1 0 This s e l f - 190. assertion has involved not only the destruction of the wilderness but also the enslaving of the Negro; the white man has imposed his w i l l upon the land and upon another race. Fisher suggests further that Ike's ultimate f a i l u r e a r i s e s from h i s lapse back to s e l f - a s s e r t i o n . Thus his r e f u s a l to accept the black woman who i s h i s r e l a t i v e i n "Delta Autumn" stems, Fisher says, from an i n a b i l i t y to carry through the perception he achieved in "The Bear" with the help of Sara Fathers. On the contrary, I believe that Ike's subsequent f a i l u r e , f a r from being a r e s u l t of renewed s e l f - a s s e r t i o n , i s , i n f a c t , an inev- i t a b l e concomitant of his i n i t i a l decision to renounce s e l f - a s s e r t i o n . The b i t t e r irony of Go Down, Moses l i e s i n the f a c t that Ike's recognition of his corrupted heritage leads not to an attempt to improve the s i t u a t i o n , but to an escape into the wilderness. His renunciation of hi s inheritance,- which i s a f l i g h t from r e s p o n s i b i l i t y , i s innate i n Ike's character. His p a s s i v i t y , i n other words, hi s habitual stance as bystander rather than par- t i c i p a n t , determines that his response to the e v i l s of h i s heritage w i l l be passive rather than a c t i v e . In t h i s sense, Faulkner's use of Ike as h i s r e g i s t e r i n the four hunting s t o r i e s involves another b r i l l i a n t fusion of theme 191. and technique. Receptive to impressions and perceptions, Ike nevertheless ex h i b i t s the s t a s i s t y p i c a l of a novel's perceiving i n t e l l i g e n c e ; i t i s his job to be acted upon rather than to act. Throughout "The Bear" Ike's stance as bystander renders him passive before the action he watches. Indeed, when he f i r s t enters the woods with the mem " I t seemed to him that at the age of ten he was witnessing his own b i r t h " (195). Old Ben i s "the bear which had run i n his l i s t e n i n g and loomed i n his dreams since before he could remember" (200). Ike's entire l i f e has consisted of the n o v i t i a t e ' s t r a n q u i l though passionate observation of t h i s d e i f i e d presence. When Lion appears, the one dog s u f f i - c ient to bring Old Ben to bay, the boy,seems again to be the spectator of the pageant: I t was l i k e the l a s t act on a set stage. I t was the beginning of the end of something, he didn't know what except that hecould not grieve. He would be humble and proud that he had been found worthy to be a part of i t too or even just to see i t too. (226) Ike's role i s "just to see i t , " but t h i s i s the most im- portant role of a l l , f o r , as involved bystander, his re- action to the events i s Faulkner's central concern. In Section Four of "The Bear," the nature of Ike's renunciation i s made c l e a r . Ike i s determined to 192. sever his association with the plantation of h i s grand- father, "that whole e d i f i c e i n t r i c a t e and complex and founded upon i n j u s t i c e and erected by ruthless rapacity and c a r r i e d on even yet with at times downright savagery" (298). Ike believes that a l l earth, c u l t i v a t e d or wild, was made f o r a l l men to hold "Mutual and in t a c t i n the communal anonymity of brotherhood" (257). The ledger which records the i n j u s t i c e and rapacity necessary to create the McCaslin plantation i s , moreover, representa- t i v e of a larg e r crime; i t i s "that chronicle which was the whole land i n miniature, which mu l t i p l i e d and com- pounded was the entire South "(293)• In these terms, Ike's decision to renounce his tainted inheritance must be seen as commendable. Yet that decision i s as much escape as renun- c i a t i o n . Ike sees himself as a latter-day Isaac, deter- mined to avoid the s a c r i f i c i a l a l t a r of h i s ancestors' g u i l t ; he c a l l s himself: — an Isaac born into a l a t e r l i f e than Abraham's and repudiating immolation: fa t h e r l e s s and there- fore safe d e c l i n i n g the a l t a r be- cause maybe t h i s time the exasper- ated Hand might not supply the kid — * and McCaslin 'Escape:' and he • A l l r i g h t . Escape.' (283) Ike confesses to his cousin: "I have got to because I have got myself to l i v e with f o r the rest of my l i f e and 193- a l l I want i s peace to do i t i n " (288). Ike regards the fo r e s t in which he spends so much time as a refuge; i t i s described as "the wall of wilderness ahead within which he would be able to hide himself" (318). He says to McCaslin, with s a t i s f a c t i o n , "Sam Fathers set me free" (300) . Ike's escape i s not so simple, however; h i s heritage i s as much within him as external and, therefore, wherever he goes, he bears the old g u i l t bequeathed to him by Carothers McCaslin. Speaking about the black race, Ike i s about to say "they are better," but he pauses s i g n i f i - c antly h a l f way through his sentence: i t was not a pause, barely a f a l t e r even, pos s i b l y appreciable only to himself, as i f he couldn't speak even to McCaslin, even to explain his re- pudiation, that which to him too, even i n the act of escaping (and maybe t h i s . was the r e a l i t y and the truth of his need to escape) was heresy: so that even i n escaping he was taking with him more of that e v i l and unregenerate old man who could summon, because she was his property, a human being because she was old enough and female, to his widower's house and get a c h i l d on her and then dismiss her because she was of an i n f e r i o r race. (294) Ike can no more escape the problem of the McCaslin h e r i - tage than McCaslin Edmonds and h i s grandson Roth can come to terms with i t i n the "plantation s t o r i e s " of Go Down, Moses. 194. The hint of f a i l u r e suggested i n Section Four becomes f o r Ike an overwhelming r e a l i t y i n "Delta Autumn." The problem of the ravaging of the land i s everywhere evident i n the opening pages of t h i s short story. Ike sees "the t e r r i t o r y i n which game s t i l l existed drawing yearly inward as h i s l i f e was drawing inward" (335)' He sees the d e l t a land of M i s s i s s i p p i , "the land across which there came now no scream of panther but\instead the long hooting of locomotives" (341). At the conclusion of the story, Ike has a v i s i o n o f the ruined land, "deswamped and denuded and derivered", and he thinks: "No wonder the ruined woods I used to know dont cry f o r r e t r i b u t i o n ! . . . The people who have destroyed i t w i l l accomplish i t s revenge" (364). This inevitable encroachment upon the wilderness i s p a r a l l e l e d by another i n t r u s i o n into Ike's forest re- t r e a t . Into the hunting camp comes his nephew's mixed blood mistress, abandoned by Roth Edmonds i n a re-enact- ment of the o r i g i n a l s i n committed by old Carothers Mc- C a s l i n upon Tomasina, Confronted by the old heritage he had sought to escape, Ike despairingly adopts h i s habi- t u a l response, f l i g h t . He counsels the young woman to leave the South: "That's r i g h t . Go back North. Marry: a man in your own race. That's the only salvation f o r you f o r a while yet, 195. maybe a long while yet. We w i l l have to wait. Marry a black man. You are young, handsome, almost white; you could f i n d a black man who would see in you what i t was you saw in him, who would ask nothing of you and ex- pect less and get even s t i l l l e s s than that, i f i t ' s revenge you want. Then you w i l l forget a l l t h i s , forget i t ever happened." ( 3 6 3 ) In e f f e c t , Ike counsels the young woman to adopt the same course he himself has followed, escape. Her withering reply i s a f i t t i n g comment upon his suggestion: "Old man . . . have you l i v e d so long and forgotten so much that you dont remember anything you ever knew or f e l t or even heard about love?" ( 3 6 3 ) . Ike's ultimate f a i l u r e has been inherent i n h i s l i m i t e d success i n renouncing h i s e v i l inheritance; his f l i g h t from r e s p o n s i b i l i t y i n - volves a r e f u s a l to face e i t h e r the r e a l i t y he views or the r e a l i t y of h i s own soul. Isaac McCaslin exemplifies the bankruptcy of the p o l i c y of non-involvement. The by- stander i s i n e x t r i c a b l y bound up i n the events he views. A l l the works discussed thus f a r i n t h i s chapter, The Unvanquished, Go Down, Moses, and the .three short s t o r i e s , describe children attempting to come to terms with t h e i r t r a d i t i o n s . Seen through the eyes of innocence, t h e i r Southern heritages often appear e i t h e r ludicrous or malevolent. Bayard S a r t o r i s , "Sarty" Snopes, and Isaac McCaslin are a l l incapable, to one degree or 196. another, of accepting the s o c i a l structures they discover simultaneously with the reader. In several of his other works, however, Faulkner played i n t e r e s t i n g v a r i a t i o n s on t h i s , one of his f a - vourite themes, the innocent c h i l d as bystander. In two i r o n i c short s t o r i e s , "That Evening Sun" and "That W i l l Be Fine," the corruption which the ignorant (but hardly innocent) children view i s matched by the e v i l of the viewers themselves. In The Reivers, a more sentimental mood p r e v a i l s and the innocence of the witnessing c h i l d a l t e r s , to some extent, the nature of the flawed r e a l i t y he refuses to accept. Marvin Fisher, i n "The World of Faulkner's Children," says that "children constitute a convenient embodiment of innocence and pri m i t i v e s i m p l i c i t y , values which are i n very d i r e c t contrast to the dis t o r t e d values of the more knowing person or to the s e l f - d e s t r u c t i v e values of the displaced i n d i v i d u a l who can f i t into n e i t h er a p r i m i t i v e nor a ' c i v i l i z e d ' s o c i e t y . " 1 1 This may be a legitimate de s c r i p t i o n of The Unvanquished or "Uncle W i l l y , " but i t hardly applies to ei t h e r "That Evening Sun" or "That W i l l 3e Fine," s t o r i e s i n which the corruption of adult society i s p a r a l l e l e d by a corruption already present in the youthful witnesses. 19? In "That Evening Sun," the Compson children watch unfeelingly the torment suffered hy Nancy, t h e i r Negro servant, as she waits f o r Jesus, her husband, to return and execute h i s revenge upon her f o r her repeated i n f i d e l i t y . They do not understand the nature of her fear, hut one f e e l s that, even i f they did, they would hardly be concerned about her. They are completely ab- sorbed by t h e i r own s e l f i s h concerns and s i b l i n g r i v a l - r i e s . I t i s true that the adult society of "That Evening Sun" i s portrayed as equally unfeeling and s e l - f i s h . Nancy confronts the h y p o c r i t i c a l Mr. S t o v a l l with a demand of payment f o r her services and receives i n reply brutal physical abuse: they were taking her to j a i l and they passed Mr. S t o v a l l . He was the cashier i n the bank and a deacon i n the Baptist church, and Nancy began to say. "When you going to pay me, white man? When you going to pay me, white man? I t ' s been three times now since you paid me a cent — ". Mr. S t o v a l l knocked her down, but she kept on saying, "When you going to pay me, white man? It ' s been three times now since--" u n t i l Mr. S t o v a l l kicked her i n the mouth with his h e e l . 1 2 When Nancy t r i e s to commit suicide by hanging he r s e l f i n her j a i l c e l l , the j a i l e r who cuts her down and whips her i s of the opinion that " i t was cocaine and not whiskey, because no nigger would t r y to commit suicide unless he 198. was f u l l of cocaine" (291). He apparently f a i l s to i n t e r - pret the signs of pregnancy, "her b e l l y already swelling out a l i t t l e , l i k e a balloon" (292) as j u s t i f i a b l e cause f o r her desperation. Again Nancy's fears meet with l i t t l e sympathy from Mrs. Compson, her employer, who complains to her husband, "You'll leave me alone, to take Nancy home? . . . Is her safety more precious to you than mine?" (293) The white society which uses Nancy e i t h e r as a servant or as a p r o s t i t u t e exhibits l i t t l e concern f o r her welfare. I t i s , therefore, not s u r p r i s i n g that the Compson chi l d r e n should r e f l e c t the callousness of t h e i r elders when Nancy appeals to them f o r help. Nancy c a l l s them " l i t t l e d e v i l s " (291) when they throw stones at her house to awaken her. When Mrs. Compson expresses the fear that the c h i l d r e n might f a l l into the hands of Nancy's husband, Mr. Compson asks her: "What would he do with them, i f he were unfortunate enough to have them?" (294) I t i s obvious that the adults have no i l l u s i o n about the 'inno- cence* of the Compson ch i l d r e n . Quentin alone of the three children exhibits any perception and sympathy, but he i s more disembodied narrative voice than actual character in the story. He seldom takes part i n the discussion or arguments of Jason 199 and Caddyi his role i s , rather, that of observer. For example, as he watches Nancy t e l l i n g them a story, he i s aware of her preoccupation with something elset She talked l i k e her eyes looked, l i k e her eyes watching us and her voice talking to us did not belong to her. Like she was l i v i n g somewhere else, waiting somewhere else, waiting some- where else. She was outside the oabin. Her voice was inside and the shape of her, the Nancy that could stoop under a barbed wire fence with -a bundle of clothes on her head as though without weight, li k e a balloon, was there. (302) The perception involves considerable sensitivity, and Quentin, though limited by his childish intelligence, frequently i s aware of something wrong.; ....... Caddy and Jason, however, are so self-engrossed and insensitive to other's feelings that they are incapa- ble of sensing Nancy's terror. Jason particularly i s an objectionable l i t t l e monster who shows every sign of growing into the Jason of The Sound- and the Fury, As Nancy frets about the return of Jesus, her ̂ husband, Jason continually interrupts! . .̂ "How do you know he's back?" Dilsey said. "You ain't seen him." "Jesus is a nigger," Jason said. "I can f e e l him," Nancy said. "I can f e e l him laying yonder in the ditch." "Tonight?" Dilsey said, "is he here tonight?" "Dilsey'8 a nigger too," Jason said• "You try to eat something," Dilsey said. "I dont want nothing," Nancy said. "I aint a nigger," Jason said. (297) 2 0 0 . Jason's insistence i s more maddening f o r being i r r e l e v a n t to the conversation of D i l s e y and Nancy. Throughout the l a s t h a l f of the story Jason alternates between hi s cus- tomary threat of " I ' l l t e l l " and attempts to win con- cessions of chocolate cake, popcorn, or other s p e c i a l f a - vours, while Caddy cont i n u a l l y taunts him f o r h i s fear of the dark. Caddy s i m i l a r l y attempts to blackmail Nancy with threats of departure f o r home: "We ought to go," Caddy s a i d . "Unless we have a l o t of fun" (303). As the story ends, they are s t i l l bickering: "I'm not a nigger," Jason said. . . . "You're worse," Caddy said, "you are a t a t t l e t a l e . I f something was to jump out, you'd be scairder than a nigger." "I wouldn't," Jason said. "You'd cry," Caddy said. "Caddy," father s a i d . "I wouldn't!" Jason said. "Scairy cat," Caddy said. "Candace!" father s a i d . (309) Nancy has been l e f t behind i n the cabin, and the children continue with the spats they have c a r r i e d on throughout the story. They have been interested i n Nancy only as f a r as she could entertain them, and they return home completely i n d i f f e r e n t to her f a t e . In many ways the Compson children are t y p i c a l i n t h e i r s e l f i s h n e s s and greed. But the boy who narrates "That W i l l Be Fine" i s a t r u l y f r i g h t e n i n g manifestation of c h i l d l i k e depravity. His only i n t e r e s t i n l i f e i s the 201. accruing of as much money as i t i s possible f o r him to acquire. Rosie, the black servant, comments upon his i n - ordinate greed: "You and money! I f you a i n ' t r i c h time you twenty-one, h i t w i l l be because the law done abolished 13 money or done abolished you." J For him Christmas i s simply a once a year opportunity f o r unlimited aggrand- izement. For instance, his motive f o r buying his grand- father a present i s completely s e l f i s h : I thought how maybe I could go on downtown when I got through working f o r Uncle Rodney and buy a present f o r Grandpa with a dime out of the ten quarters and give i t to him to- morrow and maybe, because nobody else had given him a present, Grandpa might give me a quarter too instead of a dime tomorrow, and that would be .twenty-one quarters, except f o r the dime, and that would be fine sure enough. (278) This type of f i n a n c i a l speculation and his general acumen e l i c i t s his Uncle Rodney's grudging respect: "3y God, some day you w i l l be as good a business man as I am" (280). Rodney's own master passion i s a l u s t every b i t as rampant as the boy's cu p i d i t y . The major irony of the story i s that Rodney's schemes are viewed through the eyes of an ignorant though scarcely innocent boy, a boy whose own form of corruption i s f u l l y a match f o r his ne'er-do-well uncle's. The boy's narrative, as a r e s u l t , 202. i s a strange mixture of his own corrupt i n t e r e s t s and a misunderstanding of his uncle's actions: a f t e r a while Uncle Rodney would prize open Grandpa's desk and take a dose of Grandpa*s tonic and maybe he would give me another quarter f o r helping him, l i k e he did l a s t Christmas, instead of just a n i c k e l , l i k e he would do l a s t summer while he was v i s i t i n g mamma and us and we were doing business with Hrs. Tucker. (266) Because the boy's knowledge of his uncle's a c t i v i t i e s i s even more extensive than his mother's and father's, t h e i r attempts to keep the scandal from him are f i n e l y i r o n i c : "and then mamma said Louisa! Louisa! Remember Georgie! and that was me, and papa cussed too, h o l l e r i n g How i n damnation do you expect to keep i t from him? By hiding the newspapers?" (272) Although Georgie*s understanding i s l i m i t e d by opportunity, one f e e l s sure that he and his uncle are well matched soul-mates. The boy's ignorance of the story's culminating events, his taking of the p i s - t o l shots that k i l l Rodney f o r f i r e c r a c k e r s , prevents him from r e a l i z i n g that his well-organized f i n a n c i a l structure i s f a l l i n g about his ears, but i t i s c l e a r at the end of the story, as the boy turns his attention to the capture of a possum, that Georgie's setback w i l l be only tempor- ary. For him the future " w i l l be f i n e . " I t would seem that, i n "That W i l l 3e Fine," 203. Faulkner set out to create an i r o n i c r e versal of the t r a d i t i o n a l t a l e of corruption seen through the innocent and uncomprehending eyes of a c h i l d . Georgie i s a pro- duct of the corruption he views, a c h i l d of h i s society; indeed, he seems almost an Uncle Rodney i n embryo. The Reivers, on the other hand, i s a return to Faulkner's more cu^t'orrv^.c^' use of the c h i l d narrator. Lucius P r i e s t , now an old man with grandchildren, relates the story of h i s boyhood pursuit of adventure with Boon Hogganbeck and Ned McCaslin as they "borrow" h i s father's car to drive to Memphis. The novel's opening l i n e i s : "Grandfather said," and the r e s t of the book i s dominated by t h i s sense of retrospect; i t s events are seen as through the wrong end of a telescope, removed and somehow l e s s f r i g h t e n i n g than they might otherwise be. A d u a l i t y of v i s i o n controls the narrative as the perceptions and emo- tion s of the young boy are f i l t e r e d through the conscious- ness of the old man that boy became. Indeed, the novel's s u b t i t l e , "A Reminiscence," suggests the tone that w i l l predominate. As Olga Vickery says, "the boy's innocence and the old man's wisdom serve to balance the wonder of discovery against the deeper note of mature r e f l e c t i o n i it and comprehension." Michael Millgate suggests that with t h i s d u a l i t y , "Faulkner manages to achieve both no s t a l g i c 204. retrospect and narrative immediacy." D This dual narrative voice, moreover, i s used to express a n o s t a l g i c g r i e f f o r the l o s t innocence, not only of Lucius the boy, but also of a c i v i l i z a t i o n as a whole. The s i m p l i c i t y of l i f e , the close (and often troubling) contact with nature, are now gone. For instance, Lucius as grandfather says of the modern era: there are no seasons at a l l any more, with i n t e r i o r s a r t i f i c i a l l y contrived at s i x t y degrees i n summer and ninety degrees i n winter, so that mossbacked r e c i d i v i s t s l i k e me must go outside i n summer to escape the cold and i n winter to escape the heat; including the auto- mobiles also which once were more economic n e c e s s i t i e s but are now s o c i a l ones, the moment already here when, i f a l l the human race ever stops moving at the same instant, the surface of the earth w i l l seize, s o l i d i f y : There are too many of us. 1" I t seems that the very obstacles which Lucius and his companions faced i n t h e i r journey to Memphis have now shrunk to i n s i g n i f i c a n c e ; he i s forced to t e l l his grand- children: "Hurricane Creek i s four miles from town; you have passed over i t so f a s t a l l your l i f e you probably dont even know i t s name. But people who crossed i t then knew i t " (68). For Lucius as grandfather, i t seems that the modern era has removed a l l the mysteries he found so awe-inspiring. Indeed, the novel as a whole can be regarded as 205. an old man's elegiac tr i b u t e to the sense of wonder and innocence of an e a r l i e r age. Nowhere i s t h i s wonder so evident as i n the reaction of everyone i n the novel to the advent of the motor-car. Lucius, Boon, Ned, even Mrs. P r i e s t h e r s e l f , a l l are excited by t h i s new machine. Now, however, the automobile, because of i t s commonness, no longer e l i c i t s such awe. The boy's innocence i s the innocence of an e a r l i e r day. The most important statement Faulkner makes about t h i s innocence i n The Reivers i s an affirmation of i t s power to a l t e r and form the r e a l i t y i t views. Through the eyes of the grandfather, we view t h i s innocence's l o s s ; through the eyes of the boy we see i t s power to transform. Lucius brings into a Memphis whorehouse his at t i t u d e s about l a d i e s and gentlemen, and the whores attempt to conform to h i s expectations. That Lucius' views are representative of a so- c i e t y as a whole i s made c l e a r i n the opening chapter of the novel, a chapter which seems to have no connection with the rest of the book. The story of Lucius* i n d i s - c r e t i o n with the de l i v e r y wagon and: Boon's decision to revenge himself f o r comments Lucius has made about him reveals a society which l i v e s by a number of unspoken but accepted standards. When Boon steals the gun of John 206. Powell, Mr. P r i e s t ' s blacksmith, he forces into the open the f a c t that John has been carrying the gun despite the stable's r u l e s , a fa c t known but ignored i n a d i s c r e e t manner by his employer. Boon makes the i m p l i c i t agreement e x p l i c i t , thus destroying i t : "John and Father looked at each other f o r about ten seconds while the whole e d i f i c e of entendre-de-noblesse collapsed into dust. Though the noblesse, the oblige, s t i l l remained" (9). This society of gentlemen has formed Lucius* p r i n c i p l e s . So when Lucius confronts Everbe, the f i r s t p r o s t i t u t e he has ever met, he of course t r e a t s her as a lady. Everbe*s i n i t i a l reaction i s to protect Lucius* tender s e n s i b i l i t i e s from the true r e a l i t y ; she chastizes Miss Reba f o r cursing i n front of the boy ( 136) , and she puts on as respectable an appearance as possibl e . But when Otis, Everbe's nephew, "the demon c h i l d who debased her privacy" (157) as Lucius c a l l s him, reveals to him the nature of Everbe's profession, Lucius must f i g h t him i n defense of a lady's good name. The r e s u l t of his defense, however, i s Everbe's decision to become the virtuous woman Lucius believes she i s . She t e l l s him: "You fought because of me. I've had people — drunks — f i g h t i n g over me, but you're the f i r s t one ever fought f o r me. I a i n t used to i t , you see. That's why I dont know what to do about i t . Except one thing. I can do that. I want to make you a promise. Back there in Arkansas i t was my f a u l t . But i t wont be my f a u l t any more." (160) 207. The preconceptions of the youthful bystander a l t e r the nature of the r e a l i t y he views. At the same time, however, Lucius' perceiving i n t e l l i g e n c e i s being changed by the experiences he i s forced to undergo. E a r l y i n the book, Lucius redefines the innocence of ch i l d r e n , i n effect., denying i t e x i s t s : When grown people speak of the innocence of children, they dont r e a l l y know what they mean. Pressed, they w i l l go a step f u r t h e r and say, Well, ignorance then. The c h i l d i s neither. There i s no crime which a boy of eleven has not envisaged long ago. His only innocence i s , he may not yet be old enough to desire the f r u i t s of i t , which i s not innocence but appetite; hi s ignorance i s , he does not know how to commit i t , which i s not ignorance but s i z e . (46) In the course of his t r a v e l s , Lucius acquires just the information he lacks, whether he i s ready f o r i t or not. A good example of such experience i s his f i r s t entry into the whorehouse: at once I smelled something; the whole house smelled that way. I had never smelled i t before. I didn't d i s l i k e i t ; I was just surprised. I mean, as soon as I smelled i t , i t was l i k e a smell I had been waiting a l l my l i f e to smell. (99) At times, Lucius protests the r a p i d i t y with which exper- ience i s being forced upon him; he says: "I was having to learn too much too f a s t , unassisted; I had nowhere to put i t , no receptacle, pigeonhole prepared yet to accept i t without pain and la c e r a t i o n s " (155). Suddenly, he 208. r e a l i z e s he i s unable to return homes "Because I couldn't now. I t was too l a t e . Maybe yesterday, while I was s t i l l a c h i l d , but not now. I knew too much, had seen too much. I was a c h i l d no longer now; innocence and childhood were forever l o s t , forever gone from me" (175)• Like the other youthful bystanders, part of Lucius' reaction to the experiences he witnesses i s an a l t e r a t i o n of h i s own perso n a l i t y , f o r the experiences of a c h i l d are themselves the process of maturation. Lucius does return to Jefferson, however, and he i s amazed to f i n d i t unchanged: 1 thought I t hasn't even changed. Because i t should have. I t should have been a l t e r e d , even i f only a l i t t l e . I dont mean i t should have changed of i t s e l f , but that I, bringing back to i t what the l a s t four days must have changed i n me, should have alt e r e d i t . I mean, i f those four days — the l y i n g and deceiving and t r i c k i n g and decisions and indecisions, and the things I had done and seen and heard and learned that Mother and Father wouldn't have l e t me do and see and hear and learn — the things that I had had to learn that I wasn't even ready f o r yet, had nowhere to store them nor even any- where to lay.them down; i f a l l that had changed nothing, was the same as i f i t had never been — nothing smaller or l a r g e r or older or wiser or more p i t y i n g -- then something had been wasted, thrown away, spent f o r nothing. (299-300) Lucius expects, i n return f o r h i s spent innocence, a 209. changed external r e a l i t y , b e l i e v i n g that a subjective change a l t e r s the object viewed. But the important changes he soon r e a l i z e s , are the changes i n r e l a t i o n - ships and within the i n d i v i d u a l himself. When he and h i s father face one another i n the c e l l a r i n the r i t u a l of punishment, they both r e a l i z e the dif f e r e n c e . So here we were at l a s t , where i t had taken me four days of dodging and scrabbling and scurrying to get to; and i t was wrong, and Father and I both knew i t . I mean, i f a f t e r a l l the l y i n g and deceiving and disobeying and conniving I had done, a l l he could do about i t was to whip me, then Father was not good enough f o r me. And i f a l l that I had done was balanced by no more than that shaving strap, then both of us were debased. (301) Lucius' new maturity, the r e s u l t of his transgressions, demands that his punishment be f i t t i n g a man, more, a gentleman. His punishment, according to his grandfather, i s an i n t e r n a l one; to bear the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y f o r his sins without the benefit of absolution. He must l i v e with hi s g u i l t , a fate more t e r r i b l e to Lucius than any shaving strap; he protests to his grandfather: "Live with i t ? You mean, forever? For the rest of my l i f e ? Not ever to get r i d of i t ? Never? I cant. Dont you see I cant?" "Yes you can," he said. "You w i l l . A gentleman accepts the r e s p o n s i b i l i t y of his actions and bears the burden of t h e i r consequences." (302) 210 Lucius learns the d i s t i n c t i o n between appearance and r e a l i t y , "that your outside i s just what you l i v e i n , sleep i n , and has l i t t l e connection with who you are and even l e s s with what you do" (30*O • The.'importance of the actions revealed i n The Reivers i s t h e i r impact upon the viewing consciousness of the youthful bystander. In The Unvanquished and Go Down, Moses,as well, Faulkner has f i l t e r e d the actions of h i s s t o r i e s through the inexperienced perceptions of the youthful bystander. The youth's perceptions help to define the events per- ceived, but the impact of those events upon the c h i l d ' s innocence modifies the youthful bystander himself. Bayard S a r t o r i s , Ike McCaslin, and Lucius P r i e s t develop as a r e s u l t of the events they perceive. In the short s t o r i e s discussed i n t h i s chapter, Faulkner attempted va r i a t i o n s upon t h i s t r a d i t i o n a l use of the youth as re- g i s t e r . Most important, the use of the young bystander emphasizes the re c i p r o c a t i n g e f f e c t of perception and experience upon one another. In subsequent chapters, we w i l l see how Faulkner uses the adult spectator i n a s i m i l a r fashion. 2 1 1 . Footnotes Backman, p. 180. 2 William Van O'Connor, The Tangled F i r e of William Faulkner (Minneapolis: University of Minnesota Press, 1 9 5 4 ) , p. 1 0 0 . 3 Brooks, p. 84. ^ William Faulkner, The Unvanquished (1938j r p t . New York: Random House, 1965)» p. 4. A l l subsequent references to t h i s e d i t i o n w i l l appear i n the text. Collected S t o r i e s , p. 680. A l l subsequent r e f e r - ences to t h i s e d i t i o n w i l l appear i n the text. ^ Collected S t o r i e s , p. 3» A H subsequent r e f e r - ences to t h i s e d i t i o n w i l l appear i n the text. 7 Collected S t o r i e s , p. 225. A l l subsequent r e f e r - ences to t h i s e d i t i o n w i l l appear i n the text. o James B. Meriwether, ed., Essays, Speeches and Public Letters of William Faulkner (New York: Random House, 1 9 6 5 ) , p. 6 6 . ^ Stanley Tick, "The Unity of Go Down. Moses," Twentieth Century L i t e r a t u r e , 8 (July 1962), 72. 1 0 Richard E. Fisher, "The Wilderness, the Commissary, and the Bedroom: Faulkner's Ike McCaslin as Hero i n a Vacuum," English Studies. 44 (February 1963), 26. 1 1 Marvin Fisher, "The World of Faulkner's Children," U n i v e r s i t y of Kansas C i t y Review, 27 (October i960), 14. 12 Collected S t o r i e s , p. 291. A l l subsequent r e f e r - ences to t h i s e d i t i o n w i l l appear i n the text. J Collected^ Stories, p. 265. A l l subsequent r e f e r - ences to t h i s e d i t i o n w i l l appear i n the text. l 2 f Vickery, p. 228. 1 5 M i l l g a t e , p. 256. 212. William Faulkner, The Reivers (New York: Random House, 1962), p. 193. A l l subsequent references to t h i s e d i t i o n w i l l appear i n the text. CHAPTER FIVE SANCTUARY* BLUEPRINT FOR GAVIN STEVENS In the previous chapter I showed how Faulkner uses the perceiving i n t e l l i g e n c e of the youth as bystander to comment upon the experiences which occur around him. In most cases considered, the innocence and naivete of the youthful witness help to define the corruption or i n - adequacies of the society or t r a d i t i o n with which the youth must come to terms. Just as frequently, Faulkner uses the figu r e of the naive i n t e l l e c t u a l as bystander to achieve the same e f f e c t s . Inexperienced i n epiteotff h i s years, t h i s type i s p a r t i c u l a r l y c h i l d - l i k e i n h i s reactions to the actions of more worldly protagonists. The best example of the innocent i n t e l l e c t u a l i n Faulkner's f i c t i o n i s , of course, Gavin Stevensj in subsequent chap- t e r s I w i l l examine c l o s e l y h i s development as a character and as a l i t e r a r y device. E a r l i e r i n h i s l i t e r a r y career, however, Faulkner used a character who seems, i n many ways, to be the prototype f o r Gavin Stevens. This i s Horace Benbow, the lawyer i n Sanctuary. Like Stevens, he i s middle- aged, inexperienced i n the e v i l of l i f e , t a l k a t i v e , i n - e f f e c t u a l , well-educated, and frightened of women. Cleanth Brooks says of him, Horace i s the man of academic mind, who f i n d s out that the world i s not a place of j u s t i c e and moral t i d i n e s s . He 214. discovers, with increasing horror, that e v i l i s rooted in the very nature of things. Horace represents a type that appears often i n Faulkner's work, not only i n the e a r l y novels, but again prominently i n h i s l a s t novels. He i s an " i n t e l l e c t u a l . " He has a great ca- pac i t y f o r b e l i e f i n ideas and a great confidence i n the e f f i c a c y of reason. 1 Michael Mil l g a t e r e f e r s to him as "the i n t e l l e c t u a l of generous impulses but inadequate courage or w i l l to a c t i o n , tending always to d i s s i p a t e h i s energies i n t a l k . " Like Quentin i n The Sound and the Fury, l i k e Oarl Bundren i n As I Lay Dying, Horace Benbow i s the s e n s i t i v e , percep- t i v e observer whose moral and i n t e l l e c t u a l reserves prove inadequate i n the face of l i f e as he i s f i n a l l y forced to see i t . In Sanctuary, Horace reacts to the events which comprise the story of Temple Drake. Indeed, the novel seems more about Horace's reactions than about Temple's experience. The f i r s t three chapters discuss Horace's experience without mentioning Temple Drake, and f u l l y one h a l f of the novel renders the action from Horace's point of view. Indeed, Michael Millgate has shown that, i n the o r i g i n a l d r a f t , Horace's material bulked even l a r g e r . C l e a r l y , Faulkner wished the novel to t e l l the story of Temple Drake, but h i s i n t e r e s t i n the bystander's SO r e l a t i o n s h i p to that story was extensive :. that i t 215. almost turned Sanctuary into a novel about Horace Benbow. In the novel as published, Horace r e c o i l s from the e v i l manifested i n Temple's story, an e v i l to which Temple h e r s e l f accommodates h e r s e l f with r e l a t i v e ease, but Horace's perceptions have to do with more than Temple Drake alone. Throughout the novel, i t i s h i s fate to con- fro n t one woman a f t e r another and to be repeatedly d i s - i l l u s i o n e d by each i n turn. Horace seems to have imbibed the theories of feminine p u r i t y and innocence which stem from the romance t r a d i t i o n s of c o u r t l y love and, more p a r t i c u l a r l y , the id e a l s of "white Southern womanhood." But each woman i n the novel; reveals h e r s e l f to him as f a l l i b l e and human, and the knowledge causes him grave psychic damage. His wife B e l l e , h i s stepdaughter L i t t l e B e l l e , Temple Drake, h i s s i s t e r Narcissa, Ruby Goodwin, a l l shatter h i s i l l u s i o n s . I t seems to him as though "femininity were a current running through a wire along which a c e r t a i n number of i d e n t i c a l bulbs were hung." I t i s c l e a r that Faulkner intends Horace's d i s i l l u s i o n - ment to represent a r e a l i z a t i o n of e v i l i n general, but the p a r t i c u l a r form i n which e v i l appears most damaging to h i s character i s female. When the novel opens, Horace has l e f t h i s wife i n an attempt to escape the female, but i t i s hi s fate to be cont i n u a l l y embroiled with women. 216 When he assures Miss Jenny that " I t wasn't Narcissa I was running to. I haven't q u i t one woman to run to the s k i r t s of another," Jenny r e p l i e s , " I f you keep on t e l l i n g yourself that you may believe i t , someday" (103) F l e e i n g Belle and L i t t l e B e l l e , he becomes d i s a s t r o u s l y involved with Narcissa S a r t o r i s , Temple Drake, and Ruby Goodwin. Faulkner repeatedly characterizes Horace as incapable of dealing not only with women but also with l i f e . Horace i s well acquainted with l i t e r a t u r e but rather l e s s with l i f e . Instead of the gun which Popeye c a r r i e s i n h i s pocket, Horace c a r r i e s a book, and he ha- b i t u a l l y defines h i s experience i n l i t e r a r y termsj f o r instance, when Popeye crowds close to him, Horace thinks "he smells l i k e that black s t u f f that ran out of Bovary' mouth and down upon her b r i d a l v e i l when they raised her head" (7). Faulkner describes Horace's voice as that of "a man given to much t a l k and not much else " (13). He admits he cannot drive an automobile, saying "Sometimes, when I think of a l l the time I have spent not learni n g to do things " (118). The " f i l l e d but unlighted cob pipe i n his hand" (168) i s a symbol of his habitual f a i l u r e to act (just as i t i s with Gavin Stevens). Horace complains about the experience he i s forced to 217 witness i "I am too old f o r t h i s . I was born too old f o r i t , and I am si c k to death f o r quiet" (253). He asserts to Ruby Goodwin* "I lack courage* that was l e f t out of me. The machinery i s a l l here, but i t wont, run" (16) . The courage Horace speaks of i s not the courage to face danger or to f i g h t f o r what he be- l i e v e s i s r i g h t . I t i s rather the courage to endure an e v i l , squalid existence which does not conform to h i s v i s i o n of i d e a l i t y . I t i s t h i s type of existence which, when the novel opens, he i s f l e e i n g . When Ruby asks him why he has l e f t h is wife, he r e p l i e s * "Because she ate shrimp . • ... I couldn't -- You see, i t was Friday, and I thought how at noon I'd go to the 8tation and get the box of shrimp o f f the t r a i n and walk home with i t , counting a hundred steps and changing hands with i t . . . . . I have done i t f o r ten years, since we were married. And I s t i l l don't l i k e to smell shrimp. But I wouldn't mind the carryi n g i t home so much. I could stand that. I t ' s because the package d r i p s . A l l the way home i t drips and dr i p s , u n t i l a f t e r a while I follow myself to the st a t i o n and stand aside and watch Horace Benbow take that box o f f the t r a i n and s t a r t home with i t , changing hands every hundred steps, and I following him, thinking here l i e s Horace Benbow i n a fading se r i e s of small s t i n k i n g spots on a M i s s i s s i p p i sidewalk." (17) Horace measures out h i s l i f e i n dripping shrimp boxes, 218. and i t i s p a r t l y t h i s l i f e of quiet desperation he f l e e s from when he abandons Belle i n Kinston and returns to his family home i n Jefferson. He wants to f i n d a h i l l "to l i e on f o r a while" (15) where, l i k e a hermit or anchor- i t e , he can dis s o c i a t e himself from the lush f l a t l a n d s of the Delta which he characterizes as feminine. For Horace f l e e s more than boredom and ennuij he f l e e s from h i s perception of the d u p l i c i t y and e v i l l u r k i n g behind the innocent e x t e r i o r of h i s stepdaughter B e l l e , whose moral education he attempts to wrest from hi s wife's more experienced tutelage. The incident which haunts him i s a f i g h t he has had with L i t t l e Belle about what men she dates. Belle attempts to placate himt "Then she was saying 'No! No!* and me holding her and she c l i n g i n g to me. *I didn't mean that! Horace! Horace!• And I was smelling the s l a i n flowers, the d e l i c a t e dead flowers and tears, and then I saw her face i n the mirror. There was a mirror behind her and another behind me, and she was watching h e r s e l f i n the one behind me f o r g e t t i n g about the other one i n which I could see her face, see her watching the back of my head with pure dissimulation." (14 - 15) Horace f l e e s t h i s v i s i o n , not wanting to believe i n the corruption of youth and femininity, but he encounters even worse i n his contemplation of the story of Temple Drake, and he i s forced into the r e a l i z a t i o n that women, and by extension L i t t l e B e l l e , are e v i l . S i t t i n g i n his 219. h o t e l room i n Jefferson, Horace looks at a snapshot of h i s stepdaughter and sees "a face suddenly older i n s i n than he would ever be" (163). He now r e a l i z e s the truth of human nature, and his reaction to i t i s horror. When Horace returns to Kinston and h i s wife, he i s a defeated and d i s i l l u s i o n e d man. Nothing has changed at home except Horace's perception. His wife's f i r s t words to him as he enters arei "Did you lock the back door?" (292) and her constant r e i t e r a t i o n of t h i s question punctuates h i s questions about L i t t l e B e l l e , r e v e a l i n g how completely he has re-entered the world of r i t u a l he f l e d at the beginning. His phone c a l l to L i t t l e Belle at a house party s i m i l a r l y reveals to him how l i t t l e things have changedt Over the t h i n wire came a s c u f f l i n g soundi he could hear L i t t l e Belle breathe. Then a voice s a i d , a masculine voice 1 "Hello, Horace; I want you to meet a " "Hush!" L i t t l e Belle's voice said, t h i n and f a i n t ; again Horace heard them s c u f f l i n g ; a breathless i n t e r v a l . "Stop i t ! " L i t t l e B elle's voice s a i d . " I t ' s Horace: I l i v e with him!" Horace held the rec e i v e r to his ear. L i t t l e Belle's voice was breathless, c o n t r o l l e d , cool, d i s c r e e t , detached. "Hello, Horace. Is Mamma a l l r i g h t ? " (293) Following the story of Temple's r e l a t i o n s h i p with Popeye and Red, rthis episode provides an i r o n i c p a r a l l e l which reveals Horace as the impotent and i n e f f e c t u a l "Daddy" who i s not a father. For Horace i t i s evidence of Belle's 220. continuing d u p l i c i t y and callousness, c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s which appear more obvious to him because of the exper- iences he has just endured during the t r i a l of Lee Goodwin. In the same way, Horace*s reactions to Temple Drake*s story are l a r g e l y determined by the p a r a l l e l s he draws between L i t t l e Belle and Temple, They are both young women i n danger of being exposed to corruption, he f e e l s . His i n i t i a l comment when he learns about Gowan Stevens abandoning Temple at the Old Frenchman's Place while drunk on bootleg l i q u o r i s "I'm going to have a law passed making i t obligatory upon everyone to shoot any man les s than f i f t y years old that makes, buys, s e l l s or thinks whiskey . . . scoundrel I can face, but to think of her being exposed to any f o o l . . . 7 (162). The feminine pronoun i s ambiguousj Horace i s discussing Temple's experience, but he seems to be t a l k i n g about h i s worries over B e l l e . Miss Jenny's comment makes i t c l e a r that Horace i s thinking of his stepdaughtert " I ' l l declare, a male parent i s a funny thing, but just l e t a man have a hand i n the a f f a i r s of a female that's no kin to him . . ." (161). This i d e n t i f i c a t i o n of the two young women i n Horace's mind helps to explain why his reaction to Temple's experience i s so vi o l e n t and emotional. The culmination of t h i s theme of i d e n t i f i c a t i o n 221. comes a f t e r Horace has learned about Popeye (s bizarre rape of Temple. As he stands i n h i s hotel room looking at the photograph of L i t t l e B e l l e , he smells the scent of honeysuckle! Almost palpable enough to be seen, the scent f i l l e d the room and the small face seemed to swoon i n a voluptuous languor, b l u r r i n g s t i l l more, fading, leaving upon h i s eye a s o f t and fading a f t e r - math of i n v i t a t i o n and voluptuous promise, and secret af f i r m a t i o n l i k e the scent i t s e l f . Then he knew what that sensation i n h i s stomach meant. He put the photograph down hur r i e d l y and went to the bathroom. He opened the door running and fumbled at the l i g h t . But he had not time to f i n d i t and he gave over and plunged forward and struck the lavatory and leaned upon his braced arms while the shucks set up a t e r r i f i c uproar beneath her thighs. Lying with her head l i f t e d s l i g h t l y , her chin depressed l i k e a fig u r e l i f t e d down from a c r u c i f i x , she watched something black and furious go roaring out of her pale body. She was bound naked on her back on a f l a t car moving at speed through a black tunnel, the blackness streaming i n r i g i d threads overhead, a roar of iron wheels i n her ears. The car shot bodily from the tunnel i n a long upward sla n t , the darkness overhead now shredded with p a r a l l e l attenuations of l i v i n g f i r e , toward a crescendo l i k e a held breath, an i n t e r v a l i n which she would swing f a i n t l y and l a z i l y i n nothingness f i l l e d with pale, myriad points of l i g h t . Far beneath she could hear the f a i n t , furious uproar of the shucks. (215 - 216) In t h i s remarkable passage, both L i t t l e Belle and Temple Drake become i d e n t i f i e d i n Horace's mind not only with one another but also with himself. He experiences 222. v i c a r i o u s l y the rape on the bed of corn shucks where Temple cowered i n fear, and the young, t e r r i f i e d g i r l becomes confused as well with the photograph of L i t t l e Belle propped on his dresser. Like Quentin and Shreve i n Absalom, Absalom! or the Reporter i n Pylon, t h i s bystander also achieves an emotional and imaginative i d e n t i f i c a t i o n with the p a r t i c i p a n t s he observes. This p a r t i c u l a r fusion i s made e s p e c i a l l y remarkable, however, i n that the union comprises people of opposite sexes. As a r e - s u l t , the nightmare images combine feminine images with the g i r l strapped on her back on the f l a t car and mascu- l i n e images with the f l a t car moving i n "a long upward s l a n t " and penetrating a dark tunnel. Horace*s i d e n t i f i - c a t ion with both young women expresses b e a u t i f u l l y his sympathy f o r Temple's predicament, but i t also reveals the e s s e n t i a l l y passive, "feminine" nature of h i s per- s o n a l i t y . The sexual climax described i n the "crescendo l i k e a held breath" i s f o r Horace associated with c r u c i - f i x i o n and sickness as he retches into the t o i l e t . De- s i r i n g , as bystander, to remain above l i f e , "on a h i l l , " Horace nevertheless i s forced to confront i t s horror imaginatively through h i s i d e n t i f i c a t i o n with Temple and B e l l e . Horace f e e l s strongly that even to witness e v i l 223. involves the bystander i n corruption, and hi s f l i g h t i n the novel i s from the necessity to watch and thereby p a r t i c i p a t e i n e v i l . He says to Miss Jenny, "Dammit, say what you want to, but there's a corr