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William Faulkner Essay

2436 words - 10 pages

The Tall-Tall Tale of William Faulkner

Gavin D. Respress
ENG 1102

Troy University

The Tall-Tall Tale of William Faulkner

The brilliant author William Faulkner stood only five feet, six inches tall, but he is enormous in size in relations to American literature. Faulkner was a prominent writer from the state of Mississippi, who became a Nobel Prize winning novelist and an excellent short story writer who is admired worldwide as one of the best writers of the twentieth century. He is giving credit for transforming the deep-south region of Mississippi in to a fictional setting, where he explained, tested and explored “the old verities and truths of the heart.” In less than a ...view middle of the document...

William started drawing and writing poetry at a very early age, but around the age of twelve he began to get extremely bored with academics. Some of his initial literary were romantic, which was carefully demonstrated on English poets Thomson, Housman, Burns and Swinburne. At a young age, William also met two individuals who ended up playing a significant role throughout his life: his childhood sweetheart (Estelle Oldham) and Phil Stone, who mentored him with literature. He also had an African American nanny, he called “mammy”, who raised him from birth, which he adored and a left positive impressions on him. In fact, he gives her recognition for his passion with the politics of sexuality and race.
Although, William performed extremely well in school, his boredom caused him to quit without earning a high school diploma. Immediately after dropping out of school, he worked as carpentry and on occasions worked as a clerk in his grandfather’s bank. Faulkner later tried to join the U.S Army Air Force, but was rejected due to his short statue. However, he was accepted in the British Armed Forces-Royal Air Force (RAF) by lying about his birthdate and location of birth and faked an accent in order to pass himself off as British. This is also when he changed his birth name from Falkner to Faulkner, thinking it looked more like a British name. Faulkner never served in a war, but led people from Oxford, Mississippi to believe he did. In fact, he purchased an officer’s dress uniform with a pair of wings for his breast pocket indicating he flew solo. Faulkner was not shy about embellishing war combat stories to his family and friends, as he told fake stories of his adventures and injuries, stating a silver plate in his head left him constant pain. However, his brief timing in the RAF did provide him with material for his fiction writings, particularly his first published novel, Soldiers’ Pay, written in 1926.
Although, William did not complete high school, he enrolled in the University of Mississippi in Oxford due to a special program catering to war veterans. While at the University of Mississippi, he had his first poem L’Apres-Midi d’un Faune” published in The New Republic. Also, as a student he drew artwork for the university’s yearbook and had many of his short stories and poems published in the school’s newspaper. In the fall semester of 1920, Faulkner wrote a play titled The Marionettes for a dramatic club he helped found on campus. Although, he was very active in campus activities, William dropped of school in November 1920. In the next several years, Faulkner went on to write poems, reviews and text pieces for the local newspaper. Stark Young, a novelist in Oxford, influenced William to take a job in New York City as a manager of a bookstore. During this brief time, he also served as a postmaster of a post office and a scoutmaster for a local troop.
In 1924, Phil Stone endorsed a series of Faulkner’s poetry, The Marble Faun, to a...

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