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William Faulkner Writing Style Essay

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Faulkner's Short Stories
William Faulkner

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Table of Contents

Introduction to Yoknapatawpha County (

Summary and Analysis: "A Rose for Emily" (

Introduction (

 All

Faulkner's Chronology (

Section I (

Section II (

Section III (


Section IV (

Section V (

The Narrator's Point of View (

Glossary (

Summary and Analysis: "That Evening Sun" (

Introduction (

Section I (

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What is
important to remember is that Faulkner always has a purpose in choosing which different stylistic
technique to use at which point in his stories: The narrative devices mirror the psychological
complexity of the short stories' characters and settings.
One of the most effective ways Faulkner establishes depth of character and scene is by using long
lists of descriptions. Oftentimes, a description of an object will be followed by a description of a
character: In this way, the object and character, because they have been similarly described, take
on the appearance of each other. For example, at the beginning of "A Rose for Emily," Faulkner

on the appearance of each other. For example, at the beginning of "A Rose for Emily," Faulkner
describes the Grierson house: "It was a big, squarish frame house that had once been white,
decorated with cupolas and spires and scrolled balconies in the heavily lightsome style of the
seventies, set on what had once been our most select street." Following this, Faulkner then
characterizes Miss Emily, and the "heavily lightsome" style of the house parallels her physical
appearance: Her skeleton is "small and spare" — "lightsome" — yet, because of her slight figure,
"what would have been merely plumpness in another was obesity in her" — "heavily lightsome."
The woman and the house she lived in her entire life are inseparable. Both are now dead — she
literally, the house figuratively — but even in their deaths they are described as physically similar:
The house is "filled with dust and shadows," and she dies with "her gray head propped on a pillow
yellow and moldy with age and lack of sunlight." Stylistically, the "yellow and moldy with age and
lack of sunlight" describes the house, the pillow, and Miss Emily, all ancient relics of a time long
Another example of Faulkner's using extended descriptions is in "That Evening Sun," in which the
first two paragraphs describe the town of Jefferson in the present and in the past. The first
paragraph, one long sentence, portrays the town's present condition: The streets are paved, there
is electricity, and black women still wash white people's laundry, but now they transport
themselves and the laundry in automobiles. The second paragraph, like the first, is one complete
sentence, but it portrays Jefferson's past: The shade trees, which in the present have been cut
down to make room for electrical poles, still stand, and the black women who wash for white
people carry the laundry in bundles on their heads, not in automobiles. By juxtaposing these two
paragraphs, with their lengthy descriptions of Jefferson, Faulkner establishes one of the major
themes found throughout all of his short stories, the difference between the present and the past,
and how that difference affects people in dissimilar ways. We are reminded of section V in "A
Rose for Emily," in which that section's second paragraph, composed of a short...

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