By Cleanth Brooks
It kind of feels applicable, if no longer inevitable, that one among our greatest critics will be the most important authority on certainly one of our greatest novelists. Cleanth Brooks, the writer of 3 seminal reviews of William Faulkner, was once a major scholar of that grasp craftsman's fiction for greater than 4 many years. during this assortment, Brooks considers a few of the vital features of Faulkner's paintings. He focuses extra particularly than he has long ago on yes questions and in a few circumstances deals rebuttals to what he considers unfair tests of Faulkner. those essays are classic Brooks. The prose is, as regularly, felicitous, the way modest and profitable, the concept pertinent and rigorous. regardless of the thematic range of the essays, the emphasis is eventually an analogous: analyzing and rereading the novels of William Faulkner is a constant excitement and an everlasting problem.
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The upshot is that the congregation made up a sum to send the wife to a sanatorium. " All very human, but basically kindly. The congregation feels sympathetic toward its pastor and even toward his wife when she returns from the sanatorium to make a new start. Once again, however, the minister's wife stops coming to church, and finally there is a shocking scandal. She jumps or falls from a window of a Memphis hotel where she and another man had been registered as husband and wife. " When he does so, "the ladies got up first and began to leave.
Since such a writer knows what community is, his notion of what its loss means is also clear. Alienation is not for him some vague malaise, a restlessness and general sense of emptiness. He also probably has a real understanding of the forces that erode the fact of community. Moreover, in presenting to his readers the anguish of his alienated characters, he has one great natural advantage: he can silhouette his alienated characters against the background of a community in being, with all the benefits of contrast and clear definition which such a background affords.
Do we simply 32 FAULKNER AND THE COMMUNITY have to take Mr. Brooks's word for it? Does it ever clearly surface in Faulkner's work? Yes, it does. Let me offer a few obvious instances. " Throughout the story he uses phrases such as "Our whole town went to her funeral"; "We had long thought"; "We were not pleased exactly, but vindicated"; "We did not say that she was crazy then. " I could continue, but surely it is evident that the man who tells the story of Miss Emily is consciously speaking for the community, and his story is finally about what Miss Emily's life and death meant to the community.