Thursday, 29 September 2011

william faulkner's go down, moses

For Ms. Rosemary Graham's class, we were to read William Faulkner's Go Down, Moses. It was (finally) over and she asked us to explain why the novel ends with Delta Autumn and Go Down, Moses, and why Faulkner insisted that it should be a novel and not a collection of short stories.

Here's my thought.


To me, finishing this novel is like losing a chatty good friend: it’s relieving once you get to the end, but you’ll still miss your good friend. There is a noticeable transition of the tone and style of writing as we get to the end of Go Down, Moses.

What starts as a harsh, raw, cowboy adventure-like story, changes to deep and spiritual (in both the stereotypical African-American world as evident in Pantaloon in Black and the stereotypical Native American world in The Old People), and finally concludes in a mature, poignant, polished, sweet, and dare I say, feminine fashion.

Delta Autumn serves as the much-needed closure of the relationship among McCaslin (represented by Isaac), Edmonds (represented by Carothers), and Beauchamp (represented by the unnamed woman who bears the child of Roth Edmonds) as well as a warning (that seems to go unheeded) of overhunting and deforestation. Go Down, Moses explores the demise of Samuel Worsham Beauchamp and captures the sadness, almost like a curse, of the Beauchamps. It begins in a funny, rather comical way with Tennie Beauchamp and “Tomey’s Turl” (Was), then it becomes grim, though still somewhat sweet, with Lucas and Mollie Beauchamp (The Fire and the Hearth), finally it ends with Samuel’s death (Go Down, Moses). This sadness even transpires to Rider and Mannie (Pantaloon in Black), two people unrelated to the Beauchamps except for the fact that they live in Lucas’s cabin.

Nevertheless, no matter how much the tones change, there is always the familiarity in the sentences (the last sentence of the first chapter and the last sentence of the last chapter sound suspiciously the same). Indeed, it is the last two chapters that will make me forever miss Go Down, Moses. Then again, I can always reread it to remember the passion – and confusion – of William Faulkner.


I had to say that it was quite a challenge to read Faulkner because the campus book store was out of it so I had to purchase the Kindle version of it, and I couldn't make notes or read it on the bus or on the train (I don't have Kindle, so I download it to my laptop).

No comments:

Post a Comment