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William Faulkner and Southern History$
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Joel Williamson

Print publication date: 1996

Print ISBN-13: 9780195101294

Published to Oxford Scholarship Online: October 2011

DOI: 10.1093/acprof:oso/9780195101294.001.0001

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(p.399) Eleven Community
William Faulkner and Southern History

Joel Williamson

Oxford University Press

In the Faulknerian universe, there is no problem with community in nature. Difficulties develop as man moves out of nature, as he seeks to dominate and destroy the natural order. In Yoknapatawpha, it began with the Indians who imagined wrongly that they owned the land and sold it to the white men. Then the white men divided all the land neatly into squares, which they proceeded to sell and buy among themselves as if they really owned those fragments of earth. In the modern world, the prime mover in the process was the industrial revolution and its technological, commercial, and financial concomitants. Faulkner's stories are replete with trees and forests that tore them violently away. Again and again, he traced the story of — as he so eloquently called it — “the slain wood.” His characters suffered the fate of the wood. Cut away from their roots, torn and shaped by machines, they met the plight of life in the modern world.

Keywords:   Faulknerian universe, slain wood, Yoknapatawpha, Indians, trees, forests, industrial revolution

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