Absalom, Absalom! Themes

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The American South

In Absalom, Absalom!, Faulkner openly criticizes the ethical and moral practices of the American South. The story of Sutpen is analogous to the story of the South, and Faulkner suggests that they ultimately fail for the same reasons. By building its success and comfort on the enslavement of another race, the South is doomed to fail because an immoral design is not sustainable. Both Sutpen and the South believe that it is possible to set aside morality at times to pursue a larger social goal. Rosa comments to Quentin that the South was doomed to lose the war because it was led by men like Sutpen, whom she perceives as dishonest, cruel, and manipulative. She remarks in chapter one:

Oh he was brave. I have never gainsaid that. But that
our cause, our very life and future hopes and past
pride, would have been thrown into...

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This section contains 923 words
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Buy the Absalom, Absalom! Study Guide
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