Date of Award
Master of Arts
Since their initial publications, the major works of William Faulkner have provoked wildly divergent interpretations. In contemporary Faulkner scholarship, critics often use feminist, racial, psychoanalytic and other post-structural frameworks to interpret As I Lay Dying (1930), The Sound and the Fury (1929), and Absalom, Absalom! (1937). In this thesis, I employ a philosophical framework often mentioned in passing by Faulkner critics but one which has not yet been consistently applied to his aforementioned works: that of the absurd, as articulated by Albert Camus in The Myth of Sisyphus (1942). The pairing of Camus and Faulkner is justified because each is concerned with the development of the individual as a function of reactions to uncontrollable external forces: Camus represents the movement from innocence, to despair, to transcendence by tracing a hypothetical person's progression, while Faulkner does so by artistic implication. Ultimately, interpreting Faulkner in this context provides both an existential framework for understanding his most tragic characters, and a rationale for Faulkner's notoriously fragmented structures and intense representations of subjectivities.
Weston, Stuart, "Finding Camus's absurd in Faulkner's As I Lay Dying, The Sound and the Fury, and Absalom, Absalom!" (2009). Graduate Theses and Dissertations. 10628.