|Faulkner Summer Short Stories study||Waterstones Piccadilly||Two-hour session||June 18th & 19th||6:30-8:30|
WILLIAM FAULKNER Short Stories
William Faulkner, Nobel Prize in Literature Winner, is best known for his novels set in a rural Mississippi community which he named Yoknapatawpha. Faulkner’s extraordinarily rich and deep narrative covers a society both rich and poor, white and black, old and young, good and bad and almost everything in between, raising issues such as racism, injustice, ignorance, bigotry, sex, death, trauma, violence and madness to mention just a few.
He is also celebrated for his innovative form and style of writing, his breaking down of chronological time, his unique way of expressing the consciousness and emotions of his characters. He is a writer who can endlessly be re-read and always reveal some new detail or subtle observation. Faulkner is sometimes difficult but never boring.
Faulkner is also the author of over 40 short stories that capture the complex psychological and emotional world of his characters. If you are new to Faulkner, this is a good way into his world and if you are familiar with the great novels his stories are jewels to be discovered.
I have chosen from a series called “The Village”, set in the Yoknapatawpha community, which illustrate his superb skill as a short story writer.
“A Rose for Emily” opens with the funeral of Emily Grierson, an old maid and a recluse who was to be respected despite her odd behaviour. Her story unfolds back and forth in time. Two men have been central to her life, her father and her lover Homer. Yet she ends her life as an isolated and lonely spinster. The community are curious.
“That was when the people had begun to feel really sorry for her. People in our town, remembering how old lady Wyatt, her great aunt, had gone completely crazy at last, believed that the Griersons held themselves a little too high for what they really were. None of the young men were quite good enough for Miss Emily and such. We had long thought of them as something of a tableau, Miss Emily a slender figure in white in the background, her father a straddled silhouette in the foreground, his back to her and clutching a horsewhip, the two of them framed by the back-flung front door.”
“That evening sun”
All the characters in this story are also in “The sound and the fury”, featuring the Compson family. Nancy is their washerwoman and part-time prostitute. Her common law husband believes she is pregnant by a white man and has threatened to kill her. She is in fear for her life but is not taken seriously. The tension mounts throughout the story and is unresolved as she is effectively abandoned by the white family who have selfish concerns of their own.
“Drink some coffee”, Dilsey said. She poured a cup of coffee for Nancy. “Do you know he’s out there tonight? How come you know it’s tonight?” “I know”, Nancy said. “He’s there waiting. I know, I done lived with him too long. I know what he is fixing to do fore he knows it himself”.
…”I aint a nigger,”Jason said. “Are you a nigger Nancy?” “I hellborn, child, Nancy said. “I wont be nothing soon. I going back where I come from soon.”
Both these brilliantly crafted short stories express Faulkner’s major themes of racial inequality, injustice, violence both physical and psychological, sex and death but also how the different races in the community relate to each other and converse with each other according to the discriminatory social rules of the Deep South in the 1920s. Faulkner plays seamlessly with memory and time.
Come and explore this short story with me– there are two possible dates to suit your schedule:
Monday 19 June 6.30 to 8.30 pm Tuesday 20th June 6:30-8:30
At Waterstones Piccadilly Mezzanine
TO REGISTER for the study, please use the secure Paypal payment buttons below.
For June 19th, “A Rose for Emily”:
For June 20th “A Rose for Emily”
If you have any questions, please send an email to facilitator Carol Martin-Sperry at firstname.lastname@example.org