by William Faulkner
Absalom, Absalom! Ambition Quotes
How we cite our quotes: (Chapter.Paragraph)
Sutpen, the man whom, after seeing once and before any engagement existed anywhere save in his wife's mind, he saw as a potential threat to the (now and at least) triumphant coronation of his old hardships and ambition, of which threat he was apparently sure enough to warrant a six hundred mile journey to prove it [….] (4.8).
When Sutpen meets Charles Bon, he smells trouble. All that he has worked so hard to build is threatened by the arrival of his half-black son, so he travels all the way to New Orleans to find out the truth.
"Yes," Quentin said, "The design – Getting richer and richer. It must have looked fine and clear ahead for him now: house finished, and even bigger and whiter than the one he had gone to the door of that day and the nigger came out in his monkey clothes and told him to go to the back." (7.24)
In stories about Sutpen, the entire driving force for his actions is the day he goes to the front door of a rich white man's house and is sent to the back door by the black butler. Ouch. From that point on, Sutpen is determined to have a better, bigger, whiter house than the one whose door he was turned away from on that fateful day.
Mrs. Sutpen would have seen to it – ten days of that kind of planned and arranged and executed privacies like the campaigns of dead generals in the text books […]. (8.10)
Almost as ambitious as her husband, Ellen sets her sights high for her daughter Judith, who she wants to marry Charles Bon. She undertakes the plans with the accuracy and determination of a military general. Guess it runs in the family.