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Themes

Characters in <em>Absalom, Absalom!</em> can never transcend their origins: Sutpen will always be a country rube; Quentin, though at Harvard, will always be from the South – which fascinates his Northern roommate, Shreve; Charles Bon is very much a product of the cosmopolitan city of New Orleans where he grew up. The list goes on. Bottom line: characters are very influenced by the regions where they live, and each place represents very different qualities. We won't go into too much detail here (check out the "Quotes" for a bunch of examples), but we will say this: don't be fooled by discussions of "the South" – in <em>Absalom, Absalom! </em>every state, every city, every home has its own unique identity.

Questions About Contrasting Regions: The South

  1. In what ways do the characters in Absalom, Absalom! embody the beliefs of the regions from which they come?
  2. What do we learn about regional America from reading this novel? Do you feel like you understand the nineteenth-century South any better after reading it? Or is everything too subjective to really give you a solid idea?
  3. Does Faulkner favor the South over the North? Or vice versa?

Chew on This

Try on an opinion or two, start a debate, or play the devil’s advocate.

No matter how much he criticizes, it's clear from his tone that William Faulkner loves the South.

The regions we see throughout the novel are imagined: they are not real geographical spaces.

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