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Themes

Sutpen's grand design is thwarted, but he is not the only one driven to accomplish a goal. Everyone in <em>Absalom, Absalom! </em>has hopes and plans, but few are realized. The women dream of being married, the sons want recognition from their fathers, and everyone wants more money and power. In the end, it's actually Sutpen's plan that ruins everything for the rest of them: Judith's desire to marry Charles Bon (and her mother's drive to make that happen), Miss Rosa's hope for a husband, Henry's plans to gain Charles Bon as a brother-in-law, and Wash Jones' aim to marry into the Sutpen dynasty. Way to stomp on everyone's dreams, Sutpen. It's amazing how much power one man can have.

Questions About Dreams, Hopes, and Plans

  1. How do characters' plans get in the way of their happiness?
  2. Do anyone of the characters' hopes come true? Why or why not?
  3. Whose dreams clash, and whose dreams (if any) coincide?

Chew on This

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

It's never clear what Quentin hopes to gain from learning Sutpen's full story.

Wash Jones is one of the novel's most pathetic and sympathetic characters. He dreams of being accepted by Sutpen, who ruthlessly exploits his ignorance of the truth.

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