by William Faulkner
Absalom, Absalom! Theme of The Home
As is almost always the case in literature, the home in Absalom, Absalom! is about more than just having a roof over one's head. Many of the novel's characters are seeking both a place to live and a sense of belonging, a source of food and a source of support. Sutpen is under the mistaken impression that by building an enormous mansion he will create a feeling of home for himself. But because of his ego and misguided ambition, he is able to build a house but never creates a sense of home. The thing about a home is that it can never be destroyed: a house, on the other hand, most certainly can (and in this novel, most certainly is).
Questions About The Home
- What is the difference between a house and a home in the novel?
- How is Sutpen's house like a character in the story? How is it described?
- What are the positive and negative associations with houses in Absalom, Absalom!?
- Check out our discussion of "Houses" as a symbol. Do you agree with our interpretation? What might you add?
Chew on This
Homes serve many symbolic purposes in the novel, but it's never associated with domestic comfort.
The idea of the home is not a feminine one in this novel; it carries a very masculine implication.