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Absalom, Absalom!
Absalom, Absalom!
by William Faulkner

Absalom, Absalom! Analysis

Literary Devices in Absalom, Absalom!

Symbolism, Imagery, Allegory

Setting

The WhenWe get three different temporal (time) settings in Absalom, Absalom!:(1) Sutpen's family history (recounted by people in the other two time periods): before, during, and just after the Amer...

Narrator Point of View

Figuring out the narrative in this novel is no easy feat. There are four main narrators – Rosa, Mr. Compson, Quentin, and Shreve – plus lots of flashbacks, personal opinions, and guesswork. The...

Genre

Southern Gothic FictionThis novel may not have elements of the supernatural like a classic gothic novel, but there are definitely ghosts (in the form of people haunting other people); super spooky...

Tone

Like everything else about Absalom, Absalom!, Faulkner's attitude toward his subject matter is very complex. Like his characters, the author is clearly fascinated by the South, both for its beauty...

Writing Style

Complicated. Difficult. Frustrating. Confusing. Challenging. You see where we're going with this? We just want to let you know that Shmoop knows what you're going through. This is not an easy book...

What's Up With the Title?

Absalom, Absalom! We've got the same word twice and an exclamation point. Got your attention, right? But there's more to it than that – at least Shmoop thinks so. In fact, the title of this book...

What's Up With the Ending?

What is up with the ending? It's super dramatic, that's for sure. More importantly, though, it provides a pretty important revelation (spoiler alert!): the ghost of Henry is in fact a flesh-and-blo...

Tough-o-Meter

We can't lie: this one's a doozy. The sentences are long, the chronology is all mixed up, the story is full of flashbacks and speculation, and you can't trust the narrators. Absalom, Absalom! is kn...

Plot Analysis

Time for a quick lesson in literary terms (this one will definitely impress). The plot of a story is how it all goes down, right? What happens, and in what order? Well, in a novel like Absalom, Abs...

Booker's Seven Basic Plots Analysis

We're going to be honest: this book doesn't quite fit the rags to riches plot. It's more like rags to riches to burned-down house. But we'll take a look anyway, and see how it goes.Sutpen realizes...

Three-Act Plot Analysis

After a tough childhood and a few missteps, Thomas Sutpen finally establishes his dynasty by acquiring land, building Sutpen's Hundred, marrying Ellen Coldfield, and having two children with her. H...

Trivia

All over the Internet, you'll read that the Absalom, Absalom! contains the longest (grammatically correct) sentence in the English language: 1,288 words. Who knows if it's true, but we definitely b...

Steaminess Rating

Things are pretty creepy in the sex department of Absalom, Absalom! After all, the most lust you see is between a brother and a sister. While there is no explicit sex described, the implications ar...

Allusions

Sir Walter Scott (3.15)Arabian Nights (4.5)Lothario (4.8)Camelot (5.18)Pyramus and Thisbe (6.8)Faustus (6.10)Oscar Wilde (6.29)Fauntleroy (6.29)Ben Hur (7.1)Coke on Littleton (8.5)Lancelot (8.10)Ge...

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