Absalom, Absalom! Questions
Bring on the tough stuff - there’s not just one right answer.
- Let's think historically: what does Sutpen's story tell us about the history of the South? How is the war between the North and the South reflected in the drama of the story? Is this a big deal for Faulkner?
- What exactly is Sutpen worried about with Charles Bon? He acknowledges Clytie as his daughter, so why not Charles Bon as his son? Does he want to keep him away from Judith, or from Henry? Does it have to do with his "design"?
- Why do the narrators have the opinions they have? Why is Miss Rosa obsessed with Charles Bon, Mr. Compson with New Orleans, and Shreve and Quentin with the South? And how do these opinions add to the richness of the novel?
- What exactly is Sutpen's "design"? Can we even define it?
- Is Sutpen a good guy or a bad guy? What are his motivations for the crazy stunts he pulls?
- Why does Faulkner choose to tell the story in three different time periods? What would be different if Sutpen's story was told by someone in the nineteenth-century as it was happening (say, Sutpen)?
- Which narrator do you think Faulkner identifies with the most? Which narrator do you identify with the most? Whose side of the story do you believe?
- Now write your own version of the events. What do you think went down in and around Sutpen's Hundred?