The legacy of slavery is shared by all Americans, but it is among American Southerners that this sin and its place in American history is most intensely felt. One need only to have been born or raised in the South to have this legacy reinforced almost on a daily basis: the statue of the Confederate soldier in the squares of most Southern towns and cities, the remnants of the plantation system still visible in some parts of the South (and now tourist attractions), and most importantly, the descendants of those slaves who still live and work in the region that once legitimized (both economically and morally) the bondange of their ancestors.
To William Faulkner, living in 1930s Mississippi these signs of the past must have been much more intense than they are today and displayed an immediacy that can hardly be understood now. Surely, he must have known Confederate veterans as he was growing up and the history of the ante-bellum South and the war that brought it down was still fresh in the mind. It was with this background that he began writing his masterpiece. Faulkner had dealt with slavery and its aftermath in earlier works (Sound and the Fury and Light in August) but treatd the subject obliquely paying more attention to the malaise that afflicted his characters rather than to the source of that malaise. With this novel he is concerned with the cause.
To put it simply, this is his best work and probably one of the top three American novels ever written. It is a complex creation intermingling multi-character monologues with some of his most beautiful steam of consciousness prose; it is difficult and obtuse; it is undeniably brilliant and beautiful; and it’s relevance is universal. Although the pivotal location of the novel is the north woods of Mississippi, it is applicable to any location where denial of humanity and the integrity of the individual is commonplace, whether this denial be based on religion, race, or on some artificially constructed idea (such as fear) where the intent is to divide rather than to unite. Come to think of it, given the political realities of the time, this book should be required reading.
Japanese Work Ethics vs American Ethics "For an American to consider the Japanese from any viewpoint for any reason, it is important for us to remember that they are products of a unique civilization, that their standards and values are the results of several thousand years of powerful religious and metaphysical conditioning that were entirely different from those that molded the character, ...