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The Unvanquished

William Faulkner

Key Facts

Important Quotations Explained

Study Questions and Essay Topics

full title ·  The Unvanquished

author ·  William Faulkner

type of work ·  Novel

genre ·  Bildungsroman (novel of self-development and maturation); war novel

language ·  English (often uses Southern and black dialects in dialogue)

time and place written ·  Begun as a series of magazine stories for the Saturday Evening Post and Scribner's in 1934; last story written in 1937. Written mostly in Oxford, Mississippi and perhaps partially in Hollywood.

date of first publication ·  February 15, 1938

publisher ·  Random House

narrator ·  Bayard Sartoris (as an adult, looking back on the events of his childhood)

climax ·  The most important climax comes in "Riposte in Tertio" when Granny Millard is murdered by Grumby after Bayard fails to keep her from leaving the wagon. Another, secondary climax is Bayard's confrontation with Redmond in "An Odor of Verbena." Each chapter has its own individual climactic event (e.g. the sergeant's questioning of Granny while the boys are hidden in "Ambuscade"; the wagon falling into the river in "Raid").

protagonist ·  Bayard, and to a lesser extent, Granny Millard

antagonist ·  Varies at different points in the novel: Yankee soldiers, Grumby and his gang, Aunt Louisa and Mrs. Habersham, the Burdens. More broadly, anyone who does not share the traditional Southern moral code adhered to by the Sartorises.

setting (time) ·  Mostly from 1862 to 1865, with the final chapter in 1873

setting (place) ·  Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi, with excursions into Tennessee and Alabama

point of view ·  Mostly told from young Bayard's perspective, although the adult Bayard who narrates the story occasionally describes things he learned later or that occurred while he was absent

falling action ·  After a confrontation, Ben Redmond boards a train out of Jefferson forever; Bayard falls asleep in a pasture and wakes up sobbing; he discovers Drusilla has left home to return to Alabama

tense ·  Past tense, told from the perspective of many years in the future

foreshadowing ·  Little direct foreshadowing, though details in the novel occasionally set up future events, such as the names "Old Hundred" and "Tinney" (which explain the Yankee officer's mistaken allocation of one hundred and ten mules to Granny)

tone ·  Grand and epic, as befits a heroic adventure story, but more serious as time goes on and Bayard develops to maturity; generally parallels the tone Bayard's thoughts at whatever age he is. The tone of "An Odor of Verbena" is even more dramatic and poetic.

themes ·  Morality and moral development; racism and injustice; honor; heroism; violence and its effects; the oppressive effects of meaningless social codes (politeness and "respectability"); genuine religion versus religious hypocrisy; the restrictions imposed on women; memory and mythologizing; class distinctions

motifs ·  Warfare; humor and comical escapades; journeying; schemes and plots; childhood; promises and oaths; the standards of gentlemen; families and alternative families

symbols ·  Verbena; the chest of silver; the railroad; rain versus sunshine; nature (like the snake in Bayard's path in "Vendée")

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bad

by iluvmabritches, September 02, 2012

this is the worst book i have ever come across, why would someone write something so stupid that the average man could not understand

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12 out of 25 people found this helpful

youre wrong

by leimuu, December 17, 2013

this is the easiest faulker book to read. the rest are so unbelievably complex that this was a relief to read and understand. and the plot is more about characteristics of what a man really is and what a female should be in this era. great novel.

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1 out of 1 people found this helpful

Bad summaries

by wolfea28, February 06, 2014

A ton of vital info is left out of these summaries, especially in the Raid chapter.

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