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Go Down, Moses

William Faulkner
Writing Help

Suggested Essay Topics

Writing Help Suggested Essay Topics

Go Down, Moses is very concerned with the idea of inheritance, specifically patrimony--the tradition of sons inheriting from their fathers. How does this idea manifest itself in terms of property throughout the novel? How does it manifest itself in terms of personality traits and temperament? Isaac McCaslin exempts himself from the first kind of patrimony; is he exempt from the second kind, as well?

How does Faulkner handle the novel's important symbols--the fire in Lucas's hearth in "The Fire in the Hearth," Old Ben in "The Bear"? Do these symbols have fixed meanings in the novel or are they more ambiguous? Thinking especially about "The Bear," what might the important symbols represent?

Think about the character of Rider. Why is he uniquely unable to handle his grief? How does the story of Rider, which does not relate to the McCaslin family except in that Rider rents a house from Carothers Edmonds, fit in to the work as a whole?

Go Down, Moses is not quite a novel, and it is not quite a book of short stories. How would you classify the book? Why? Does it remind you of any other books?