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Discuss the contrast between aristocratic and lower-class characters in the novel. What do these class distinctions tell us about Jefferson society or about the Southern moral order? Does Faulkner give a balanced representation of poor white characters, or are poor whites stereotyped?
The Unvanquished features several genuinely funny episodes. What is the function of such comic scenes in an essentially heroic, often tragic story? Are they simply intended to provide relief, or do they contribute to the broader meaning of the novel?
What is the purpose of making Bayard, initially a young boy, the narrator and central character? How would the book be different if the main character were an adult and the narrator an omniscient third person?
Although most of The Unvanquished is set during the Civil War, the action takes place not on the battlefields of Virginia or Tennessee but on the Confederate home front. What is the significance of a Civil War novel that never depicts the main fighting arena? And what does this focus on the home front allow us to see that would be absent or different in a battlefield story?
What is the effect of writing a novel about the Civil War seventy years after the war ended? How does that historical perspective influence the war's depiction?
Discuss the depiction of violence in The Unvanquished. Why do so many characters act so violently? Is there a unified motive for violence in the novel, or do different characters use violence for different ends?
Ace your assignments with our guide to The Unvanquished!