Faulker and Modernism

=According to history, modernism is a philosophical movement, which was started in the early 1900s and went on all the way up to the early 1940s (Barbour 54). Along with other cultural changes and trends, modernization resulted in the far-reaching and wide-scale transformations in the Western Society. Among the many factors that shaped modernization in the early 20th century include the rapid growth of cities, reactions from World War I, and the introduction of modern industrial societies. However, the same modernization rejected the certainty that comes with enlightenment thinking. As a result, several modernists have rejected religious belief. In that case, this discussion will be about how the philosophy of modernism is expressed in the two written works of William Faulker, That Evening Sun and Barn Burning.

In the literal work, “Barn Burning”, the performance of justice system is an act of modernism. Colonel Sartoris was filled with guilt when he was brought to testify in the court (Faulkner 74). This was an indication that the boy knew something about the presented case, but he was ordered by somebody (his father) to keep quiet. This is an act rift to the justice process, and it is influenced by modernism. However, after being overburden by the actions of his father, Sartoris decided to snitch his father and the father’s plan of burning the farm for the second time was thwarted. Also, the reality in this literal work is expressed in fragments, which are tenets of modernism.

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That Evening Sun is a literal work about a girl named Nancy who happened to have experienced many horrific sexual encounters before she was married. She was involved in the whoring business and had to deal with clients who had demands that were difficult to meet (Faulkner 672). The prostitution act illustrated in this literal work is as a result of modernism. However, most of the ladies who participated in the prostitution business were Negros.

In conclusion, the two literal works illustrate that the philosophy of modernism is full of iron, satire, and actions that are taken as a result of guilt. For instance, in the ‘Barn Burning’ Colonel felt guilty of not telling the truth when he was given the chance to do so. Similarly, Nancy is guilty of her horrific sexual life experience before marriage.


Works Cited

Barbour, Scott. American Modernism. San Diego, Calif: Greenhaven Press, 2000. Print.

Faulkner, William, and Barrett Clark. Barn Burning. Old Greenwich, Conn: Listening Library, 1977. Sound recording.

Faulkner, William, and Doren C. Van. “That Evening Sun.” Modern American Prose. 23 (1934): 672-686. Print.