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Faulkner and FormalismReturns of the Text$
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Annette Trefzer and Ann J. Abadie

Print publication date: 2012

Print ISBN-13: 9781617032561

Published to University Press of Mississippi: March 2014

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781617032561.001.0001

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“I Sees De Light, En I Sees De Word”

“I Sees De Light, En I Sees De Word”

Black Female Transcendence of Racial and Gendered Boundaries in The Sound and the Fury and “That Evening Sun”

(p.163) “I Sees De Light, En I Sees De Word”
Faulkner and Formalism

Ethel Young-Minor

University Press of Mississippi

This chapter examines intertextuality in William Faulkner’s novel The Sound and the Fury within the context of Langston Hughes’s comments on Faulkner. Hughes considered Faulkner a “great Mississippi writer,” but was perplexed, like many of his readers, by his treatment of race. The chapter analyzes Faulkner’s understanding of race relations in the segregated South during his time by focusing on the possibility of racial and religious transcendence for his black female characters. It argues that Faulkner reconfigures the stereotypical images of black women in the kitchens and churches of the Jim Crow South in order to reveal their hidden cultural and personal complexities. The chapter also looks at how these female characters are encouraged by African American cultural practices to transcend their positions on the margins of society. Finally, it discusses Faulkner’s use of a religious figure, Jesus, and his dual signification in the story, as a way for his black female characters to transcend racial discrimination in the South.

Keywords:   intertextuality, William Faulkner, Langston Hughes, race, race relations, South, black women, Jesus, racial discrimination

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