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Faulkner and Welty and the Southern Literary Tradition$
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Noel Polk

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9781934110843

Published to University Press of Mississippi: March 2014

DOI: 10.14325/mississippi/9781934110843.001.0001

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Reading Blood and History in Go Down, Moses

Reading Blood and History in Go Down, Moses

Chapter:
(p.68) Reading Blood and History in Go Down, Moses
Source:
Faulkner and Welty and the Southern Literary Tradition
Author(s):

Noel Polk

Publisher:
University Press of Mississippi
DOI:10.14325/mississippi/9781934110843.003.0005

This chapter offers a reading of William Faulkner’s collection of short stories, Go Down, Moses. One of the highlights of the book is Isaac McCaslin’s renunciation of his birthright, considered an iconic moment in American literature. Go Down, Moses is about a family that insists upon pure blood. It also tackles racism, incest, homosexuality, and the sterile isolation of masturbation. The chapter argues that Isaac’s case occurs in a disconnect between blood and history: he can stop the transmission of his blood but not of his history.

Keywords:   racism, William Faulkner, Go Down, Moses, birthright, blood, incest, homosexuality, masturbation, history

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