Southern Literature Term Paper

Excerpt from Term Paper :

roots of Southern literature and how the authors view moral freedom in their works. It has 5 sources.

When the Puritans of Europe left their homeland for the vast and wild continent of America they envisioned social and religious freedom. For them American had been a deserted place and the only enemy they have had been the Natives. However, they did not envision the fact that they would undergo severe battle of the inner self as well as the harsh external environment. As they spend more of their time on the continent they realized that the promise of a free new land has been a dream and that in order to survive they have abandon their old ways to become more focused and adapt to the environment. The pervasive and massiveness of the diversified American culture at the time posed a mixture of excitement as well as danger for them. In the midst of these struggles and adaptations, the Puritans underwent a series of emotional and psychological turmoil. Mark Twain as well as Cormac McCarthy and William Faulkner all recounts of the initial settlements and how they have changed over time in their attempt to adapt to their new habitat. But perhaps the most prominent feature of their writings had been the portrayal of the struggle for moral freedom and the emotional dilemma they underwent in achieving their ideology.

Purpose Statement

In the following paper the author plans to show that Southern authors demonstrate the divergence of moral freedom as a common theme in the works of Twain, McCarthy and Faulkner.

American authors such as Faulkner, McCarthy and Twain offers insight into the dilemma of the initial generations of colonialists who struggled for their religious freedom and at the same time attempt to preserve their roots less they disintegrate in the midst of the strong Native cultures. The Puritans had been faced with the dual problem of facing the reality of their religion and their culture and at the same time
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they had been faced with the perspective of the Natives. They had been forced to look from the point-of-view of their enemies even as they struggled to eradicate them. In The Bear for example Faulkner's character Ike has been faced with the problem of lineage and culture. Whereas Ike discovers the truth about his diversified family, he has also been presented with the fact that his ancestors had been pure except for the new generation who is left with nothing but the wilderness. In R.W.B. Lewis' analysis of Faulkner's work writes "The central poetic insight... which Faulkner shares with Mark Twain and many another American writer is... An insight into the fertile and ambiguous possibility of moral freedom in the new world" ("Kenyon Review" 13.4 [Autumn 1951], 653) and "possibility of moral freedom in the new world" According to Lewis Faulkner's attempt had been to present the experience of the preceding generation in the midst of wilderness. It has been during this time that the newly settled colonialists started to develop a whole new set of codes and rules so as to combat both the internal guilt they felt and at the same time distinguish themselves from the Natives in that they are more religious. This religious fanaticism although is still at the initial level but nevertheless the populous had started to realize the importance of spiritual freedom which they inherited from their European counterparts.

Other authors like C.L.R. James for instance posit that Faulkner's attempt had been to present the changing moral perception of the Frontier people. He points out that Faulkner demonstrate the cultural and social rejection of the old system through Ike's action of relinquishing his property show that the colonialists were gradually changing their ways and shy away from what they used to believe and what they considered to be the cultural and social system. In rejecting the Puritan settlers had in fact started to develop a new set of rules, a new way of life and most importantly new sets of principles through which they measure their actions. And the landlessness of the Frontiers…

Sources Used in Documents:


Blair, John. "Mexico and the Borderlands in Cormac McCarthy's All the Pretty Horses." Critique 42.3, Spring 2001: 301-07.

Arnold, Edwin T. "Horseman, Ride On." World & I Oct. 1998: 259-67.

Paine, Albert Bigelow. Mark Twain: A Biography, New York: Harper & Brothers, 1912; BoondocksNet Edition, 2001. 1, 2003).

Lewis, R.W.B. "The Hero in the New World: William Faulkner's 'The Bear'." Bear, Man and God, 306-322.

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