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Existentialistic Features of William Faulkner’s Light in August

Author: QinJuan
Tutor: JiShengLei
School: Hebei Normal
Course: English Language and Literature
Keywords: existentialism state loss of self value
Type: Master's thesis
Year: 2011
Downloads: 81
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William Faulkner (1897-1962), one of the best American writers of the twentieth century, is regarded as the founder of American southern literature and the most influential modernist novelist. Light in August is one of Faulkner’s masterpieces, and is also the longest one of all his novels. In this novel, Faulkner showed great concern for human existence, the significance and value of human existence. This paper, based on related philosophical thinking of the existence of human beings and the value of existence, analyzes the existential tendency of the novel and throws light on the meanings of existence reflected in this work.This thesis consists of three chapters.Chapter One makes an analysis of the issue of the state of human existence from three aspects: the reality of the society; the essence of the world and the nature of human beings. Racial discrimination was the reality of the society in that period; for the whole world, Faulkner revealed the absurd essence of the world through the novel; for the individual nature, the absurd world made individuals alienated.Chapter Two explores the loss of self in the human existence. One of the most important themes of this novel is the dissociation of personality and loss of self in the institutionalized society. Through the analysis of the two heroines, this chapter discusses the loss of self of human beings in the process of pursuing oneself.Chapter Three testifies the value of human existence. People are pursuing oneself in the absurd world and alienated society. Although the social reality is cruel, Faulkner holds an optimistic attitude towards integrity of human beings.Faulkner is not only the prominent representative in American literature, but also a philosopher. Philosophic thoughts are permeated in his works. From the perspective of existentialism, one can have a deeper understanding of Faulkner’s idea of human existence.

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