A Study of Female Images in William Faulkner’s Novels毕业论文_英语毕业论文

A Study of Female Images in William Faulkner’s Novels毕业论文


摘 要


关键词:威廉•福克纳; 女性形象; 美国南方

A Study of Female Images in William Faulkner’s Novels

1. Introduction

William Cuthbert Faulkner (1897 ~ 1962) was an outstanding American writer and primarily famous for his novels and short stories set in the fictional Yoknapatawpha County. He enjoys a high prestige in the world as one of the most important American writers in the 20th century. Early in 1919, Faulkner’s works were published. He came to prominence since he received the Nobel Prize for Literature in 1949 for “his powerful and artistically unique contribution to the modern American novel.” He was awarded two Pulitzer Prizes: A Fable (1954) took the Pulitzer Prize in 1955 and The Reivers(1962) was posthumously awarded the Pulitzer in 1963. In addition, Faulkner won the National Book Awards twice: one is Collected Stories in 1951 and another is A Fable in 1955. Furthermore, he was one of three finalists for the first Ellery Queen Mystery Magazine Award in 1946 and placed second to Rhea Galati. The Modern Library ranked The Sound and the Fury sixth on its list of the 100 best English-language novels of the twentieth century in 1998 and As I Lay Dying (1930) and Light in August(1932) were also on the list.

During his career as a writer spanning almost a half-century, Faulkner wrote nineteen novels and more than seventy short stories. In Faulkner’s works, he creates as many as 600 characters and women characters occupy a high percentage in them. Some of these women are rebellious, some of them are contradictory, and some of them are extreme. As a writer, Faulkner concerns the fates of human beings especially those who are deeply restricted and affected by southern traditions. His characters suffer from the social prejudice, live a miserable life, and usually have a tragic ending. They are eager to change their living conditions and want to be accepted. But the reality eventually disappoints them and destroys them. By reading Faulkner’s novels, we can learn his hatred for slavery and racial discrimination.

Faulkner’s works have been analyzed by many critics from various critical perspectives. The New Critics have showed great interests in his works since Cleanth Brooks wrote “The Yoknapatawpha County” and Michael Millgate wrote “The Achievement of William Faulkner”. Since then, critics have commented on Faulkner’s work with different approaches, such as psychoanalytic and feminist methods. Scholars all over the world have made plenty of researches on Faulkner’s women characters. Xiao Minghan holds that “though Faulkner has a negative attitude to racism in South, he brings his southern complex into the works.”(18) Some foreign scholars hold that Faulkner was inclined to detest women. In “William Faulkner: A Critical Study”, Irving Howe pointed out that “Faulkner had a strong detestation of women.”(54) In “Time in Faulkner’s Novels: The Sound and the Fury”, the French scholar Jean-Paul Sartre holds the view that Faulkner’s philosophy is the philosophy of time. He argues that the present is a thing emerged from the unknown and flies to another present.

In his fictional world, Faulkner explores the unsettling South and elaborately describes his characters—both blacks and whites from all levels of society, including black slaves, poor whites, plantation owners as well as the native Americans. They have different identities but most of them are suffering. He created many lively fictional characters with his wonderful writing. This thesis will analyze the characterization of three women in Faulkner’s three works, The Sound and the Fury, That Evening Sun, and A Rose for Emily respectively, from feminist perspective, so as to reveal the predicaments of those women in Southern American society. A basic view of the feminism is that the society is set upon patriarchy in which men are endowed with more privileges than women. Feminists insist that women should have the equal opportunities and rights as men. The final goals of feminists are to eliminate the prejudices against women, and promote the equality between men and women in social, economic, and cultural status.

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