The Biblical World (Location Key)


Although Faulkner's own religious beliefs are a vexed subject, there is no question that the world he created in his fictions is peopled with Christians - particularly Protestants - who think of the Bible as "the Book" (Go Down, Moses, 243). That's what Ike McCaslin calls it when he tries to explain to his skeptical cousin why he feels compelled to renounce his McCaslin inheritance. Several times in his disquisition Ike refers to events in the Bible in a way that brings the landscape of scripture into a kind of physical focus - "He created the earth, made it and looked at it and said it was all right" (243) - and that requires us to treat Ike's Biblical world as a Digital Yoknapatawpha Location. This happens in two other texts as well. In The Sound and the Fury the Easter sermon that the Reverend Shegog preaches transports the congregation back to the world described in the Bible: Egypt, where the Israelites were held as slaves; Bethlehem, where the Roman soldiers came to kill Mary's infant; Jerusalem, with the hill at Calvary and "de sacred trees" (the three crosses, 296) and the tomb that was the site of "de resurrection" (297). And while no scene in "Shall Not Perish" takes place in what used to be called "the Holy Land" and is now referred to as the Middle East, the story's narrator notes that Grandfather was "so old that it would seem to me he must have gone clean back to the old fathers in Genesis and Exodus that talked face to face with God" (111).

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