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Exhausted Voices: The Inevitable Impoverishment of Faulkner's "Garrulous and Facile" Language

Exhausted Voices: The Inevitable Impoverishment of Faulkner's "Garrulous and Facile" Language Exhausted Voices: The Inevitable Impoverishment of Faulkner’s “Garrulous and Facile” Language by H. Collin Messer “Done sold my Benjamin,” the old Negress said. “Sold him in Egypt.” She began to sway faintly back and forth in the chair. “I telephoned Mr. Edmonds,” Stevens said. “He will have everything ready when you get there.” “Roth Edmonds sold him,” the old Negress said. “Sold my Benjamin.” — William Faulkner, “Go Down, Moses” What does the dialogue of Faulkner’s characters ultimately ac- complish in his narratives? Yoknapatawpha County is home to a host of voices, black and white, male and female, that murmur incessantly. The town of Jeff erson itself often seems to speak in a collective voice. In the midst of so much talk, however, do people ever really listen to each other? The conversations between even Faulkner’s most prolifi c in- terlocutors (Mr. Compson and Quentin, for example) certainly leave us with little sense that they really understand one another any better as a result of their dialogue. We as readers may understand them bet- ter through poring over their verbal exchange (which we are given in written form), but they are not so privileged. Stephen Ross says that in http://www.deepdyve.com/assets/images/DeepDyve-Logo-lg.png The Southern Literary Journal University of North Carolina Press

Exhausted Voices: The Inevitable Impoverishment of Faulkner's "Garrulous and Facile" Language

The Southern Literary Journal , Volume 39 (1) – Feb 8, 2007

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Publisher
University of North Carolina Press
Copyright
Copyright © 2006 the Southern Literary Journal and the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill Department of English.
ISSN
1534-1461

Abstract

Exhausted Voices: The Inevitable Impoverishment of Faulkner’s “Garrulous and Facile” Language by H. Collin Messer “Done sold my Benjamin,” the old Negress said. “Sold him in Egypt.” She began to sway faintly back and forth in the chair. “I telephoned Mr. Edmonds,” Stevens said. “He will have everything ready when you get there.” “Roth Edmonds sold him,” the old Negress said. “Sold my Benjamin.” — William Faulkner, “Go Down, Moses” What does the dialogue of Faulkner’s characters ultimately ac- complish in his narratives? Yoknapatawpha County is home to a host of voices, black and white, male and female, that murmur incessantly. The town of Jeff erson itself often seems to speak in a collective voice. In the midst of so much talk, however, do people ever really listen to each other? The conversations between even Faulkner’s most prolifi c in- terlocutors (Mr. Compson and Quentin, for example) certainly leave us with little sense that they really understand one another any better as a result of their dialogue. We as readers may understand them bet- ter through poring over their verbal exchange (which we are given in written form), but they are not so privileged. Stephen Ross says that in

Journal

The Southern Literary JournalUniversity of North Carolina Press

Published: Feb 8, 2007

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