Wiliam Faulkner

Into the Wild: Group presentation


  • born on September 25, 1897, in New Albany, Mississippi

  • A great-grandfather, Colonel William Falkner, had written The White Rose of Memphis, a popular novel of the 1880s.

  • In 1918, after the U.S. Army rejected him for being underweight and too short (5 feet 5 inches), Faulkner enlisted in the Canadian Air Force

  • William did not attend public school consistently after the fifth grade; he left high school prior to graduation in order to work in his grandfather's bank. William never earned his high school diploma despite being an avid reader and a lover of poetry.

  • In 1919 Faulkner enrolled at the University of Mississippi as a special student, but left the next year for New York City. After several odd jobs in New York he left and again returned to Mississippi, where he became postmaster at the Mississippi University Station. He was fired in 1924 for reading on the job. In 1925 he and a friend made a walking tour of Europe, returning home in 1926.

  • During the years 1926 to 1930 Faulkner published a series of novels, none commercially successful. But in 1931 the success of Sanctuary freed him of financial worries. He went to Hollywood for a year as a scriptwriter and an adviser.

  • Faulkner had married Estelle Oldham, his childhood sweetheart, in 1929, and they lived together in Oxford until his death. He was a quiet, dashing, courteous man, mustachioed and sharp-eyed. He constantly refused the role of celebrity: he permitted no prying into his private life and rarely granted interviews. William Faulkner died on July 6, 1962, in a hospital in Byhalia, Mississippi. He was sixty-four years of age.

As a young man, influenced by the work of English poets A.E. Housman and Algernon Charles Swinburne, he began writing poems that explored Romantic themes of lost love and natural beauty.

In his acceptance speech for the Nobel Prize, Faulkner spoke on the fate of the human race in the face of the coming Cold War, stating his faith in the survival of man because “he has a soul, a spirit capable of compassion and sacrifice and endurance.

Excerpt from "The Bear" by William Faulkner

He was ten. But it had already begun, long before that day when at last he wrote his age in two figures and he saw for the first time the camp where his father and Major de Spain and old General Compson and the others spent two weeks each November and two weeks again each June. He had already inherited then, without ever having seen it, the tremendous bear with one trap-ruined foot which, in an area almost a hundred miles deep, had earned itself a name, a definite designation like a living man.

He had listened to it for years: the long legend of corncribs rifled, of shotes and grown pigs and even calves carried bodily into the woods and devoured, of traps and deadfalls overthrown and dogs mangled and slain, and shotgun and even rifle charges delivered at point-blank range and with no more effect than so many peas blown through a tube by a boy—a corridor of wreckage and destruction beginning back before he was born, through which sped, not fast but rather with the ruthless and irresistible deliberation of a locomotive, the shaggy tremendous shape.

It ran in his knowledge before he ever saw it. It looked and towered in his dreams before he even saw the unaxed woods where it left its crooked print, shaggy, huge, red-eyed, not malevolent but just big—too big for the dogs which tried to bay it, for the horses which tried to ride it down, for the men and the bullets they fired into it, too big for the very country which was its constricting scope. He seemed to see it entire with a child’s complete divination before he ever laid eyes on either—the doomed wilderness whose edges were being constantly and punily gnawed at by men with axes and plows who feared it because it was wilderness, men myriad and nameless even to one another in the land where the old bear had earned a name, through which ran not even a mortal animal but an anachronism,1 indomitable2 and invincible, out of an old dead time, a phantom, epitome and apotheosis3 of the old wild life at which the puny humans swarmed and hacked in a fury of abhorrence and fear, like pygmies about the ankles of a drowsing elephant: the old bear solitary, indomitable and alone, widowered, childless, and absolved of mortality—old Priam4 reft of his old wife and having outlived all his sons.

William Faulkner: Why was he famous/ respected

  • He was famous for his faithful and accurate dictation of southern Speech

  • He was illuminated social aspects that other authors excluded from their work such as slavery

  • He was able to capture every aspect of life such as War, Incest, Racism, Mental illness, and suicide

Why Chris would have been fascinated with this Author

It is believed that Chris would have been fascinated by this author because of their similar beliefs. One can assume that the quote, "You cannot swim for new horizons until you have courage to lose sight of the shore,” by William Faulkner would have been intriguing to Chris; because, he believed that in order for him to discover his true self, he would need to go on a grand adventure. Furthermore, in order for him to go on this journey he needed to have courage to completely, " lose sight of the shore." He does so by selling everything and submerging himself in an extremely different lifestyle from the one he grew up in.

Quotes that aslo would have fascinated Chris

“We must be free not because we claim freedom, but because we practice it.”
William Faulkner, Essays, Speeches & Public Letters

“Given the choice between the experience of pain and nothing, I would choose pain.”
William Faulkner, The Wild Palms [If I Forget Thee, Jerusalem]