Martin's Reviews > The Unvanquished

The Unvanquished by William Faulkner
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Dec 08, 2010

really liked it
Read in August, 2010

A Civil War tale about a boy, his granny and his slave. There are 7 stories, 6 of which were published prior to being collected into novel form. This causes the stories to be rather optimistic or sentimental in tone when compared to the hard hitting novels like "Sanctuary" or "Light in August". It's a great place to start reading about Yoknapatawpha County. Many of Faulkner's families are represented here: old Mrs. Compson, Ab Snopes, Colonel John Sartoris (who had built the railroad in Jefferson), uncles Buck and Buddy McCaslin. The main character is the adolescent Bayard, who is called Old Bayard in "Flags in the Dust" which was written ten years before this novel and takes place after World War I. I heartily recommend reading "Unvanquished" before either "Flags in the Dust" or "Go Down Moses". I had the luck to read "Light in August" before "Unvanquished". There is a long passage in "Light in August" in which the spinster daughter of murdered abolitionists recounts her family history and her parents' slaying by Col. John Sartoris. In "The Unvanquished" we see the same story from Bayard Sartoris' point of view, with many additions to the story, and I got a greater sense of the history of this community. Granny is a great heroine, and the slave Ringo is a great character as well. He sees and speaks of the similarities and inequities between himself and his and Bayard's experiences. You don't get much of a sense of Aunt Jenny, I would not have guessed she would have become such a great character is "Flags in the Dust."
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11/06 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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Don Incognito D'oh! I read Flags in the Dust first...


Martin That's okay, I now think you can read them in either order. But definitely Flags before Sanctuary in order to get the Benbows' relationship.


message 3: by Don Incognito (last edited Apr 29, 2011 06:34PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Don Incognito Maybe you know the answer to a question I had on a detail in Flags. Do you remember that an unidentified man hides on Narcissa Benbow's (I think) roof and leans down to peep at her through the window? Who is this supposed to be, if anyone in particular? I thought at first that it was Young Bayard, but the text seemed to indicate not.


Martin Offhand I would guess Byron Snopes, who wrote those dirty letters to her. I recommend reading the short story "There Was a Queen" which does a little follow-up on those letters, along with more info on Elnora, Jenny, and Narcissa. Also, after Byron Snopes ran off with the bank's money, his half-breed children from New Mexico get shipped back to Jefferson at the end of "The Town" to terrorize the extended Snopes family who try to adopt them.


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