Though this method allows the reader to see differing points of view, as well as examine the contribution of memory to the myth-making process as the story is told and retold, it raises the issue about how personal experience has a bending effect on memory and narrative. Speculation, guesswork, and alleged fact all play roles in the narrative process – with the accompanying contradictions in logic – leading us to wonder about a larger question – what is the actual truth, and whether truth can only be relative and selective, and never absolute. It also emphasizes how narrative is understood – often not by what is literally said, but by what is hinted at or implied, and often left unsaid.
Faulkner does highlight the racial issues that plagued the South before and after the Civil War in this novel, and indeed race is a central theme in most of his work. However, it is disappointing to note that none of his works present an opportunity for black characters to speak in their own voices. The story is wholly from the white point of view, which is a one-sided approach to say the least.
The downfall of the novel’s protagonist, Thomas Sutpen, can be traced back to his obsession with the founding of a dynasty. The single-minded pursuit of this goal precludes Sutpen from engaging emotionally with the people around him, be the family or townspeople, and this is the cause of his descent into alcoholism, ruin, and ultimately his murder by Wash Jones, a squatter on the Sutpen plantation.
While Faulkner does not try to base his novel on research and factual data, such as dates and historical incidents, it is obvious his aim is to present an equally powerful history, “a few old mouth-to-mouth tales”, based on sentiment. (Faulkner 100). Thus what we see is an emotional history of the Civil War period contrasted with the factual history of the era.
Faulkner’s epic novel mirrors the unsure feelings of love and hate, most Southerners, including