During his childhood, Faulkner was deeply influenced by his mother and grandmother, who were both interested in art and literature. His family were fond of storytelling and Faulkner grew up listening to tales about the history of the south and of his great grandfather, who was a Civil War hero. When he was seventeen Faulkner enrolled at the University of Mississippi and met Philip Stone, who mentored the young writer. Faulkner married Estelle Oldham in and hoped to make a living as a novelist. Later in life, struggling to make money, Faulkner moved to California and took a job as a screenwriter in Hollywood. He died in after a fall from a horse and was buried in Oxford, Mississippi.
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The title of "That Evening Sun" refers to a popular black spiritual that begins, "Lordy, how I hate to see that evening sun go down," which implies that once the sun sets, death is sure to follow.
The setting sun is feared by the singer of the spiritual and Nancy alike. Many critics refer to "That Evening Sun" as one of the finest examples of narrative point of view. This introductory point of view is then followed by the narrative voice of 9-year-old Quentin, who recalls the episode as he experienced it at that time. Within this narration, we have the emotionally contrasting adult voices of Nancy and Mr. His selfishness indicates his acceptance of her death as insignificant.
Stovall, the Baptist deacon; why Nancy tries to hang herself; and what the "watermelon" is under her dress. Most important, the children will never comprehend the abject horror that she suffers. Included in these themes is the implied dissolution of Southern aristocracy.
Compson is cold and detached; Mrs. Compson is whining and neurotic; 9-year-old Quentin is calm and rational; 7-year-old Caddy is inquisitive and daring; and 5-year-old Jason is unpleasant and obnoxious. As is always true of Faulkner, we have the distinction between the rich and the poor, and, more important, the inequality and the prejudice found in the treatment of blacks by their white counterparts. We hear that her husband, Jesus, is not allowed to come even to the back doors or kitchens of white houses, to which he remarks, "But white man can hang around mine.
White man can come in my house, but I cant stop him. When white man want to come in my house, I aint got no house.
That Evening Sun
We start with twenty-four-year-old Quentin remembering his hometown of Jefferson. He remembers how she was a prostitute for white men. This, as you can imagine, was a traumatizing experience for poor Nancy. She was beaten by one of her customers. She tried to commit suicide in jail and was beaten there too, and ended up drinking and sleeping too much to blot out the memory of her abusive johns. She also had a husband named Jesus who seemed prone to getting into fights. Then Quentin recalls a specific day when Nancy was afraid to walk home.
That Evening Sun by William Faulkner
There are electric line poles and paved streets; even the black women who still take in laundry have their husbands pick it up and deliver it in cars. But 15 years earlier, the streets would have been filled with black women carrying bundles of clothes balanced on their heads. Nancy was one of the women whom the Compson children liked to watch carry laundry on her head because she could balance her bundle while crawling through fences or walking down in ditches and then up out of them. The emphasis on washing both in the first and last sections unifies the story.
Faulkner's Short Stories
Quentin points out the changes that have taken place in Jefferson since he was a child. This change is symptomatic of the other modernizations that have taken place in the American South since the early s. This signifies that black people in the South are still suffering the consequences of slavery, many years after its abolition, in terms of how white people view and treat them. Active Themes Related Quotes with Explanations Quentin describes how Nancy, a black woman who sometimes worked for the Compsons, would wear her sailor hat on top of the bundle of laundry she carried. While the white children see laundry day as a game, and Nancy as entertaining, it is hard physical labor for the black servants and not something they would be nostalgic for. Jesus never came to help Nancy with the washing, even when she was doing the extra work of cooking for the Compsons because their usual maid, Dilsey, was sick. The fact that he never helps Nancy, even when she is taking on extra work, suggests he is a mean, careless husband.