Topic: The Bear; Wm. Faulkner (1 of 5), Read 28 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Saturday, November 17, 2001 08:47 AM This one deserves it's own thread. I'm not done reading it yet but far enough into it to realize this is not just something you read. This is fiction you experience. This is one of the best pieces of literature I have ever read. It leaves me stunned. That's the best word I can think of to describe my reaction. Anne, how far are you in The Bear? Beej
Topic: The Bear; Wm. Faulkner (2 of 5), Read 17 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Anne Wilfong anne.wilfong@gte.net Date: Saturday, November 17, 2001 06:26 PM I'm about a third through, I think, Beej. I'm in Memphis, where Isaac and Boon have gone for some liquor. This is an incredible piece of writing and I can just feel the undercurrent of suspense and heartache building up. Anne
Topic: The Bear; Wm. Faulkner (3 of 5), Read 10 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Sunday, November 18, 2001 10:32 PM Anne, I'm just about the begin the tough part of 'The Bear'..have my hi-liters in hand. I've been aching to get to it but its been absurdly busy around here lately and I just haven't had the time to sit and read for the last couple of days.. I have a feeling I'm going to need all the help I can get from here on out with this one. Beej
Topic: The Bear; Wm. Faulkner (4 of 5), Read 10 times Conf: Constant Reader From: R Bavetta rbavetta@prodigy.net Date: Sunday, November 18, 2001 10:42 PM The Bear ate me alive. Ruth "I don't have a favorite song. I only have the song I'm singing today" Berenice Reagon
Topic: The Bear; Wm. Faulkner (5 of 5), Read 11 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Sunday, November 18, 2001 11:36 PM Ruth, I love what I've read so far in The Bear. Even tho Lion's story was covered in a few pages, I felt like crying when he died...and then when I figured out it was Sam Parent's body on that platform by Lion's grave, I had to set the book aside because it affected me so deeply. But, I know the section that ate you alive is yet to come. I'm counting on that hi-liter business to help me sort it out. Beej
Topic: The Bear; Wm. Faulkner (6 of 8), Read 12 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Anne Wilfong anne.wilfong@gte.net Date: Monday, November 19, 2001 11:53 PM I finished BEAR last night. Hell of a thing to do before trying to sleep. There is just so much meat in this I barely know where to begin. I'm in the process of formulating my idea of the scope of this story, and I'm not sure if the words will even come. I am so incredibly struck by Faulkner's sense of place in this story. The place Southerners know the way salmon know where to go each year. The imprint of who they are in relation to their kin, their friends, their land, their history. I just don't think any other region in the country has the same feeling. If so, then no other author has expressed it for them as Faulkner has for Southerners. His words, spoken through Isaac, in the second half of the story put me through the gamut of emotions. From the "ah ha!" to the "hmmm" to the "what the hell??" I had no need for a highlighter. I could easily tell when Macaslin spoke or Isaac spoke. When this headache of mine clears and I have a chance to reread a few passages, I can be more coherent. This story just blew me away. Sam's death at the time of Old Ben's death did not surprise me--he had orchestrated it--but it still shook me to my core. Anne
Topic: The Bear; Wm. Faulkner (7 of 8), Read 8 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Steve Warbasse swarbasse@iowabar.org Date: Tuesday, November 20, 2001 09:32 AM This becomes a bit important now: Ode on a Grecian Urn by John Keats THOU still unravish'd bride of quietness, Thou foster-child of Silence and slow Time, Sylvan historian, who canst thus express A flowery tale more sweetly than our rhyme: What leaf-fringed legend haunts about thy shape Of deities or mortals, or of both, In Tempe or the dales of Arcady? What men or gods are these? What maidens loth? What mad pursuit? What struggle to escape? What pipes and timbrels? What wild ecstasy? Heard melodies are sweet, but those unheard Are sweeter; therefore, ye soft pipes, play on; Not to the sensual ear, but, more endear'd, Pipe to the spirit ditties of no tone: Fair youth, beneath the trees, thou canst not leave Thy song, nor ever can those trees be bare; Bold Lover, never, never canst thou kiss, Though winning near the goal—yet, do not grieve; She cannot fade, though thou hast not thy bliss, For ever wilt thou love, and she be fair! Ah, happy, happy boughs! that cannot shed Your leaves, nor ever bid the Spring adieu; And, happy melodist, unwearièd, For ever piping songs for ever new; More happy love! more happy, happy love! 25 For ever warm and still to be enjoy'd, For ever panting, and for ever young; All breathing human passion far above, That leaves a heart high-sorrowful and cloy'd, A burning forehead, and a parching tongue. Who are these coming to the sacrifice? To what green altar, O mysterious priest, Lead'st thou that heifer lowing at the skies, And all her silken flanks with garlands drest? What little town by river or sea-shore, Or mountain-built with peaceful citadel, Is emptied of its folk, this pious morn? And, little town, thy streets for evermore Will silent be; and not a soul, to tell Why thou art desolate, can e'er return. O Attic shape! fair attitude! with brede Of marble men and maidens overwrought, With forest branches and the trodden weed; Thou, silent form! dost tease us out of thought As doth eternity: Cold Pastoral! When old age shall this generation waste, Thou shalt remain, in midst of other woe Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou say'st, 'Beauty is truth, truth beauty,—that is all Ye know on earth, and all ye need to know.' Steve
Topic: The Bear; Wm. Faulkner (8 of 8), Read 8 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Steve Warbasse swarbasse@iowabar.org Date: Tuesday, November 20, 2001 09:37 AM I agree with your observations about Sam's death very much, Anne. This is a wonderful passage wherein Ike sizes up the situation: He was old. He had no children, no people, none of his blood anywhere above earth that he would ever meet again. And even if he were to, he could not have touched it, spoken to it, because for seventy years now he had had to be a negro. It was almost over now and he was glad. Steve
Topic: The Bear; Wm. Faulkner (9 of 15), Read 31 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Tuesday, November 20, 2001 08:19 PM I'll tell you who I thought was one hell of a man in The Bear...Thucydus, Eunice's husband. Lucius left Thucydus 10 acres in his Will as a 'peace' offering for inadvertently causing the deaths of Thucydus' wife and her daughter, Tomasina. Thucydus refused the land. He was also left $200. He refused this, too. He was manumitted...freed.. because of all that happened, and yet it was all that happened that really enslaved him (he could never be free so long as memory lasted.) But, 'he needed to go and never return.' He needed that $200 but rather take it and leave, he stayed and worked it out in the fields. It took four years to attain what could have been his through Lucius' Will. And in 1841, Thucydus had earned that $200 and moved to Jefferson, where he became a blacksmith. This was one hell of a man. His wife and daughter, though slaves, were not going to be bought by 10 acres and $200. He could have simply taken that money and been rid of these people, but then he would have been enslaved to them for the remainder of his life. I think a man who has principles this high, is always free. Beej
Topic: The Bear; Wm. Faulkner (10 of 15), Read 27 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Tuesday, November 20, 2001 09:09 PM I think Lucius was in love with the slave, Eunice. Lucius, 'who never went anywhere', travelled 300 miles to New Orleans to purchase Eunice. He would not have done this simply to provide a wife for a slave. Then I read this: 'Eunice walked into 'the icy creek, on that Christmas day SIX MONTHS BEFORE HER DAUGHTER'S AND HER LOVER'S....HER FIRST LOVER'S...CHILD WAS BORN' Eunice, 'griefless, ceremonial, in formal and succinct repudiation of grief and despair, who had already had to repudiate belief and hope.' Eunice did not kill herself because her daughter died, as I previously believed. She killed herself BEFORE her daughter died..and I don't think it was because Tomasina was pregnant as a result of incest. I think she killed herself because she lost Lucius to her daughter. Beej
Topic: The Bear; Wm. Faulkner (11 of 15), Read 19 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Anne Wilfong anne.wilfong@gte.net Date: Tuesday, November 20, 2001 10:57 PM Steve, It's ironic that you posted the Yeats poem. I learned (and loved) that work at the hands of the same English teacher who instilled a fear of Faulkner in me. And now I'm learning and loving Faulkner. The ending of The Bear has me buffaloed. Boon sitting on the ground beating on his rifle parts, under the gum tree full of squirrels. "Get out of here! Don't touch them! Don't touch a one of them!They're mine!" And that's it. Finished. Please tell me what I missed--or did I miss nothing? Ike had been to Sam's and the bear's graves; Boon, who was never a hunter worth a damn, is determined to claim the squirrels? Anne
Topic: The Bear; Wm. Faulkner (12 of 15), Read 19 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Tuesday, November 20, 2001 11:19 PM My God, am I ever dense!...had no idea of the significance of 'Ode To A Grecian Urn' until it swooshed down into my brain just this minute...those highlighted stanzas are what Caslin read to Ike! and that ties right back to what Caslin said earlier concerning the land and all.. '..if truth is one thing to me and another thing to you, how will we choose which is truth? You don't need to choose. The heart already knows.' Beej
Topic: The Bear; Wm. Faulkner (13 of 15), Read 11 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Steve Warbasse swarbasse@iowabar.org Date: Wednesday, November 21, 2001 11:03 AM Anne, note that it's Keats. Just one letter difference but a lot of difference otherwise. The closing scene with Boon is interesting. All I see there is a kind of comic comment by Faulkner on the idea that a man can own the land. It is ridiculous for Boon to claim those squirrels are his. But is it not just as ridiculous for any man to claim ownership of a rectangle of land? When one looks at it the way Faulkner is here? As far as "Ode on a Grecian Urn" is concerned, Faulkner refers to it in other books, too. It is of some immense significance for our interpretation of this story, I'm sure, but I am the first to admit that after much thought, I haven't got it yet. Maybe someday before I die. Or maybe one has to be in the immediate process of dying--in extremis--to get it. One has this man and woman frozen forever in this pose on the Grecian urn. An unravished bride. And we. . .and Ike. . .are supposed to derive some metaphysical comfort from that. But beyond that. . . ? I'll post the damn thing over in the poetry conference to see whether I might get some help there. Steve
Topic: The Bear; Wm. Faulkner (14 of 15), Read 10 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Anne Wilfong anne.wilfong@gte.net Date: Wednesday, November 21, 2001 11:28 AM Beej, I'm with you. When I read Ike's words, my brain knew I'd heard them many times before. But in keeping up with the flow and all the other huge thoughts in this section, I missed that these were Keats' (got it right this time, Steve!) words. All this is a bit overpowering for me. I appreciate everyone's help in guiding me through my readings. Anne
Topic: The Bear; Wm. Faulkner (15 of 15), Read 5 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Steve Warbasse swarbasse@iowabar.org Date: Wednesday, November 21, 2001 11:51 AM I agree in spades with your "overpowering" comment, Anne. Obviously, this story is not for everyone, but there are those of us who are, for some reason or another, very vulnerable to it. Wonderful to discuss it with those types. I swear, the first part is the greatest hunting story I have ever read, but it so much, much more than that. (Dare I say that I consider Moby Dick a pretty good hunting story, too?) We're going to shed more light on it here, but we will never get to the bottom of it, I am convinced. Steve

Topic: The Bear; Wm. Faulkner (16 of 19), Read 15 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Wednesday, November 21, 2001 02:30 PM Anne, you know what? This is a first reading for me and I'm getting a lot out of it. I think as I re-read it thru the years I'll pick up on more and more. So we miss things here and there..I think you and I are doing really great to get as much as we are out of a first reading of this. Beej
Topic: The Bear; Wm. Faulkner (17 of 19), Read 10 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Anne Wilfong anne.wilfong@gte.net Date: Wednesday, November 21, 2001 07:36 PM Beej, Have you finished the book yet? The final story just warmed my heart. A nice way to start the holiday weekend. Now, it's time to open a bottle of my favorite big red, hardy old vine zin (not the pink stuff!), read the intro to THE PORTABLE FAULKNER, watch the Duke game, and get ready for the prodigal son to arrive. Anne
Topic: The Bear; Wm. Faulkner (18 of 19), Read 9 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Wednesday, November 21, 2001 09:42 PM Anne, I'm almost done!...the kids have been out of school, and with company and holiday doings, my reading has been catch-as-catch-can. But I did pick up The Portable Faulkner..and looking forward to that. Beej
Topic: The Bear; Wm. Faulkner (19 of 19), Read 4 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Felix Miller felix3rd@bellsouth.net Date: Friday, November 23, 2001 08:13 AM Hello, all, Here I am, somewhat late to all this Faulkner discussion, which I have enjoyed reading so much. I envy those of you who have read "The Bear" for the first time. I still remember my first read of it, in tenth grade. Whoa! Steve, thanks for quoting "Grecian Urn" in its entirety. As I remarked somewhere else, WF was obviously much taken with this poem. One way (of many) to approach "The Bear" (and all of GDM, for that matter) is as Faulkner's ode on a Yoknapatawphan urn. The characters, the animals, the very woods are all caught in a frieze of words, instead of marble. Ike's coming of age in this part of GDM is set against an elegaic sense of the passing of real wilderness. The deep woods in which the action of "The Bear" takes place have already been bargained away to timber interests, as we see in the end of the book. Ike is inducted, you might say, into a dying brotherhood. And Sam Fathers, the essence of this brotherhood, dies at the climatic moment of the hunt. Ike McCaslin as an old man must travel far to the south for hunting big woods. The key moment of Ike's acceptance of life as a hunter is his encounter with the bear, all by himself. This can only occur once Ike has set both his watch and compass on the stump, and goes to seek the bear shriven of all technology. This is a great book and story, and I will be back to comment more. O the Book/ Of the Dead, and the dead bright sun on the page/ Where the team stands ready to explode/ In all directions with Time... Felix Miller
Topic: The Bear; Wm. Faulkner (20 of 32), Read 17 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Steve Warbasse swarbasse@iowabar.org Date: Friday, November 23, 2001 12:37 PM Excellent, Felix. Certainly, Ike and the bear in their encounter there (when Ike is so close he can see the tick on its leg) are frozen forever just as is that couple on the urn. Steve
Topic: The Bear; Wm. Faulkner (21 of 32), Read 16 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Steve Warbasse swarbasse@iowabar.org Date: Friday, November 23, 2001 01:27 PM Anne, did it seem as fitting to you as it did to me that the title story at the end focused on old Mollie? Faulkner does these old black women with such obvious affection. . .and admiration, from my point of view. Steve
Topic: The Bear; Wm. Faulkner (22 of 32), Read 16 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Anne Wilfong anne.wilfong@gte.net Date: Friday, November 23, 2001 01:50 PM Steve, That's an issue I've been grappling with and need to read more of Faulkner to get a really good feeling for. To me, the whites are more the scallywags and the mean-tempered ones, and the blacks are seen in a light of fondness, despite any character flaws. And the black women are treated gently. In the first few pages of the intro in "THE PORTABLE FAULKNER", the author alludes to Faulkner's early years, when his interactions with the black maids and household help left a seemingly indelible imprint on him. I think this is widely reflected in his stories. Anne
Topic: The Bear; Wm. Faulkner (23 of 32), Read 24 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Friday, November 23, 2001 02:44 PM Anne, this has been fun, hasn't it? And as a Faulkner newcomer I've learned so much from those who know and understand his works far more than I ever will. Thank you to all who made Faulkner a little less intimidating for me. And, tho at times I came to wrong conclusions and made some pretty off the wall statements, I enjoyed it tremendously. Beej
Topic: The Bear; Wm. Faulkner (24 of 32), Read 20 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Felix Miller felix3rd@bellsouth.net Date: Friday, November 23, 2001 07:35 PM Anne said: ...the author alludes to Faulkner's early years, when his interactions with the black maids and household help left a seemingly indelible imprint on him. It is worth noting that Faulkner delivered the eulogy for Caroline Barr, "Aunt Callie" to him and his family, and her funeral was held from Rowan Oak, Faulkner's house. She is often cited as a prototype of Dilsey, in The Sound and the Fury. Faulkner also dedicated one of his books to her, it may be Go Down, Moses. My copy of GDM has wandered on without me, so someone else can check. O the Book/ Of the Dead, and the dead bright sun on the page/ Where the team stands ready to explode/ In all directions with Time... Felix Miller
Topic: The Bear; Wm. Faulkner (25 of 32), Read 23 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Anne Wilfong anne.wilfong@gte.net Date: Friday, November 23, 2001 07:53 PM Beej, I'm hoping more people will give Faulkner a try if they haven't yet. Instead of being intimidated (as I assumed I would be) I've been fascinated, excited, and more than occasionally perplexed--and it's been wonderful. Don't get bogged down in that "wrong conclusion" thing. The heck with conclusions. Keep reading and thinking, like you do so well, and it'll come eventually. At least, that's what I'm hoping for myself! What do we read next? Anne
Topic: The Bear; Wm. Faulkner (26 of 32), Read 24 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Steve Warbasse swarbasse@iowabar.org Date: Saturday, November 24, 2001 05:44 PM I know that everyone has other reading projects, Anne. As I suggested before, at some point we need to do two or three Faulkner short stories. As far as novels are concerned, I have harped on those big six, but several of the "lesser" novels are easier reads and very, very entertaining. Of those my own personal favorite is The Unvanquished, which features an intrepid little grandma who feeds her family by defrauding the Union Army in Mississippi. Great little novel. Steve
Topic: The Bear; Wm. Faulkner (27 of 32), Read 15 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Saturday, November 24, 2001 09:52 PM Anne, I'm not bogged down in wrong conclusions! I probably should be, but I'm not! I've become fascinated with this author, but needed to veer off into an easier author for a bit, is all. But, I'm looking forward to more Faulkner..I'm especially eager to learn about the Sutpens. Beej
Topic: The Bear; Wm. Faulkner (28 of 32), Read 17 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Anne Wilfong anne.wilfong@gte.net Date: Sunday, November 25, 2001 12:50 AM I need to focus on some other reading for a week or so, but who knows if that will really happen. Steve, I know you've mentioned the "big 6" novels, but I was wondering if it would be better to read a series chronologically? Or does it matter? Like reading SARTORIS before taking on THE SOUND AND THE FURY? I guess there's no "right" way. But which short stories did you have in mind? I can see if they're in my library Wednesday (my day off.) Anne
Topic: The Bear; Wm. Faulkner (29 of 32), Read 16 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Sunday, November 25, 2001 08:38 AM Anne, speaking of temporarily veering away from Faulkner's novels, I looked up some of his poetry, thinking it would be interesting to discuss a few, but I thought they were pretty horrid so didn't bother posting them. Beej
Topic: The Bear; Wm. Faulkner (30 of 32), Read 14 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Anne Wilfong anne.wilfong@gte.net Date: Sunday, November 25, 2001 01:13 PM Apparently you're not the only one who has had that reaction to his poetry, Beej. He dropped poetry once he found his niche in writing novels. There's enough poetry to be found in those, I'd say. Anne
Topic: The Bear; Wm. Faulkner (31 of 32), Read 19 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Steve Warbasse swarbasse@iowabar.org Date: Sunday, November 25, 2001 02:17 PM At some point or another, one ought to read his most famous short story, "A Rose for Emily." However, I like another story called "Barn Burning," a barn burning being a traditional rural means of revenge. Also, I find a story called "Spotted Horses" to be very funny. One of the Snopes clan brings a batch of perfectly wild, unbreakable Texas horses into Yoknapatawpha County, and auctions them off. Havoc and destruction follow. My partiality for these two may be because of my rural childhood. Lastly, another that I find entertaining every time is "Turnabout," the story of a crew member of a British torpedo boat and a crew member of an American bomber who trade rides for the thrill of it. Faulkner was like Fitzgerald in the sense that he wrote short stories in a desperate attempt to make money while he wrote novels. Many of these short stories were then later incorporated into novels. Steve
Topic: The Bear; Wm. Faulkner (32 of 32), Read 20 times Conf: Constant Reader From: Beej Connor connorva@mindspring.com Date: Sunday, November 25, 2001 03:54 PM I read a Faulkner quote on a site I found where an elderly woman read a complicated passage to Faulkner from one of his books and asked him why he wrote stuff like that. "For money." he replied. Anne, for me to know a poem is horrid, its got to be REAL bad. I'll post one of his if I can find it again. Here is a link to A Rose For Emily: http://www.online-library.org/fictions/emily.html I don't know if this is an abridged version or not. Beej