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William Faulkner Essay, Research Paper

Tarleton 1

The Initiation into Manhood

The narratives of male childs & # 8217 ; inductions into manhood are apparent in many of the most interesting escapade narratives of all clip. The passage is challenging because so much importance is put on this portion of a male child & # 8217 ; s life or possibly narratives of coming of age are more entertaining. The writer William Faulkner is good known for narratives about the passage from boyhood to manhood. One peculiar narrative tells the narrative of a male child & # 8217 ; s quest to run a mystical bear named Old Ben. William Faulkner & # 8217 ; s & # 8220 ; The Bear & # 8221 ; describes the induction of Isaac ( Ike ) McCaslin from boyhood into manhood through his tools, experiences with the bear, and his Hunts.

Ike & # 8217 ; s coming of age is symbolized throughout the narrative by his guns. When he foremost goes on the Hunt with his male parent and the other work forces, Ike uses a gun that is excessively large for him that belongs to person else ( Faulkner 375 ) . At this point Ike is still considered a male child and non yet worthy of holding his ain arm. The undermentioned twelvemonth, nevertheless, he had his ain gun, a Christmas nowadays he received that twelvemonth ( 377 ) . Ike is shown as turning up and able to hold a gun that belongs to him. As he gets older, he finds his ain gun is no longer worthy, and wants a adult male & # 8217 ; s gun, so he borrows the rifle of Walter Ewell, a good known and respected huntsman among his male parent & # 8217 ; s group ( 379 ) . Ike & # 8217 ; s existent coming of age happens when he comes to the realisation that it is non the rifle which makes him a adult male. & # 8220 ; He had left the gun ; of his ain will and relinquishment & # 8230 ; all the old regulations and balances of the huntsman and the hunted had been abrogated & # 8221 ; ( 378 ) . Ike & # 8217 ; s stairss through the realisation of the symbol of the gun enable him to go a adult male.

The other tools Ike uses during his Hunts besides mean his initiation into manhood. When Ike is immature, he uses a compass and a ticker to steer him through the wilderness. In his Hunts utilizing these tools Ike is unable to happen and see the bear he seeks. The gun, compass, and watch represent & # 8220 ; ways of rendering experience apprehensible & # 8221 ; ( Guetti 47 ) . Ike can non happen what he searches for because he is utilizing the tools of adult male when covering with nature. Not until Ike discards his ticker, compass, and gun does he & # 8220 ; receive nature & # 8217 ; s cast of manhood & # 8221 ; ( & # 8221 ; Faulkner & # 8221 ; 299 ) . Ike foremost had to recognize that he did non hold to utilize the tools before he could go a adult male.

The experiences Ike brushs with Old Ben, the bear, are of import stairss in his induction into manhood. Ike grows up hearing the narratives and myths of Old Ben and is consumed by a boyhood yearning to go a adult male by killing the animal. & # 8220 ; To the male child, [ the bear ] was still no life animal, but the wilderness & # 8221 ; ( Faulkner 375 ) and & # 8220 ; the really kernel of nature & # 8221 ; ( Hoffman 277 ) . Ike believes if he can kill the bear he will suppress the wilderness and go a adult male. In his young person he is mistaken by this premise. Ike thinks that if & # 8220 ; backyard coneies and squirrels at place were his kindergarten, so the wilderness the old bear ran was his college, the old male bear itself was his alma mater & # 8221 ; ( Faulkner 379 ) . With that in head Ike set out to go a adult male through the murder of Old Ben.

In his first experiences runing the bear, he is unable to happen or see it. He & # 8220 ; knew that the bear was looking at him. He ne’er saw it. He did non cognize whether it was in forepart of him or behind him. He did non travel, keeping the useless gun & # 8221 ; ( 376 ) . As he gets older he realizes there is something maintaining him from his trophy of manhood. Ike must see and run into the bear, but foremost he had to & # 8220 ; divest himself of manmade marks of fright and amour propre & # 8221 ; ( Lyndenberg 87 ) . The marks being the tools he is utilizing. When Ike comes to the decision that the gun is maintaining him from seeing the bear he sets off into the wilderness unarmed. But to his discouragement he still can non happen Old Ben. Ike realizes it is non merely his gun, but compass and ticker besides keeping him back ( 88 ) . Ike discards the ticker and compass and eventually becomes & # 8220 ; pure & # 8221 ; ( 88 ) .

Then he saw the bear. It did non emerge, appear ; it was merely at that place, immobile, solid, fixed in the hot dappling of the green and windless midday, non every bit large as he had

dreamed it, but every bit large as he had expected. Then it was gone. It didn & # 8217 ; t walk into the

forests, the underbrush. It faded, sank back into the wilderness as he had watched a immense old bass, sink and vanish into the dark deepnesss of its pool without even any motion of its fives. ( Faulkner 378 )

Ike & # 8217 ; s first experience with Old Ben puts him on the existent way of going a adult male and teaches him & # 8220 ; the difference between recklessness and bravery, between savageness and grasp of the holiness of the wild & # 8221 ; ( & # 8221 ; Bear & # 8221 ; 676 ) .

Ike & # 8217 ; s following experience with the bear came two old ages subsequently, when Ike was 14, and is his existent measure between boyhood and manhood. Ike sees the bear one time once more while on a Hunt. He is set on killing Old Ben when he embarks, and this clip, is armed. Ike corners the bear and & # 8220 ; couldn & # 8217 ; Ts have missed him & # 8221 ; ( Faulkner 380 ) , but decides alternatively to put on the line his ain life to salvage his runing Canis familiaris that has charged the bear. & # 8220 ; He could hold shot long before the small Canis familiaris covered the 20 paces to where the bear waited & # 8221 ; ( 382 ) , but did non. His refusal is his ain measure between boyhood and manhood. It is the world of & # 8220 ; truth & # 8221 ; ( Guetti 48 ) . When Ike returns back to his house his male parent explains, & # 8221 ; Truth doesn & # 8217 ; t alteration. Truth is one thing. It covers all things which touch the heart- award and pride and commiseration and justness and bravery and love & # 8217 ; & # 8221 ; ( Faulkner 381 ) . Ike & # 8217 ; s experience with Old Ben enables him to take the needful stairss to go a adult male.

Another facet of & # 8220 ; The Bear & # 8221 ; that symbolize Ike & # 8217 ; s induction into manhood is his Hunts. They are both a & # 8220 ; chase and a pursuit & # 8221 ; ( Hoffman 275 ) . In his pursuit, Ike is the hero who seeks & # 8220 ; to detect the ultimate truths in an direct relationship with [ the bear ] , the spirit of the wilderness & # 8221 ; ( 276 ) , and go adult male. Ike & # 8217 ; s quest consists of three phases that allow him to go forth boyhood. The first phase occurs when Ike is twelve old ages old and hit his first vaulting horse. His face is marked with the blood and therefore he is foremost initiated and begins his journey into manhood ( Powers 164 ) . The 2nd phase happens shortly after when Ike is prosecuting the bear. He strips himself of & # 8220 ; the AIDSs of civilisation & # 8221 ; ( 164 ) : Compass, ticker, and gun, and faces the wilderness on his ain. Ike realizes that merely he has the power to make up one’s mind when he will go a adult male. The 3rd and concluding phase of Ike & # 8217 ; s induction takes topographic point when he refuses to kill Old Ben ( Hoffman 273 ) . He has eventually come to the realisation of truth, and finds & # 8220 ; losing the construct of manfulness and accepting the duty and non glorification of manhood is the trait which defines manhood & # 8221 ; ( Kestner 1 ) . After he knows this fact, Ike is genuinely a adult male.

William Faulkner uses many different ways to demo Ike & # 8217 ; s induction into manhood. His tools, experiences with Old Ben, and his Hunts are among the ways. All Faulkner & # 8217 ; s illustrations are an every bit of import portion of this narrative, and he found a manner to do all illustrations of induction in & # 8220 ; The Bear & # 8221 ; intertwined. Without one illustration, another might hold ne’er existed. In this manner, Faulkner creates one of the most genius narratives of coming of age, and illustrates how one male child must travel through many different experiences and realisations before he receives his & # 8220 ; cast of manhood & # 8221 ; ( & # 8221 ; Faulkner & # 8221 ; 299 ) .

Plants Cited

& # 8220 ; The Bear. & # 8221 ; Magill & # 8217 ; s Survey of American Literature. Ed. Frank N. Magill. New York: Marshall Cavendish Corporation, 1991.

Faulkner, William. & # 8220 ; The Bear. & # 8221 ; The United States in Literature. 7th erectile dysfunction. Ed. James E. Miller, Jr. , et. Al. Glenview, Illinois: Scott, Foresman and Company, 1985.

& # 8220 ; Faulkner, William. & # 8221 ; Encyclopedia of Southern Literature. Ed. Mary Ellen Snodgrass. Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 1997.

Guetti, James. & # 8221 ; The Sound and the Fury & # 8217 ; and The Bear. & # 8217 ; & # 8221 ; Modern Critical Positions: William Faulkner. Ed. Harold Bloom. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1986.

Hoffman, Daniel, erectile dysfunction. Faulkner & # 8217 ; s Country Matters. Baton Rouge: Louisiana State University Press, 1989.

Kestner, Wiley. & # 8220 ; Responsibility non Glory: The Passage from Boyhood to Manhood is Steinbeck & # 8217 ; s Flight & # 8217 ; and Faulkner & # 8217 ; s The Bear. & # 8217 ; & # 8221 ;

Lyndengerg, John. & # 8221 ; The Bear & # 8217 ; as a Nature Myth. & # 8221 ; Readings on William Faulkner. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1998.

Powers, Lyall H. & # 8220 ; The Structure of Go Down, Moses. & # 8221 ; Readings on William Faulkner. San Diego: Greenhaven Press, 1998.

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