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Black vs. White and New vs. Old in Go Down, Moses

Black vs. White and New vs. Old in Go Down, Moses

In the novel Go Down, Moses, William Faulkner examines the relationship between blacks and whites in the South. His attempt to trace the evolution of the roles and mentalities of whites and blacks from the emancipation to the 1940s focuses on several key transitional figures. In “The Fire and the Hearth,” Lucas Beauchamp specifically represents two extremes of pride: in the old people, who were proud of their land and their traditions; and in the new generation, whose pride forced them to break away from the traditions of the South. Lucas’ background uniquely shapes him for this role. He represents the general sentiments of both blacks and whites because of his mixed heritage, and he represents the old and the new through his simultaneous pride in and rebellion against his blood relation to Lucius Quintus Carothers McCaslin. The new generation, both whites and blacks, rebelled against the respect older Southerners held for the land and tradition, although each rebelled for different reasons.

As a sharecropper on Zack Edmonds’ farm, Lucas displays his pride in his connection to Carothers McCaslin in a subtle, often unspoken manner. Yet this pride always exists parallel to his defensive pride in the black blood mixed with that white blood. Lucas credits the blood of Carothers in him as the source of the courage he needed to confront, and attempt to shoot, Zack Edmonds. But at the same time, the action that that courage initiated was an act of rebellion against what Lucas perceived as white oppression of his rights:

Then, not rising yet, he took the cartridge from his pocket and looked at it again, musing–the live cartridge, not even stained, not corroded, the…

… middle of paper …

…, as they were no longer relevant to their world.

All in all, Lucas Beauchamp’s mixed heritage leads to opposing extremes of pride. Faulkner uses this duality to represent both blacks and whites in their transition from the old to the new generation. Lucas lives in the time after the emancipation, yet he has strong ties to the old traditions of the South because of the connections he has to Lucius Quintus Carothers McCaslin. Lucas’ character thus represents the new, the old, the black, and the white. It covers the broad spectrum of mentalities of the South in the period which Faulkner treated in Go Down, Moses. Faulkner created a complex, viable character in Lucas to reveal the complexity and intertwining of all the different aspects of the South: racial and generational.

Works Cited:

Faulkner, William. Go Down Moses. New York: The Modern Library, 1995.

Free Essays – The Excellent Tale of Ernest Hemingway’s A Farewell to Arms

A Farewell to Arms Inspiring

Ernest Hemingway^s A Farewell to Arms captures the inspiring

trials and tribulations of a disillusioned man caught between

love and war. Driving an ambulance on the Italian front of

World War One Frederick Henry discovers his values as he

realizes his love for Catherine Barkley, a innocent English


An American Second Lieutenant in the Italian Army^s Ambulance

Corps, Frederick Henry is depicted as an average man in search

of a set of values. Initially Frederick is lonely, lustful,

confused and restless, but as he becomes involved with

Catherine Barkley he finds his niche, and a meaning to life.

Frederick can be considered heroic in that he is honorable, not

interested in material commodities, and puts his fellow soldier

before himself. When the entire mess hall teases the priest

Frederick defends him and is his only true friend. Also, when

offered an award, Frederick refuses. Additionally, when he and

the other drivers were bombed, he ignores his own injuries to

assist the others and insists that the doctors treat others

before himself. Catherine Barkley is a young English nurse who

has already lost a fianc to the war and is introduced as

partially crazy. She begins her relationship with Frederick

pretending, he is her lost fianc who has returned, but soon

falls! in love with him and regains her sanity. Throughout

the story Catherine remains static, and represents the ideal Hemingway

character that Frederick is to become as the novel comes to an end.

The basic plot of the novel revolves around Frederick^s

relationship with Catherine. Frederick experiences the war in

the Italian Alps and sustains a leg injury that hospitalizes

him for several months. Although he knew Catherine before his

hospitalization, their relationship blossoms during this period

when he is away from the front. Soon after his return to the

front, there is a huge retreat and he takes his ambulance crew

on a back road to get around traffic. When he finally does

make it back to the army he is forced to desert in fear of

execution. He finds Catherine and they begin a new life

together in Switzerland. Ultimately, Frederick learns his

basic values through Catherine in their adventures of love,

war, and death during World War One. The theme shown is that

love can come from even the strangest places, also there is a

basic good versus evil shown by the dramatic tragedy at the


A Farewell to Arms is a very emotional and understanding

story. Throughout the book Frederick acted as a confused hero

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