Faulkner's "The Unvanquished"

Though Faulkner's The Unvanquished is set during the Civil War,
another war is being fought simultaneously. This second war is not one of
guns and thievery, but one of beliefs. It is a conflict between two
philosophies: idealism and pragmatism. This war rages on throughout the
novel, but is decided by one event: Bayard's decision not to avenge his
father's death.
An idealist is one who is guided by ideals, especially one that
places ideals before practical considerations. Life in Yoknapatawpha was
idealistic, as was life everywhere in the South at the time. The Southern
Code was entirely idealistic. Throughout the book, idealism seems dominant
over pragmatism. For example, all of the ...

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of belief. Bayard Sartoris was a pragmatist. He 'let his
conscience be his guide'. Telling his father about Drusilla's attempt to
seduce him and refusing to avenge his father's death are two good examples
of this. In the beginning of the novel, Bayard is shown to be simple minded,
but as time passes on and Bayard grows into a young man, his mind develops
and he ultimately ends the battle between idealism and pragmatism in one
carefully thought out decision.
The battle between the two philosophies is very subtle in the
beginning. But it grows and strengthens, and since there can only be one
winner, the pragmatist is victorious. When Bayard's father is killed, and
Bayard denies Drusilla the satisfaction of vengeance, Drusilla's idealistic
beliefs are shattered, and she is forced to leave, thus ending the war. The
Southern Code becomes nothing, because one person refuses to obey it.
When Faulkner wrote The Unvanquished, the Civil War appeared to be
the main event, but hidden ...

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Faulkner's "The Unvanquished". (2004, October 8). Retrieved June 20, 2018, from http://www.essayworld.com/essays/Faulkners-The-Unvanquished/15564
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Added: 10/8/2004 07:08:46 AM
Category: Book Reports
Type: Free Paper
Words: 436
Pages: 2

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