Faulkner's The Unvanquished (Cliffs notes) by James L. Roberts

By James L. Roberts

It is a novel from Faulkner's Yoknapatawpha sequence, facing the Sartori and Snopes households, representing the noblest facets of humanity and the worst, respectively.

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CHARACTER ANALYSES BAYARD SARTORIS In many ways, The Unvanquished can be seen as a Bildungsroman--that is, as a novel tracing the growth of a character from youth to manhood. " At twelve, he is on the verge of manhood, but he is still playing childish games of war; at twenty-four, he is in full possession of his mature powers and asserts them in "An Odor of Verbena," finally putting an end to unnecessary violence. Each story, however, since it was published separately, is able to stand alone, without relying too heavily on the other stories; consequently, even though we see Bayard changing and maturing in one story, sometimes that change occurs only within the context of that certain story and does not carry over from one story to the next.

The "pot shot" which Bayard takes at one of the Yankees is only a juvenile extension of the war games which he and Ringo are playing. Bayard does not realize the full seriousness of taking a shot at a Yankee. His immaturity is further seen in the final scene of this story; he is so young and so physically small that both he and Ringo are able to hide underneath Granny's hoop skirts while the Yankee soldiers are searching for them elsewhere. Also in this first story of the novel, Bayard accepts Ringo, his black friend, as either an equal or as someone superior in knowledge to himself.

We first hear of Drusilla when her brother tells Bayard and Ringo how she defied the Yankees who were about to take her horse. She threatens to kill her horse (a horse she is deeply fond of) rather than let the Yankees take it. This extraordinary act of daring (and sacrifice, if necessary) characterizes Drusilla as being different from all the other women in the novel. When Drusilla's fiancé, Gavin Breckbridge, is killed at the Battle of Shiloh and, later, when Drusilla's father is killed in the war, Drusilla shows no grief in the traditional southern manner of copious weeping and wearing black; her mother, Louisa, thinks that Drusilla has deliberately tried to "unsex herself" because of her refusal to weep.

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