Posted in Short Stories

William Faulkner: Turnabout

‘Well, here they come. Look at them! They look like mosquitoes in September. I hope he don’t get worked up now and think he’s playing beaver. If he does he’ll just be one down to Ronnie, provided the devil has a beard….Want the wheel?’

In William Faulkner’s “Turnabout”, Claude, a young English naval soldier in France during World War I, drunkenly talks Bogard, a pilot, into letting him fly with him. As the title might imply, Bogard then goes out with Claude in a small torpedo boat on the English channel.

My understanding is that Faulkner was rejected from joining the Army because he wasn’t tall enough; however, he tends to write about military things in very detailed believable fashion. Of course, I’m not an expert on military details so I can’t really say. I am curious, though, whether he learned about these types of maneuvers from anyone in particular.

I’m not sure what Faulkner was trying to do with this story outside of putting two people into situations with which they are not familiar. The results? They both throw up.

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