Posted in Short Stories

William Faulkner: Wash

Yet still the gaunt, furious figure came on against the glare and roar of the flames. With the scythe lifted, it bore down upon them, upon the wild glaring eyes of the horses and the swinging glints of gun barrels, without any cry, any sound.

I don’t know which came first: William Faulkner’s short story “Wash” or his novel Absalom! Absalom!. But both are connected. Wash Jones is Thomas Sutpen’s companion for twenty years. Wash lives in an old rundown cabin on what used to be Sutpen’s plantation. Even though Wash is white, Sutpen treats him the way he treats most of his former slaves.

The “culmination” of Wash Jones and Thomas Sutpen’s relationship is a significant plot point in Absalom! Absalom! but as with much of Faulkner’s writing, it can be tricky figuring out exactly what is going on. He doesn’t spell out everything and in some cases he seems to actually hide things.

The horrific aspects of Sutpen’s relationship with Wash and his granddaughter are a little more straightforward in “Wash”. This story makes things a little clearer as Thomas Sutpen’s world collapses in the aftermath of the American Civil War.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s