Posted in Short Stories

William Faulkner: The Brooch

He was not thinking at all. He had just thought once, quietly, So that’s that. So now I suppose I will know, find out what I am going to do and then no more, not even thinking that again.

In William Faulkner’s “The Brooch”, Howard Boyd is torn between his creepy mother and his wife. This isn’t that uncommon among literature but Faulkner puts this conflict into a wonderfully gothic story with an intense buildup to a horror-style ending.

Howard isn’t exactly Norman Bates – his mother remains alive. She makes no bones about hating his wife. While she doesn’t stay in the basement she manages to control everyone from her bedroom. A stroke doesn’t keep her “down”.

The sparse conversations between Howard and his wife, Howard and his mother and even his wife and his mother eerily lead to the story’s final scene.

Faulkner also uses italics in this story (it may not be the first of these stories but I haven’t noticed it as much as in “The Brooch”). In this story, the italics simply allows us to know what Howard is thinking in addition to what he says to the ladies in his life. In his novels, though, Faulkner takes italics to a whole new level.

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