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The Themes of Wilderness and the White Man in William Faulkner's The Bear

Project id 1012503
Subject area Arts Entertainment
Document type Essay
Words 3075
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The Themes of Wilderness and the White Man in William Faulkner's The Bear William Faulkner's The Bear is bilateral in plot and subject. The initial half of this story looks at the wilderness and the virtues person may hear from it. The second half applies these virtues to civilization, exposing the white guy's corruption and abuse of the property. A careful look at the interaction with these two halves shows just one unifying theme: person must learn virtue from character. Faulkner believed humility, pride, courage, and liberty would be almost impossible for man to understand with no wilderness to instruct him. The initial half of the story tells a bittersweet tale of a boy who wished to learn pride and humility so as to become skillful and worthy from the woods but found himself getting so skillful so fast that he feared he'd never become worthy because he hadn't heard humility and pride though he had tried, until one day an old guy who couldn't have defined either directed him as if by the hand to where an older bear and a tiny mongrel dog showed him that, by owning one thing other, he'd have them both. (283) The "old man" is Sam Fathers, "son of a Negro slave and an Indian man." While he "couldn't have described either" pride or humility, he still understood them during his Indian and Negro heritage. The boy is Isaac, or Ike, McCaslin, the protagonist who learns virtue in the jungle and repudiates his grandfather's corrupt inheritance. The above passage describes the high purpose of the initial half of this story in which Ike saves his small dog from the beat of this towering stand. Ike is so near the bear he will see "that there [is] a major wood tick just inside his off hind leg." This act gives h.. .

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