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William Faulkner's "The Bear" Analysis

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Rashidah Arkiel

on 21 February 2014

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Transcript of William Faulkner's "The Bear" Analysis



Faulkner's Voiced Perspective
The Bear (Old Ben)
The Annual Hunting Expeditions
The Dog (Lion)
The Bare Hunter (Isaac)
The Casualties (Sam, Old Ben, and Lion)
Human Settlement
The Snake (Grandfather)
Symbolic Meanings
King of the Forest

The other animals, like people, feared him.
He stalked the hunters and drew they're dogs away to slay them.
He protected his territory; the forest.
He could tower over the hunters when he stood.
Most hunters where afraid to approach him. Isaac literally learned the taste of fear when he met Old Ben.
A challenge to mankind
Hunters could not defeat him, they needed a special dog (Lion).
The Bear "Old Ben"
The Annual Hunt Symbolized:
The Annual Hunt
"The Bear" Analysis Breakdown
The main topics in the Essay:
Introduce the author and piece.

The Author's relationship with nature.

How nature contributes to "The Bear" and how Faulkner portrays it in his writing.

Symbolic meanings behind key components in the story.

Review of nature in "The Bear: Go Down Moses".
"They do not perceive themselves to be dominant over nature; rather, they perceive nature to be a powerful entity that man must admire and revere in order to find his way and place in it" (Kluesner). Faulkner explains that the hunter's admire and respect extent of nature's power over them.
"It was of the wilderness, the big woods, bigger and older than any recorded document—of white man fatuous enough to believe he had bought any fragment of it, of Indian ruthless enough to pretend that any fragment of it had been his to convey..." (Faulkner 135-230). Faulkner describes the wilderness in comparison to man in "
The Bear
In "The Bear" Faulkner voices nature with:
Analyzing key components:
by Rashidah A. Brown
William Faulkner's "The Bear" Analysis
The Bear "Old Ben" symbolized Nature.
A focused pursuit in life.

Hunters' escape from industrial areas.
They ventured into the wild every year to "get away".

Re-kindled relationship with nature.
Each year they would go to Major De Spain's camp to hunt and bond with each-other and revisit their bond with nature.

Connection to tradition as huntsmen.
They hunted with respect for the environment and lived off the land as they'd done for many years.

An annual challenge against Old Ben.
Each year they went into the forest where Old Ben lurked as challenge. Each year they failed to defeat him but it was something they enjoyed.
"It was the young hound which even a year ago had had no judgment and which, by the lights of the other hounds anyway, still had none. Maybe that’s what courage is, he thought" (Faulkner 135-230). Faulkner describes how Isaac was envious of a feist's fearless attempt to challenge the bear "Old Ben".

The Dog "Lion"
Lion symbolized:
Nature's balance.
Sam Father's believe he was the only dog who stood a chance against Old Ben.

Man's fear of the uncontrolled.
When Sam first trapped Lion the other hunters advised Sam to kill him, “I’d rather have Old Ben himself in my pack than that brute. Shoot him.” (Faulkner 135-230).

Nature manipulated by man.
Sam, starved and conditioned Lion to respond to his commands.

Tamed wilderness.
Lion became another one of the hunting dogs, domesticated like the rest.

A tool for man's desires.
Lion was still wild and powerful enough to fulfill his purpose to man; to catch Old Ben.

The Bare Hunter
Isaac tracking Old Ben without his compass, watch or gun, symbolized:
True nature is without the material tools of men.
Sam told Isaac the only way to find true wilderness was to leave behind those objects belonging to man (Faulkner 135-230).

Traditional, organic hunter and environment.
Isaac had to use his traditional hunting skills (that he learned from Sam) once he'd abandoned those objects.

Being at the total mercy of nature.
While he was out there, alone, he got lost and Old Ben was stalking him. He was vulnerable.

Hunter's confidence.
He remained calm and followed Sam's teachings and was able to find his way out. He grew more confident in his huntsman skills.

He was:
The Casualties
The Deaths of Sam, Old Ben and Lion, symbolized:
Sam Fathers:

The end to an authentic lineage of hunters; the Chickasaw.
The end of Isaac's apprenticeship.
Lion (The Dog):
It was the death of the only dog capable of catching Old Ben.
He served his purpose to man.
Old Ben (The Bear):

The end of the legend of the undefeated Old Ben.
His death meant man had conquered the wilderness; nature.
Hunters lost their motivation for rendezvous.
It was the beginning of the end of nature, due to industrial settlement.
Human Settlement
The logging company and the extended railroad symbolized:
The loss of hunter's ability to re-kindle the relationship they once had with nature.

The spread of industrial evolution in the area.

The end of the old hunters gatherings in the woods.

The loss of nature to mankind.

The Hunter's moving on.
The Snake "Grandfather"
The snake Isaac calls "Grandfather" symbolizes:
Just as the Buck did, the snake symbolizes the lingering spirit of wilderness.

The spirits of past lives that were once a part of the land that now lingers in the mystical form of the snake.
February 16, 2014
The Role of Nature in Faulkner's Writing
Nature is a huge aspect of Faulkner's "The Bear":
He puts attention of nature into the small details. He describe the scenery with vivid imagery.

While the story is told from Isaac's (man's) perspective, Faulkner is sure to keep the position of nature relevant.

Nature is portrayed as the foundation of the story. All the event's that take place relate to nature.

Over a vast time period in "The Bear", while human evolution is taking place around the area, most of Faulkner's focus is in the woods.
Issac's recounts the incident where he and Sam Fathers saw a large Buck years ago (in the previous story in Go Down Moses: "The Old People").
The Assignment
This presentation is the preview for an academic analytical paper on nature writers and their texts. It was assigned to SNHU COCE students in a
Nature Writers
literature course. The assignment was to select a nature writer, American or British, and one of their texts and write an analysis paper surrounding the theme of nature.

Throughout the LIT course students were given several other analysis assignments as preparation and practice for this final paper. I intend to use some key elements of nature writing analyzes, which were taught during the course, as a guide through the 6-8 page analysis assignment.
Faulkner wrote with the perspective of man and nature alike not ever claiming one to be good or evil; just two different perspectives.

His imagery in "The Bear" seems realistic. The plot and story itself is in fact fictional but Faulkner used real events in his life to bring the story together with realism. The Yoknapatawpha, for example, is a fictional location based on a real area in Mississippi .

Faulkner used his own southern country hunting experiences as a template for "The Bear". He speaks about the hunt and says, "This was a symbolization of the pursuit which is a normal part of anyone's life while he stays alive, told in terms which were familiar to me and dramatic to me." (Faulkner)
Faulkner's Use of Nature in His Writings
Faulkner's nature perspective in "The Bear"
Faulkner, William. Jefferson and Yoknapatawpha Country Mississippi. 1945. Map. Keuka College News, Keuka Park, New York. Web. 15 Feb 2014. <http://news.keuka.edu/academics/joiner-tasked-for-digital-faulkner-project>.
Quinton, Michael. Grizzly Bear (Ursus Arctos Horribilis) Lying Down in the Woods. N.d. Photograph. AllPostersWeb. 16 Feb 2014. <http://www.allposters.com/-sp/Grizzly-Bear-Ursus-Arctos-Horribilis-Lying-Down-in-the-Woods-Posters_i3605271_.htm?AID=646608408>.
William Faulkner The Bear. 2013. Photograph. iTunesWeb. 14 Feb 2014. <https://itunes.apple.com/ca/book/the-bear/id615274687?mt=11>.
(William Faulkner The Bear)
Noirbordeau2. 2005. Photograph. WikipediaWeb. 13 Feb 2014. <http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Noirbordeau2.jpg>.
2013. Photograph. Fodor'sTravelWeb. 16 Feb 2014. http://www.fodors.com/news/are-travel-agents-making-a-comeback-6350.html
Faulkner, William. Go Down, Moses: William Faulkner. Random House, 1942. 135-230. eBook.

Kluesner, Tina. “Imagining Difference: Altering Reality through the Wilderness in Faulkner’s “The Bear” and the Clearing in Morrison’s Beloved.” Southeast Missouri State University. Southeast Missouri State University, 13 Dec 2010. Web. 6 Feb 2014. <http://www.semo.edu/cfs/teaching/41255.htm>.
Tree.stumps21. N.d. Photograph. GoogleWeb. 12 Feb 2014. <http://georgiastumpremoval.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/09/tree.stumps21.jpg>.
Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake Wallpaper. 2013. Photograph. Wall.AlphacodersWeb. 14 Feb 2014. <http://wall.alphacoders.com/big.php?i=417657>.
Eastern Diamondback Rattlesnake
Assignment Formation
Concluding with an overall review of Faulkner's use of symbolism in "The Bear: Go Down Moses".
The final analysis will begin with brief descriptions of William Faulkner and his Novel, Go Down Moses.
Then, I intend to cover an analysis of William Faulkner's relationship with nature in his writing, the role of nature in "The Bear" and how Faulkner voices his perspective of nature throughout the story..
From there I hope to connect those points to the major symbolic factors and events in the story, such as the Hunt, Old Ben and Lion.
Lydenberg, John. American Literature. Issue 1. 24. Duke University Press, 1952. 62-72. eBook. <http://lmc.gatech.edu/~mcnair/Teaching/English_1101-2001/f-nature.pdf>
Faulkner, William. Combined Literature Classes 8 May 1958. May . Web. <faulkner.lib.virginia.edu/display/wfaudio29_2>
Works Cited
Kluesner, Tina. “Imagining Difference: Altering Reality through the Wilderness in Faulkner’s “The Bear” and the Clearing in Morrison’s Beloved.” Southeast Missouri State University. Southeast Missouri State University, 13 Dec 2010. Web. 6 Feb 2014. <http://www.semo.edu/cfs/teaching/41255.htm>.

Lydenberg, John. American Literature. Issue 1. 24. Duke University Press, 1952. 62-72. eBook. <http://lmc.gatech.edu/~mcnair/Teaching/English_1101-2001/f-nature.pdf>
Faulkner, William. Combined Literature Classes 8 May 1958. May . Web. <faulkner.lib.virginia.edu/display/wfaudio29_2>
Faulkner, William. Go Down, Moses: William Faulkner. Random House, 1942. 135-230. eBook.
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