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Special Issue Articles

Vol. 3 No. 1 (2021): Im/Mobilities in American Culture

William Faulkner's Go Down, Moses: A Chronicle of Im/Mobilities

April 30, 2019


"William Faulkner’s Go Down, Moses (1942) focuses on what the author calls the "earth's long chronicle," a century-long story about an imaginary and truthful land of the American South. In this article, I show how this chronicle is built on the idea of "im/mobility," considered from different perspectives. First, the seven stories that form Go Down, Moses depict various forms of exploitation, the effects induced by time and human movements on fields, woods, and animals, underlying the contrast between an "immobile" wilderness and a "mobile" (tamed, exploited) plantation. Second, these stories follow the destiny of the im/mobile people who inhabit the land—like Ike McCaslin, the most prominent character, who is blamed precisely for his "immobility," i.e. his inability to take action and change the status quo, at the end of the story. Finally, the literary form of Go Down, Moses contains the idea of "im/mobility" in its hybrid and fragmented structure, halfway between a novel and a short story collection.


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