William Faulkner

Early Life

One of the celebrated authors of American history, William Faulkner, was born on the 25th of September in 1897 in Mississippi. He was an intelligent child of Murry Cuthbert Falkner, a businessman, while his mother, Maud Butler, was a timid homemaker. Following William’s birth, the family moved to Ripley, Mississippi, where his father shared his grandfather’s business. However, when his grandfather sold his business, William’s family made a further move. They resettled in Oxford, where his father got indulged in a respectable business and made a good future for his family. Faulkner spent his early years with his artistic grandmother and well-read mother who crucially influenced his little yet creative brain.


He attained initial grounding in reading and writing from home as his mother and grandmother were avid readers, painters, and photographers. They taught him the art of reading as well as visual languages. Before joining a public school for formal education, he was exposed to classics such as Grimms’ Fairy Tales and Charles Dickens. Despite his remarkable intelligence, he never earned a high school diploma. Although he tried hard to adjust to the school environment, ye he failed to do so. After dropping out, he worked in his grandfather’s bank.

Personal Life

During his stay at Oxford, Faulkner met and showed affection for Estelle Oldham, a daughter of an army man. Although both shared the same kind of fondness for each other, the lady failed to keep up her promise and married the man of her father’s choice. Unfortunately, she failed to share a lasting bond, and the couple parted ways after ten years in 1929. After two months, William Faulkner and Estelle Oldham tied a knot. The couple had a daughter from this bond.


After mesmerizing the world with his remarkable literary pieces, Faulkener’s life took a tragic turn on the 17th of June in 1962, when he fell from his horse and suffered serious injuries. After recovering from this fatal accident, he died of a severe heart attack on the 6th of July in 1962 and was buried in St. Peter’s Cemetery in Oxford.

Some Important Facts about Him

  1. He was awarded Nobel Prize in Literature in 1949.
  2. He won two National Book Awards and two Pulitzer Prizes.
  3. He started imitating popular Scottish and English authors such as A. E. Housman, A. C. Swinburne, and Robert Burns,
  4. His novel, Sanctuary, was adopted into films twice; first in 1933 and later in 1961.

His Career

William Faulkner started his writing career in 1919 when wrote for a student newspaper, The Mississippian. These early publications earned him a great name world and paved the way for further publications. Later, in 1924, he came up with his collection of short stories, The Marble Faun, which proved to be a big hit. Following this success, he published some essays for a local magazine which further added to his name. His first novel, Soldiers’ Pay, was published in 1925. His other notable publications include The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying, Requiem for a Nun, and Sanctuary.

His Style

One of the leading American writers, William Faulkner, is known for his unique experimental writing approach of using impressive diction, presenting scrupulous details of characters, and weaving complex sentence structures. To lure his readers, he has rather presented multiple voices of characters couched in distinct perspectives. For example, his short stories exhibit a cerebral, emotional, and complex writing style with the addition of Gothic elements. As far as his novels are concerned, they present a variety of subjects, ranging from poor strata to working-class, history, racism, modernism, and generation gap. Regarding literary devices, he often turns toward dark imagery, foreshadowing, rhetorical devices, symbolism, and metaphors. Some of the important themes of his writings include tradition, class distinction, family values, cultural clash, and man’s capacity for evil, primitivism versus civilization, and nature and transcendentalism.

Some Important Works of William Faulkner

  • Best Works: Some of his best pieces include The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying, Sanctuary, Light in August and Go Down, Moses including the celebrated work, The Sound and Fury.

William Faulkner’s Impact on Future Literature

William Faulkner left a considerable and impressive literary legacy to the world; his writings seems to have brilliantly captured the complexities of both the rural American South’s dark past and its beauty. Also, the credit goes to the University of Mississippi, which has played a vital role in preserving his legacy; it has maintained a collection of his manuscripts, correspondence, and papers. Now his fans and research scholars visit the library and continue to get a lesson from the author about their attitude toward life. Several young writers still consider him a role model along with Hemingway when making a career in writing.

Important Quotes

  1. “…I give you the mausoleum of all hope and desire…I give it to you not that you may remember time, but that you might forget it now and then for a moment and not spend all of your breath trying to conquer it. Because no battle is ever won he said. They are not even fought. The field only reveals to man his own folly and despair, and victory is an illusion of philosophers and fools.” (The Sound and the Fury)
  2. “Clocks slay time… time is dead as long as it is being clicked off by little wheels; only when the clock stops does time come to life.” (The Sound and the Fury)
  3. “He had a word, too. Love, he called it. But I had been used to words for a long time. I knew that that word was like the others: just a shape to fill a lack; that when the right time came, you wouldn’t need a word for that any more than for pride or fear….One day I was talking to Cora. She prayed for me because she believed I was blind to sin, wanting me to kneel and pray too, because people to whom sin is just a matter of words, to them salvation is just words too.” (As I Lay Dying)