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Three Famous Short Novels: Spotted Horses / Old Man / The Bear (1958)

Three Famous Short Novels: Spotted Horses / Old Man / The Bear (1958)
3.87 of 5 Votes: 5
0394701496 (ISBN13: 9780394701493)
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Three Famous Short Novels: Spotted Ho...
Three Famous Short Novels: Spotted Horses / Old Man / The Bear (1958)

About book: There were many moments of pleasure reading this collection, but Faulkner's style makes you work for those moments. His descriptions, his compaction of a person's or a place's history into one very long sentence, his changing of nouns into adjectives and vice versa, all that you expect of Faulkner are here, but also the maddening inability to let one read without making one guess constantly who the subject of this long sentence is and when and where are we in time and space.I have given up on several of his novels, but I did slog through these stories, so they may be more approachable, or maybe it was because I knew the last story was The Bear.The first was Spotted Horses, a great story about a traveling horse trader who comes to the area hawking some small, wild ponies, and the there are several hilarious scenes in which ponies get the best of their potential buyers, each of which is a portrait of Southern backwardness. Lurking always, is a Snopes, who may or may not be behind the selling of the horses, and who may or may not be profiting from the ignorance of his neighbors.Old Man is a fictionalization of the 1927 flooding of the Mississippi (the Old Man of the title). For once Faulkner's cataract of words has a subject worthy of its depths and power, a flood that engulfs an entire area, that actually engulfs smaller rivers so that they actually disappear.The Bear was one of my favorite short stories located in an American Lit anthology. A young boy learns woodcraft from an ancient Indian who is part Slave, all in the pursuit of a large bear that is almost mythological. In the end, he gets very good at hunting, only to learn that true humility is realizing that in order to get the bear, he needed the help of the Indian, a particularly foolhardy dog, and of course, his gun. Really he wasn't the match of the bear, given all those advantages. It ended with an older character quoting Keats' Ode on a Grecian Urn.Imagine my disappointment to find that The Bear is actually much longer and involves a lot of other things, including White Guilt over the effects of slavery. Faulkner evidently worked on the story for a long time, and the longer version was a part of Go Down Moses, but in 1934 he needed money and carved out a shorter version for Saturday Evening Post, and that is probably the source of the story I taught in the anthology. It was better story in the shorter version. Proving, perhaps, at least to this reader, that Faulkner needed better Editors.

Selected short storiesThough Faulkner writes about Mississipi and Yoknapatawpha, his own imaginary territory of 2400 Miles sq. with 15611 inhabitants, centered by Jefferson city, but I always see every single part of the world in his novels, where the characters are suffering of the situation which is imposed by visible and invisible powers, but they keep going on with life as they have no other possibilities ...فالکنر در رمان "آبشالوم، آبشالوم" به "یوکناپاتوفا"، سرزمین خیالی اش در اطراف می سی سی پی اشاره می کند. بنا بر نوشته ی فالکنر، "یوکناپاتوفا" 2400 مایل مربع مساحت، و 15611 نفر جمعیت دارد، و مرکزش شهر "جفرسن" است. اغلب آثار بلند و کوتاه فالکنر پس از آبشالوم، آبشالوم، در همین منطقه ی فرضی جنوب مرکزی ایالات متحده ی آمریکا می گذرد، جایی که سرخپوستان بومی، سیاهان برده، اربابان سنگدل و... در فضایی فالکنری بسر می برند، و نمونه ای ست از جامعه ی آمریکای هم عصر فالکنر. بسیاری از نویسندگان بعد از فالکنر به این رسم زیبا پیوستند، و اگرچه مشخصات شهر - سرزمینشان را با عدد و رقم معین نکرده اند، اما از زندگی شخصیت ها، وقایع قصه ها و فضای خلق شده، می توان به مشخصات این شهر – سرزمین ها پی برد. "ماکوندو"ی گابریل گارسیا مارکز یکی از همین شهر- سرزمین هاست. همین طور "بمبای" سلمان رشدی، و... تقریبن تمامی نویسندگان بزرگ پس از فالکنر، او را به نوعی پیش کسوت خود می دانند، و بزرگانی چون خورخه لوئیس بورخس، گابریل گارسیا مارکز، ماریو بارگاس یوسا، سلمان رشدی، و ... در کار نویسندگی از فالکنر به عنوان یک استاد، یاد می کنند.
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Tough to rate as it's a collection of three stories."Spotted Horses" feels very embryonic, with Faulkner spending the bulk of the story establishing characters and elaborating on the wild and untameable nature of the titular horses, as if in preparation for a larger story. However, after all of that set-up, he rushes through the brief second (and final) chapter with an uncharacteristically ham-handed bit of preaching on the vulnerability of poor, ignorant and uneducated folk in the rural South."Old Man" is something more of a straightforward story as it's mostly a linear narrative, so is something of a step sideways as it's both less ambitious in some ways but more successful (and entertaining) in other, perhaps more important ways. Namely, Faulkner's exposition in describing the vastness and power of the flooded Mississippi is awe-inspiring. The simplicity of the tale makes this a good candidate for a starting point for those new to Faulkner as it introduces his wordy, elaborate and complex writing style in the context of a narrative that's very easy to follow."The Bear" is the real gem in the collection. This "short novel" is actually an excerpt from the longer "Go Down, Moses" but it works quite well on its own. It starts simple enough: the tale of a young boy growing into manhood as he hones his skills as a woodsman during twice-annual hunting expeditions with kith and kin in the Mississippi wilderness, which increasingly focus on the hunt for the legendary, seemingly unkillable Old Ben. The hunt serves as a framework, a lens through which we're better able to understand the bigger issues Faulkner tackles in this monumental yet brief story. In the aftermath of his adolescent hunting experiences, the boy comes to terms with his place in a family tree that is fundamentally intertwined with the fate of the post-Civil War South and all of the baggage that goes along with it, and in turn part of a broader group of white men (and just plain Men) and their relationship with the land. This is a landmark story in American literature for a good reason.
I only read "The Bear"(and only half of that) but goodreads doesn't have just "The Bear" alone, without "Spotted Horses" and "Old Man" and neither did the library so what can I do? I adored the first half of "The Bear", which gave me a whole new perspective on hunting, but then it got all philosophical about the environment and I lost interest. Ironic since I picked this up based on it's inclusion on Newsweek's list of 50 books for our time and it made that list because of it's importance as an environmental novel. Sometimes I mystify myself.A few things confused me so if anyone has read this and knows the answers please pm me.******SPOILERS********** (as if)1) how did Sam die? did someone kill him? Was it Boone?2) what was Boone pounding on at the very end with the butt of his gun? were those really squirrels or was Faulkner being metaphorical? was he bleeding?
This collection (particularly The Bear) initiated me into the wonderful world of William Faulkner back in high school. At the time I was not sure what drew me to this thick description of a bear hunt in Yoknapatawpha county, but as I've aged and read (and re-read) Faulkner, I realize that it is the stark beauty of his prose and his ability to delve deeply into characterization and the mysteries of coming of age. Not much happens in the story, as it turns out, but the characters are forever burned into my head. Edit: I spent the last couple of weeks rereading these three tales, and have some more specific thoughts about them. I found Spotted Horses to be pretty 'meh'. It's touted as a comic work, but I didn't find it funny. In addition, although I understand that Faulkner is famous for convoluted and sometimes-difficult-to-follow prose, I found the basic story hard to follow. Indeed I'm not exactly sure what happened. The final 'chapter' seems an add-on, which perhaps makes sense if one is reading the story in the Hamlet, but which in this version is completely unfathomable (who was murdered? when? why?). Although Old Man is, if anything, less linear and more concerned with description, I found it easier to follow. Here Faulkner displays his penchant for thick, convoluted description as he tells the story of a (nameless) convict lost during a massive flood of the Mississippi. The Bear, on which my earlier review and rating was primarily based, remains, however, a true classic. The first section is the most linear, recounting the hunting of an ancient bear; it is full of pregnant symbolism and metaphor, but is nevertheless quite accessible. The second portion concerns the maturation of the 'boy' (Isaac, or Ike, McCaslin) into manhood, and in particular his dawning awareness of the complex relationships that bound his family, white and black, to the land and to the events that marked the South both pre- and post-civil war. Here Faulkner is more allusive, and some parts of the genealogy are difficult to follow, but the larger points - about slavery, obligation, freedom - are made clearly, and render the 'novella' a masterpiece. Some years ago I gave the book 4 stars, but this was based on hazy memory of teh Bear, only. I'd still rate the Bear 4 or 4.5 stars, but the other two bring the collection down to 3 stars for me. 1-23-2015
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