The Reality of Perception in William Faulkner's "Absolom, Absolom!"
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One of William Faulkner1s major concerns in Absalom, Absalom!, as the form of narration suggests, is the examination of the reality of perception. Although the actual plot of the novel revolves around the life of Thomas Sutpen, Faulkner does not focus his primary attention on that story but instead deals primarily with the characters and the motivations of his four narrators. The use of this perspective has two major effects. First, instead of treating cold, historical events, Faulkner frees himself to investigate the hearts and souls of his living narrators as they are affected by the past. Secondly, Faulkner is not limited by having to deal in concrete facts or known motivations. Much of the Sutpen story is known only second- or third-hand, and other parts are unknown and may only be guessed at by the narrators; various levels of perception thus arise from the form of the novel.