A tale of two Jesuses
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Many critics have noted the indirect, ambiguous, complex nature of language in William Faulkner’s “That Evening Sun.” In order to demonstrate Faulkner’s linguistic indirectness in “That Evening Sun,” this analysis will consider some of the important Faulkner texts published around the time of the short story, namely The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying, and Sanctuary. These novels, much like the short story, demonstrate Faulkner’s preoccupation with language’s ability to construct meaning. “That Evening Sun” is divided into six scenes that unfold much like a play, and each scene demonstrates the linguistic ambiguities at stake. The various devices of language employed—idioms, puns, and passive voice constructions—heighten the sense of ambiguity. Ultimately, the story’s linguistic complexities foreshadow and enhance the demise of the story’s protagonist, Nancy.