This paper attempts to read Faulkner’s critical engagement in the construction of ethnicities as a means of transcending racial tensions and divisions in the South. Focusing on dynamic individual histories to reflect the historical, social, and cultural processes that create certain racial categories, Faulkner in Go Down, Moses depicts how the individuals struggle with genealogical memories and act on personal experiences to locate and reinvent their identities in response to discriminately defined race relations and constructed identities. When it’s time to confront the contradictions of genealogy as well as to interrogate the grounding knowledge in family history, the three male characters, Lucas Beauchamp, Sam Fathers, and Isaac McCaslin first learn to resist the arbitrary racial markers imposed upon them. Then the anxiety of resolving the contradictions of genealogy triggers the act of self-invention. Notably, Faulkner’s participation in the construction of ethnicities enables him to shape new meanings for blackness and Indianness that in return affect the shape of whiteness. In acknowledging the presence of ethnically dynamic cultural heritages, Faulkner significantly broadens the making of a modern southern identity in terms of playing across the color line.
臺灣英美文學期刊, 3, 53-77 Taiwan journal of English literature