Esoteric Symbolism and Allegory in Faulkner’s Old Man

Jay's Analysis

Revised. 12/8/10

By: Jay

(c) Copyrighted, all right reserved.

Old Man is part of a Faulkner work titled TheWild Palms, a collection of two stories; Old Man and If I Forget Thee Jerusalem, both of which deal with similar themes, yet are able to stand alone. Old Man is a fascinating tale, rife with allusions to biblical characters, questions of destiny and freedom, gender and sexual issues, natural and spiritual forces, social flaws and rival cultures, operating under a modernist analysis. It also uses humor to make the piece somewhat of a dark satire. Faulkner’s rich usage of symbols, and the stories’ allegorical meanings are worthy of analysis within their own context (as opposed to comparison with The Wild Palms).

     Old Man takes place in Mississippi in 1927 during a flood of the Mississippi River, where two convicts are chosen to paddle down river and…

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