WRITING: Patterns

One of the topics up for discussion at our next writers group meeting is patterns, things that are contrived or naturally assemble themselves into a thread that winds itself within a work of literature, art, film, whatever, to act as a flexible spine perhaps upon which all else revolves in movement.

For example, even with only two Faulkners under my belt, I wonder if there is an underlying theme of perception that is subtle and yet glaring in its importance to the story.  With the multiple pov and stream of conciousness that Faulkner employs, the reader is not only examining the character in his first person pov, but each character in the third person pov of another.  Faulkner is asking us to question the judge and the judged.  There is also, within Faulkner’s close family unit which acts almost as a single entity with many tentacles that act independently, a resentment within each personality towards another that must be dealt with as to its logic and justification. In The Sound and the Fury, we love Caddie, and we’re in good company with Benji and Quentin on that, but how can Jason dislike her so? 

Faulkner also uses the manipulation of time as more than simple pace of story.  He questions it, and he makes us question it.  In As I Lay Dying, the young Vardaman notices the change from life to death is instantaneous, and tries to go backwards in that one second before his mother was dead, while the fish he caught was still flopping in the dust.  In The Sound and the Fury, Benji may not understand the concept of time as the years go by, and yet neither in many ways does Jason as the past still rules his present.

Patterns and shapes and symbols and focus may or may not always be an artist’s intent.  Sometimes, it may be the intensity of the artist that just finds its way into his work.  Interesting study.

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