Hospitality in the Novels of William Faulkner
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The American South prides itself on and identifies itself by its hospitality. Based on the Christian call to minister to the needs of the poor, the outcast, and the needy, Southern culture espouses hospitality as one of its most foundational beliefs. However, the same culture that purports to value hospitality so highly is often guilty of withholding it from the needy on the basis of race, gender, or socioeconomic status. In his novels, As I Lay Dying, Light in August, and Absalom, Absalom!, William Faulkner examines this discrepancy between the American South’s supposed ideals and actual attitudes. In my thesis, I argue that Faulkner condemns this hypocrisy and calls for a practice of hospitality consistent with the Christian model of love for one’s neighbor.