Date of Award


Degree Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

John D. Miller, Ph.D.

Second Advisor

David Magill, Ph.D.

Third Advisor

Jennifer Miskec, Ph.D.


The idea of a “white soul” and the protection of its purity was prolific during William Faulkner’s adolescence in the late 1800s and early 1900s, which is why he feared the establishment of a hybrid mix of races, especially one that tarnished whiteness. This thesis exams whiteness in Faulkner’s Absalom, Absalom! and The Hamlet. The findings on this thesis indicate that only white trash can fix the problem that is white trash, which means that white trash is not even safe from itself. Faulkner finished Absalom, Absalom! with further avowal of his fear of the tainting of the white race, he ended The Hamlet with the statement that white trash, tainted portion of the white race developing was here to stay. Both works bring whiteness, particularly poor white trash, out of hiding and invisibility and to the forefront. Faulkner wanted his audience to realize that white trash, if allowed to flourish, would ruin the principles upon which the South was founded. He wanted to underscore the importance of the fact that blacks were not the only victims of slavery.



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