William Faulkner and Toni Morrison

Examines the influence of author William Faulkner on the African-American writer, Toni Morrison.

Writers are often influenced by their predecessors, and Toni Morrison is no different. The type of work first immortalized by William Faulkner is clearly evident in her novels, and she not only uses some of the same techniques, but takes them to new levels. This paper shows that both Faulkner and Morrison write in a complex dialect and stylized manner that can be difficult to decipher on a superficial level. Both writers cover similar subject matter in their novels: complex familial relationships, including incest. The paper also shows that Faulkner and Morrison both frequently address issues of race and identity in post-slavery America.
“Black characters populate the novels of both Faulkner and Morrison, and they speak in the natural rhythms of their dialect. In Go Down, Moses, the use of dialect is apparent when a black man speaks: “Ha,” Tomey’s Turl said. And nem you mind that neither. I got protection now. All I needs to do is to keep Old Buck from ketching me unto I gets the word? (Moses 12). This use of dialect is also seen in Morrison’s novels, including The Bluest Eye: “Dillinger wouldn’t have come near you lessen he was going hunting in Africa and shoot you for a hippo (Bluest 54). For both novelists, the use of dialect helps create the reality of being black.