Jean-Paul Sartre, in a revealing essay has likewise tried to show that Faulkner has no conception of the future and that his is an art of despair pointing to the collapse of a descrepit world. Of course, as Sartre has never worried about the language, this despair pointing to the collapse of a decrepit world means the difficulties men find in revealing his feelings without the presence of the intellect and reason. All this, unfortunately, is language totally foreign to its subject. The mythical claims no grasp of the future because it excludes it, just as it excludes the notion of past and present. Nor does it have to deliberately take into account the notion of utility since it deals with primitive data, with destiny, and since each encounter with fate affects any responsive creature with a cleansing, awakening force which surpasses all utilities. Faulkner´s novels share this quality with Greek tragedy.
Faulkner´s studied use of a full style and his sense of its place in the archetectonics of an extended affecting narrative is well displayed in the last chapters of "Light in August", chapter nineteen closing with the first climax, Joe Christmas´death, poetically expressed; chapter twenty closing similarly in the second and more comprehensive climax of Hightowers final vision; and then chapeter twenty-one, which completes the book, furnishing a modulation to detached calm through the simply prosaic, somewhat humorous account, by a new and neutral spokesman, of the exodus of Lena Byron into Tennessee. Indeed, one of the best indexes to the degree of Faulkner´s control of eloquence is in a comparison of the novel´s conclusions - some of them in a full descriptive style, as in "Sartoris", "Sanctuary", and to a degree in "The Soun and the Fury".
Faulkner´s diction, charged and proliferate through it may be, usually displays a nice precision, and this is especially evident in its direct imagery. An example is in the glimpse of Cash, after he has worked all night in the rain, finishing his mother´s coffin:
"In the lantern light his face is calm, musing; slowly he strokes his hands on his raincoated things in a gesture deliberate, final and composed."
Frequently, however, Faulkner proceeds in descriptive style beyon epithet and abstract definition to figurative language. Having written,
"It is just dawn, daylight: that gray and lonely suspension filled with the peaceful and tentative waking of birds."
he goes on the next sentence to a smile:
"The air,, enbreathed, is like spring water."
The novels abound in examples of his talent for imaginative comparisons; for instance, the hard boiled fier Shuman, dressed up:
"He wore a new gray hamburg hat, not raked like in the department store cuts but set square on the back of his head son that (not tall, with blue eyes in a square thin profoundly sore face) he looked out not from beneath it but from whithin it with open and fatal humorousness, like an early Briton who has been assured that the Roman Governor will not receive him unless he wear the borrowed centurion´s helmet"
There is nothing unique, however, in Faulkner use of direct and forceful diction or fine figurative image. What is most individual in his style is its persistent lyrical embroidery and coloring, in extended passages, of the narrative theme. In this sense Faulkner is one of the most subjective of writers, his brooding temperament constantly probing and interpreting his subject matter. Thus his full style is comprehensive in its intention. He may often his unfashionably rhapsodic, but he seldom falls into the preciosity that lingers over a passage for its own sweet sake. Definition of the story as a whole and the enhancement of its immediate appeals to the imagination are his constante aims. Faulkner does not define force; he is only interested in making its inner or psychological nature. Besides, were he to define it, he would have to rise to the level of knowledge. and this is precisely what he has forbiden himself to do. Faulkner always tries to give us the impression that they already know what one normally would not be able to foresce
"... as though she already knew what I was going to tell her... " (Light in August)
Manoel Ferreira Neto.