Colonel Sutden In William Faulkner's Wash

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William Faulkner’s “Wash” illuminates the stark contrast between the southern aristocrats and the lower classes. Colonel Sutpen is the stereotypical southern veteran post Civil War era, hung up on the war and the way he believes the war should have gone. Sutpen is confined by his pride and the legacy of his name, clinging to his glory days. Colonel Sutpen has an expansive pride, ultimately leading to his death. Sutpen’s pride is his hamartia; he feels stuck in his past and worthless in his present, his pride leads to his mental breakdown. Colonel Sutpen returns from the war with nothing left; he is devastated by the South’s loss and feels worthless. He is left alone with no wife and a son lost to the war. He has no option but to become a general store owner. This job is below the lifestyle that Sutpen is accustomed to, as he works alongside Wash, a man considered to be white trash: “Even after being reduced to the position of a modest shopkeeper, the former landowner still considers Wash an inferior” (Outen 178). Sutpen clings to his…show more content…
Sutpen spends the latter part of his life focused solely on himself and not his effect on others. When he produces a female heir and not the male he wants, he makes his final remark of pride and power to Milly when he compares her to a mare. This comment leads Wash to murder the Colonel out of rage. The colonel dies because of his pride and disregard for the effects of his breakdown. Sutpen is a simple man, caring only about himself and his own desires for his life. Colonel’s negligence to move on and solve his issues cause him to haunt his own mind and drive him insane. His unhealthy behaviors are a direct antecedent to his loss of identity and alcoholism. These actions cause him to act inappropriately in response to his breakdown. Sutpen wastes his life and potential on tormenting himself with “could have beens” instead of progressing
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