William Faulkner

William Faulkner is viewed by many as America’s greatest writer of prose
fiction. He was born in New Albany, Mississippi where he lived a life filled
with good times and bad times. However, despite bad times he would become known
as a poet, a short story writer, and finally one of the greatest contemporary
novelist of his time. William Faulkner’s accomplishments resulted not only
from his love and devotion of writing, but also from family, friends, and
certain uncontrollable events. William Faulkner’s life is an astonishing
accomplishment; however, it is crucial to explore his life prior to his fixated
writing career. In 1905, Faulkner entered the first grade at a tender age of
eight, and immediately showed signs of talent. He not only drew an explicitly
detailed drawing of a locomotive, but he soon became an honour-roll student:
"His report card would show no grades below Perfect or Excellent" (Blotner

21). Throughout his early education he would work conscientiously at reading,
spelling, writing, and arithmetic; however, he especially enjoyed drawing. His
deportment at school was very high, but it was not as high as it was at home.

When Faulkner got promoted to third grade, skipping the second grade, he was
asked by his teacher what he wanted to be when he grew up, and he replied,
"I want to be a writer just like my great granddaddy" (Blotner 23). At
last, (in 1914) Faulkner took interest in poetry, but no one in Oxford could
tell him what to do with his poems. Meanwhile, Faulkner, who is very talkative,
would always entertain Katrina Carter and Estelle Oldham by telling them vividly
imagined stories. Eventually, Faulkner grew very fond of Estelle in fact, if he
heard her voice he would deliberately attempt to be spotted by Katrina in hopes
that she asks him to join her. Estelle soon became the sole inspirer and
recipient of Faulkner’s earlier poems. Coincidentally, a gentleman named Phil

Stone would fall in love with Estelle’s friend, Katrina. As a result, Katrina
had told Stone about Faulkner and his poetry. So one afternoon, Stone walked to

Faulkner’s home to get acquainted, and during his visit he received several
written verses from Faulkner’ poetry collections: "Anybody could have
seen that he (Faulkner) had talent...it was perfectly obvious" (Blotner

44). Stone not only became Faulkner’s close friend, but also a mentor to the
young writer at the beginning of his career. Stone immediately gave the
potential poet encouragement, advice, and models for his study of literature.

For example, Stone would give practice drills in punctuation, as well as lecture

Faulkner on goals and grammars. Meanwhile, Faulkner’s main interest in school
became athletics such as football and baseball, thus his grades started to
deteriorate: "Bill showed absolutely no interest in the education being
offered...He gazed out the windows, and answered the simplest questions with
‘I don’t know’" (Blotner 39). Eventually, he would quit both
athletics and school altogether. In 1919, his first literary work was
acknowledged and published in The New Republic. The poem is a forty-line verse
with a French title that acknowledges the influence of the French Symbolist,
"L’Apres-Midi d’un Faune." In September, Faulkner would enroll in
the University of Mississippi, and during his academic years it did not deter
him from writing more poems. The Mississippian, the student paper, published
"Landing in Luck" by Faulkner- the story is a nine-page short story
created from his direct experience in the Royal Air Force flight training in

1916. He has also written several other poems such as "Cathay", which
is published in the Oxford Eagle and "Sapphic", which is published in

The Mississippian. During the summer, Faulkner became a house painter in Oxford,
and in the beginning of autumn he enrolled in the University of Mississippi;
however, his early pattern of school started to take toll. Faulkner began to cut
classes and finally just stopped going. Although, this time he participated in a
drama club called "The Marionettes", and began to publish book reviews
in The Mississippian. In the summer of 1921, Faulkner decided to take a trip to

New York to receive some professional instructions from editors and critics,
since Stone was busy with his academic studies. Faulkner stayed with a man named

Stark Young, where they shared an incredibly small apartment. Later, Young
introduced Faulkner to Elizabeth Prall of the Doubleday bookstore to see if she
wanted some help prior to the Christmas rush. Reluctantly, Prall accepted and
never regretted her choice since. "Faulkner made a good clerk-polite,
interested, and one of the best salesman in the store... All the customers fell
for him like a ton of bricks"