"That Evening Sun" is a short story by the American author William Faulkner, published in 1931 in the collection These 13 , which included Faulkner's most anthologized story, "A Rose for Emily". The story was originally published, in a slightly different form, as "That Evening Sun Go Down" in The American Mercury in March of the same year.
"That Evening Sun" is a dark portrait of white Southerners' indifference to the crippling fears of one of their black employees, Nancy. The story is narrated by Quentin Compson, one of Faulkner's most memorable characters, and concerns the reactions of him and his two siblings, Caddy and Jason, to an adult world that they do not fully understand. The black washerwoman, Nancy Mannigoe, fears that her common-law husband Jesus is seeking to murder her because she is pregnant with a white man's child.
Quentin narrates the story in the turn of the century, presumably at age twenty-four (although in The Sound and the Fury he commits suicide at age nineteen), telling of events that took place fifteen years before. Nancy is an African-American washerwoman working for Quentin's family since their regular cook, Dilsey, is taken sick. Jesus, Nancy's common-law husband, suspects that she is pregnant with a white man's child and leaves her. At first Nancy is only worried about going home at night and running into Jesus, but later she is paralyzed with the fear that he will kill her, having delusions of him being hidden in a ditch outside her house.
Quentin and his siblings witness all of this, given that they are present for every major conversation between their father and Nancy. Mr. Compson tries to help her up to a certain extent, first by taking her home at night despite the fact that Mrs. Compson feels jealous and insecure that her husband is more worried about protecting some "Negro woman" than herself. He puts her up one night at Quentin and Caddy's room when she is too afraid to stay alone in the kitchen. The kids, however, have no idea of what's going on, and cannot understand Nancy's fear.
As the narrative progresses, Nancy becomes crippled by her fear. One night she feels so impotent that she talks the kids into going home with her. There, she is not able to attend to them, tell them proper stories or even make them some popcorn. Jason, the youngest, starts to cry. Their father arrives and tries to talk some sense into Nancy, who fears Jesus will come out of the darkness of the ditch outside as soon as they go away. The story ends as the father walks the children back—not the least bit affected by Nancy's situation, the kids still teasing each other and the father scolding them.
It is left ambiguous as to whether Nancy survives the night. However, in The Sound and the Fury, Benjy refers to Nancy's bones lying in the ditch, although she was "shot by Roskus" and it is implied that Nancy is the name of a horse.
The title is thought to be taken from the song Saint Louis Blues , originally composed by W.C. Handy, but popularized by Bessie Smith and Louis Armstrong in 1927. It begins with the line: "Lordy, how I hate to see that evening sun go down". The title implies that once the sun sets, death is sure to follow.
Faulkner first came across Handy's music when the latter played dances in Oxford, Mississippi. Though the song is never explicitly referenced in the text, Faulkner employs a number of blues tropes to structure the plot and develop racial stereotypes.Scholar Ken Bennett notes that "the image of the 'evening sun' is a common one in black religious music. For example, the spiritual It's Gettin' Late Over in the Evenin', the Sun Most Down, based on Revelation 20, uses the image of the evening sun to suggest the coming of death and judgment."
In manuscript form, the story was written from Nancy's perspective and titled "Never Done No Weeping When You Wanted to Laugh."
This story appears as "That Evening Sun Go Down" in The Best American Short Stories of the Century by John Updike, Katrina Kenison. In this version of the story, Nancy's husband is called "Jubah", not Jesus, although a frightened Nancy whispers the word "Jesus" three times in Part II when Caddy is interrogating her. The substitution of Jubah for Jesus likely was made for censorship reasons. In the original magazine publication of the story, his name was rendered as "Jubah."
J.D. Salinger, in his 1964 essay "A Salute to Whit Burnett" (the editor of Story Magazine, Burnett was Salinger's mentor whose class in short story writing at Columbia University he attended in 1939 and who was the first professional to publish one of his stories), said that it was Burnett's use of "That Evening Sun Gone Down" in the class that taught him the importance of the author's relationship with his "silent reader".
Nancy's bones appear in The Sound and the Fury, but this is later revealed to be the name of a former Compson family horse. She is resurrected entirely as a Nun in Requiem for a Nun . Faulkner responded to a question about the story and the novel in Charlottesville by saying Nancy was “the same person, actually” in both texts, though he qualified his comment by adding, “These people I figure belong to me and I have the right to move them about in time when I need them” (FU79). To what extent and in what ways we ought to read Nancy, Quentin, and the others as “the same” from appearance to appearance thus remain issues open for debate.
The Catcher in the Rye is a novel by J. D. Salinger, partially published in serial form in 1945–1946 and as a novel in 1951. It was originally intended for adults but is often read by adolescents for its themes of angst, alienation, and as a critique on superficiality in society. It has been translated widely. About one million copies are sold each year, with total sales of more than 65 million books. The novel's protagonist Holden Caulfield has become an icon for teenage rebellion. The novel also deals with complex issues of innocence, identity, belonging, loss, connection, sex, and depression.
Absalom, Absalom! is a novel by the American author William Faulkner, first published in 1936. Taking place before, during, and after the American Civil War, it is a story about three families of the American South, with a focus on the life of Thomas Sutpen.
The Sound and the Fury is a novel by the American author William Faulkner. It employs several narrative styles, including stream of consciousness. Published in 1929, The Sound and the Fury was Faulkner's fourth novel, and was not immediately successful. In 1931, however, when Faulkner's sixth novel, Sanctuary, was published—a sensationalist story, which Faulkner later said was written only for money—The Sound and the Fury also became commercially successful, and Faulkner began to receive critical attention.
Compson is a fictional family created by American author William Faulkner for use in his novels and short stories. A once prominent family in Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi, the family began to fall on hard times in the twentieth century. The family name is referred to briefly in the opening chapter of Requiem for a Nun. Principally depicted in The Sound and the Fury and in its appendix, they also make appearances in Absalom, Absalom! and stories such as "That Evening Sun". Faulkner traced their genealogy from 1699 to 1945.
Franny and Zooey is a book by American author J. D. Salinger which comprises his short story "Franny" and novella Zooey. The two works were published together as a book in 1961, having originally appeared in The New Yorker in 1955 and 1957 respectively. The book focuses on siblings Franny and Zooey, the two youngest members of the Glass family, which was a frequent focus of Salinger's writings.
Quentin Compson is a fictional character created by William Faulkner. He is an intelligent, neurotic, and introspective son of the Compson family. He is featured in the classic novels The Sound and the Fury and Absalom, Absalom! as well as the short stories "That Evening Sun" and "A Justice". After moving north to study at Harvard College, he eventually commits suicide by drowning himself in the Charles River.
Go Down, Moses is a 1942 collection of seven related pieces of short fiction by American author William Faulkner, sometimes considered a novel. The most prominent character and unifying voice is that of Isaac McCaslin, "Uncle Ike", who will live to be an old man; "uncle to half a county and father to no one." Though originally published as a short story collection, Faulkner considered the book to be a novel in the same way The Unvanquished is considered a novel. Because of this, most editions no longer print "and other stories" in the title.
"Uncle Wiggily in Connecticut" is a short story by J. D. Salinger, which appears in his collection Nine Stories. It was originally published in the March 20, 1948 issue of The New Yorker.
Requiem for a Nun is a work of fiction written by William Faulkner which was first published in 1951. It is a sequel to Faulkner's early novel Sanctuary, which introduced the characters of Temple Drake, her friend Gowan Stevens, and Gowan's uncle Gavin Stevens. The events in Requiem are set in Faulkner's fictional Yoknapatawpha County and Jackson, Mississippi, in November 1937 and March 1938, eight years after the events of Sanctuary. In Requiem, Temple, now married with a child, must learn to deal with her violent, turbulent past as related in Sanctuary.
The Furies is a 1950 American Western film directed by Anthony Mann and starring Barbara Stanwyck, Wendell Corey, and Walter Huston in his final film performance. Based on the 1948 Niven Busch novel of the same name, its plot follows the ruthless daughter of a tyrannical rancher in 1870s New Mexico Territory who struggles with her stake in his estate.
The Black Bull of Norroway is a fairy tale from Scotland. A similar story titled The Red Bull of Norroway first appeared in print in Popular Rhymes of Scotland by Robert Chambers in 1842. A version titled The Black Bull of Norroway in the 1870 edition of Popular Rhymes of Scotland was reprinted in an Anglicised version by Joseph Jacobs in his 1894 book More English Fairy Tales.
Story was a magazine founded in 1931 by journalist-editor Whit Burnett and his first wife, Martha Foley, in Vienna, Austria. Showcasing short stories by new authors, 67 copies of the debut issue were mimeographed in Vienna, and two years later, Story moved to New York City, where Burnett and Foley created The Story Press in 1936.
Jerome David Salinger was an American writer best known for his 1951 novel The Catcher in the Rye. Before its publication, Salinger published several short stories in Story magazine and served in World War II. In 1948, his critically acclaimed story "A Perfect Day for Bananafish" appeared in The New Yorker, which published much of his later work.
The Sound and the Fury is a 1959 American drama film directed by Martin Ritt. It is loosely based on the 1929 novel of the same name by William Faulkner.
Martha Foley cofounded Story magazine in 1931 with her husband Whit Burnett. She achieved some celebrity by introducing notable authors through the magazine such as J. D. Salinger, Tennessee Williams and Richard Wright. In 1941 she became the series editor for The Best American Short Stories series.
"The Bread" is a short story by Wolfgang Borchert. The story takes places in 1945 post-war Germany where food was in short supply.
Whit Burnett was an American writer and writing teacher who founded and edited the literary magazine Story. In the 1940s, Story was an important magazine in that it published the first or early works of many writers who went on to become major authors. Not only did Burnett prove to be a valuable literary birddog for new talent, but Story remained a respectable though low-paying alternative for stories rejected by the large-circulation slick magazines published on glossy paper like Collier's or The Saturday Evening Post or the somewhat more prestigious and literary slick magazines such as The New Yorker. While Story paid poorly compared to the slicks and even the pulps and successor digest-sized magazines of its day, it paid better than most of, and had similar cachet to, the university-based and the other independent "little magazines" of its era.
The Lady Refuses is a 1931 American pre-Code melodrama film, directed by George Archainbaud, from a screenplay by Wallace Smith, based on an original story by Guy Bolton and Robert Milton. It stars Betty Compson as a destitute young woman on the verge of becoming a prostitute, who is hired by a wealthy man to woo his ne'er-do-well son away from the clutches of a gold-digger. The plot is regarded as risqué enough to appear in at least one collection of pre-Code Hollywood films.
The Sound and the Fury is an American drama film directed by James Franco. It is the second film version of the 1929 novel of the same name by William Faulkner. The film was released in a limited release and through video on demand on October 23, 2015, by New Films International.
Maître Cornélius is a short story by Honoré de Balzac. It was published in 1831 and is one of the Études philosophiques of La Comédie humaine.