full title The Unvanquished
author William Faulkner
type of work Novel
genre Bildungsroman (novel of self-development and maturation); war novel
language English (often uses Southern and black dialects in dialogue)
time and place written Begun as a series of magazine stories for the Saturday Evening Post and Scribner's in 1934; last story written in 1937. Written mostly in Oxford, Mississippi and perhaps partially in Hollywood.
date of first publication February 15, 1938
publisher Random House
narrator Bayard Sartoris (as an adult, looking back on the events of his childhood)
climax The most important climax comes in "Riposte in Tertio" when Granny Millard is murdered by Grumby after Bayard fails to keep her from leaving the wagon. Another, secondary climax is Bayard's confrontation with Redmond in "An Odor of Verbena." Each chapter has its own individual climactic event (e.g. the sergeant's questioning of Granny while the boys are hidden in "Ambuscade"; the wagon falling into the river in "Raid").
protagonist Bayard, and to a lesser extent, Granny Millard
antagonist Varies at different points in the novel: Yankee soldiers, Grumby and his gang, Aunt Louisa and Mrs. Habersham, the Burdens. More broadly, anyone who does not share the traditional Southern moral code adhered to by the Sartorises.
setting (time) Mostly from 1862 to 1865, with the final chapter in 1873
setting (place) Yoknapatawpha County, Mississippi, with excursions into Tennessee and Alabama
point of view Mostly told from young Bayard's perspective, although the adult Bayard who narrates the story occasionally describes things he learned later or that occurred while he was absent
falling action After a confrontation, Ben Redmond boards a train out of Jefferson forever; Bayard falls asleep in a pasture and wakes up sobbing; he discovers Drusilla has left home to return to Alabama
tense Past tense, told from the perspective of many years in the future
foreshadowing Little direct foreshadowing, though details in the novel occasionally set up future events, such as the names "Old Hundred" and "Tinney" (which explain the Yankee officer's mistaken allocation of one hundred and ten mules to Granny)
tone Grand and epic, as befits a heroic adventure story, but more serious as time goes on and Bayard develops to maturity; generally parallels the tone Bayard's thoughts at whatever age he is. The tone of "An Odor of Verbena" is even more dramatic and poetic.
themes Morality and moral development; racism and injustice; honor; heroism; violence and its effects; the oppressive effects of meaningless social codes (politeness and "respectability"); genuine religion versus religious hypocrisy; the restrictions imposed on women; memory and mythologizing; class distinctions
motifs Warfare; humor and comical escapades; journeying; schemes and plots; childhood; promises and oaths; the standards of gentlemen; families and alternative families
symbols Verbena; the chest of silver; the railroad; rain versus sunshine; nature (like the snake in Bayard's path in "Vendée")