Critical responses to Faulkner's "That Evening Sun" often assume the story deals not with its central black figure, Nancy, but with the developing sensitivities of the white narrating children. Such a reading implicity confirms Toni Morrison's identification of a suppressed "Africanist" presence in the work of white writers. Yet in contrast to Morrison's claims, readers tend not to accept the suppression of Nancy's story, but to be frustrated by its lack of resolution. Close examination of the story's structure and revision history suggests that Faulkner creates such frustration through an opening that establishes Nancy as a figure of transgressive power, and then traces the shifting locus of power that silences her in favor of the white children, with revisions accentuating both her initial position and her eventual voicelessness. The story thus both reflects the the era's silencing of black voices, and resists that silencing through creating readerly discomfort with its implementation.


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pp. 53-72
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