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A Writer’s Responsibility: Discussion Essay

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Updated: Oct 13th, 2021

William Faulkner, a central American twentieth-century writer, created historical novels depicting the decline and decompose of the upper crust of the Southern community. The creative force and psychological depth of his work grade him as one of America’s greatest novelists. He also got the 1949 Nobel Prize for Literature.

Due to his known dislike to making formal assertions, there was much attention, when he traveled to Stockholm to get the prize on December 10, 1950, in what he would state in the speech that custom forced him to deliver. Faulkner obviously wished to set right the misapprehension of his own work as cynical. But ahead of that, he distinguished that, as the first American novelist to got the prize from the end of World War II, he had a particular obligation to accept the modified situation of the writer, and of man, into version.

“If the story is in you,” William Faulkner once stated, “it has got to come out.” All authors, whether they are making a new logical innovation, recording their considerations, writing their journals, or issuing a novel are telling some type of a story. That is what authoring is all about.

Faulkner, secondarily, floated a good deal previous to he lastly settled down to writing, recreating himself, taking a sinecure location at the local post office in his hometown of Oxford, Mississippi,

The writer’s only responsibility…

“The writer’s only responsibility is to his art. He will be completely ruthless if he is a good one. He has a dream. It anguishes him so much he must get rid of it. He has no peace until then. Everything goes by the board: honor, pride, decency, security, happiness, all, to get the book written. If a writer has to rob his mother, he will not hesitate; the “Ode on a Grecian Urn” is worth any number of old ladies.” (from Writers at Work: The Paris Review Interviews, 1959). (in Kartiganer, Abadie, 2000)

It is necessary to highlight, that Faulkner’s words should be agreed with. But only if they are addressed towards great writers – the writers of the epoch, otherwise, the novels would not have such a great impact on the audience.

As it has been shown in the Heart of Darkness by Joseph Conrad, how the author explores the issues surrounding imperialism in complicated ways. As Marlow treks from the Outer Station to the Central Station and lastly up the river to the Inner Station, he stumbles upon scenes of torment, unkindness, and near-slavery. In the conclusion, the secondary scenery of the book provides a harsh depiction of the royal venture.

The impetus behind Marlow’s escapades, too, has to do with the insincerity intrinsic in the language applied to validate imperialism. From the very I of reader’s completing to read the novel, Conrad gets responsible for his words, for his describing the imperialist wars, the travels all through the African continent, as artist’s words get much deeper than the words by the scientist.

Moreover, Conrad describes the objectives of the illogicality of evil, as the unrealistic Marlow is powered to ally himself with either the hypocritical and hateful colonial officialdom or the openly malicious, rule-defying Kurtz, it turns to be gradually more clear that to try to moderate either option is an act of folly: how can moral averages or social charges be pertinent in judging evil? Thus, rising this question, Conrad becomes responsible for the shaping of the image of evil within the readers.

“In a few days, the Eldorado Expedition went into the patient wilderness, that closed upon it as the sea closes over a diver. Long afterward the news came that all the donkeys were dead. I know nothing as to the fate of the less valuable animals. They, no doubt, like the rest of us, found what they deserved. I did not inquire.”

The dry irony of this quote is characteristic of Marlow, who by this point has truly come to see white men as the “less valuable animals.” Although he chalks up the Expedition’s fate to some idea of destiny or just reward, Marlow has already come to distrust such moral formulations: this is why he does not seek further information about the Expedition.

Another example is Kafka’s Metamorphosis, with the only exception, that Kafka did not wish to portray the very reality of life, but made it using the example of an insect just to make the image more expressive. There easily could be a heavily deceased or disabled person. Kafka shows, that if someone becomes helpless, and can not earn his / her living, one becomes unnecessary within the society, and sometimes within a family.

Kafka knew that writing was his occupation, but did not feel he could create a livelihood at it – nor did he chiefly wished to try. It was something cleaner and more dreadfully personal to him – a “form of prayer” and an impermanent breather from his devils. Outwardly, at least, Gregor’s transformation is complete and immediate. He wakes up to find that his body is that of an insect. Inwardly, however, the transformation seems more gradual, though not entirely even. His urges and concerns are clearly human at first: his job, his responsibilities, and his family.

Another story of African colonization is the novel by Sven Lindqvist, Exterminate All The Brutes. “You already know enough. So do I. It is not knowledge we lack. What is missing is the courage to understand what we know and to draw conclusions.“With these words Sven Lindqvist, both opens and closes Exterminate all the Brutes, a meditation on nineteenth-century European colonialism and the genocide that followed in its wake

Colonial invasions were regarded to be cost-efficient with the assist of this new weaponry; expenses were restricted to the cartridges required. The story offers that God made different races in preparation for something better. British race was selected to control mankind. It is felt that a particular declaration Lindqvist creates the ideas of military advantage of the time: An old-fashioned notion of honor and fair play, and esteem for such pointless valor, had still not been succeeded by the modern realizing that technical superiority offers a natural right to obliterate the enemy even when he is powerless.

Sven Lindqvist is regarded to be one of the most innovative and inventive authors working at the end of the twentieth century. And it is known, that the more original and imaginative the text is, the more impact it has on the reader’s imagination and consideration.

There is an enveloping power of colonial guilt by the means of Remembering Babylon, wakefulness of the suspect morals of the colonial procedures. Like Great Expectations, Babylon recognizes Australia as a probable utopia for the conscientious European migrant – unlike Dickens, nevertheless, Malouf avows that the success of the scheme rests not on simply exploiting the supplies attainable (while ignoring or displacing the original people), but on reaching a kind of agreement and exchange with the countryside and with the colonized. This mixture culture offers, for Malouf, the ideal eventual product of the colonial procedure.

Regarded from a post-colonial standpoint, Remembering Babylon is a pessimistic evaluation of the colonial project, a grieve for the missed chances which a meeting of dissimilar cultures could offer for humankind. Yes, there is a confident hint that the utopia is still somehow possible, in the self-knowledge attained by Jock, Janet, Lachlan, and Frazer. However, Malouf, writing as he is in the last decade of the twentieth century, is aware that the imposing project has failed on these expressions, and this awareness must inform any reading of the novel. Being another post-colonial novel the novel imposes responsibility upon the author for the historical images and the matters of good and bad for the period of colonial wars.

The rings of Saturn are rather natural and accessible, and yet so odd, that one is left enchanted and also curious about the author, who presents such a prodigious mass of material in such a modest and engaging way. Sebald writes: ”For days and weeks on end one racks one’s brains to no avail, and, if asked, one could not say whether one goes on writing purely out of habit, or a craving for admiration, or because one knows not how to do anything other, or out of sheer wonderment, despair or outrage, any more than one could say whether writing renders one more perceptive or more insane.

So The Rings of Saturn, a book that is most merely portrayed as a description of a walking tour the author took some years ago in the English county of East Anglia, at the end of which – by the means, this is explained at the start of the book – he experienced a nervous collapse. The book tracks the program of that journey and tells of objects seen and people met along the route while entailing a range of memories and likenesses that have offered themselves in retrospect.

As for the movies, it is necessary to highlight, that The Enigma of Kaspar Houser, the German film director Werner Herzog was created to the story for its themes of isolation and dissociation. He depicts the child, Kaspar Hauser, in a dark compartment, his legs chained to the floor, playing with a toy horse. Church bells ring outer. He is in dirty clothes, and eats his bread, and drinks his water with savor. Here, the author is responsible for the feelings of the audience, as the realistic portrayal of Kaspar Houser’s life may call for the watcher’s pity and sympathies.


What is a writer’s responsibility in such an immense time of turmoil as we have now? Do not stir up obsession and rage, just to see people bubble. Don’t decorate truth to make it titillating. It is not necessary to debate every little matter and bit of lint. The writer’s ultimate goal whether is to make the reader understand the essence of the plot, thus, the author takes the responsibility for his or her audience in shaping the imagination of the surrounding world. According to individual gifts distributed to His own, we may get more precise instructions and subjective assignments.


Bloom, H. Franz Kafka’s the Metamorphosis, Chelsea House Publications; Library Binding edition, 1988.

Conrad, J. Heart of Darkness, Hesperus Press. 2002.

Kartiganer, Donald M., and Ann J. Abadie, eds. Faulkner at 100: Retrospect and Prospect. Jackson, MS: University Press of Mississippi, 2000.

Lindqvist, S. “Exterminate All the Brutes”: One Man’s Odyssey into the Heart of Darkness and the Origins of European Genocide, New Press publishing, 1997.

Malouf, D. Remembering Babylon, Vintage publishing, 1994.

Sebald, W.G. The Rings of Saturn, New Directions Publishing Corporation, 1999.

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