Contrast Between Brooks and Cox Essays on Sanctuary

I just finished the novel “Sanctuary” by William Faulkner, for my Southern Literature class.  I must admit this was my first Novel by Faulkner and as someone who lives int he south, I am not sure why I haven’t read his books before.  Maybe because his style of writing and story lines is way out of my genre, but at the same time, I found that I enjoyed this story very much.  Instead of giving a full review on the book, I choose to give my opinions between the two essays written by Brooks and Cox on the subject of the character Temple Drake.

You can read Brooks essay here and the essay from Cox here.  I strongly suggest you stop reading this post right now and read the essays first.  Then when you have finished, come back and read my opinions and views on the two.

“Contrast Between Brooks and Cox Essays on Sanctuary”

            I find that the essays on Sanctuary by Brooks and Cox, could not have been anymore different.  Brooks, portrays Temple Drake as a whore, who actually enjoyed being raped by Popeye.  The essay indicates that she was evil and that Temple’s behavior at the trial of Lee Goodwin was callous.  Cox on the other hand, defends Temple.  He displays her a girl has have suffered the most outrageous betrayal and violations, (pg 106) and that you should view Temple’s story with pity.

          Cox, goes on to state that Temple fears evil and tries to escape it, (pg 109), but is not unwilling to face it, because of her innocence she doesn’t fear bad things will happen.  At the Frenchman house, she has fear but also feels that evil cannot touch her because of who her father is.  Whereas Brooks feels that Temple is proud of the events that she has occurred and tells her story with pride.  

          The views from both essays leave me with mixed feelings.  Brooks makes Temple out to be a villain of sorts, that in a way I understand of some levels, like she never tried to escape from Miss Reba’s, she testified against Goodwin, when she could have testified against Popeye and had him put away or even killed for his wrong doings.  But at the same time, Temple has been very sheltered by the evil of the world, and she is in a state of shock over the events that have happened to her over the five week period.  I believe she didn’t try to escape out of fear of Popeye and shame of what her family would think.  Just as I believe she testified against Goodwin out of fear of Popeye but also maybe out of revenge to Goodwin because the events started at his place.

          On the other hand, I feel that if she wasn’t afraid of Popeye enough to not go to the store to call Red to meet her.  That puts me under the impression that she enjoyed the events with Red, or at least enjoyed him personally.  I feel that at some point during the events that happened to Temple, she matured and become more mature sexually, which may be the point in which Brooks is trying to make.

          Overall, both essays had good and bad points.  Brooks has us view Temple as a seductive, evil she-devil, to where Cox has us portraying her as a sweet, innocent angel. In my own opinion, the character of Temple Drake fits somewhere in the middle of both the conclusions.

What are your opinions and conclusions on the two?


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