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William Faulkners novelette The Bear is perhaps the most widely discussed of all his writings In understanding the story the role of Isaac Mcaslin should be reviewed and understood since The Bear is his story Critics have thoroughly examined and commented on many different aspects such as the wilderness theme the relevance of chapter four to the rest of the story and how the symbolism worksUpon reviewing criticism you can discover that several critics share the same opinion of Isaac as other readers do Isaac who is the main character in the story and perhaps sometimes viewed as a hero is hardly a man and is as much a part of the destruction of the wilderness as the planing-millIsaacs violent nature is evident in his ruthless obsession of hunting Old Ben long legend of corn-cribs broken down and rifled of shoats and grown pigs and even calves carried bodily into the woods and devoured and traps and deadfalls overthrown and dogs mangled and slain and shotgun and even rifle shots delivered at point-blank range yet with no more effect than so many peas blown through a tube by a child Faulkner 254 Isaac had his mind set on killing Old Ben from the very start of the novel As a legend Old Ben serves as a symbol of the wilderness and Isaac is determined to track him down It ran in his knowledge before he even saw it It loomed and towered in his dreams before he even saw the unaxed woodsFaulkner 254 Isaac dreams that it might even be his gun that would finally stop Old Ben Faulkner 255 Isaac thinks about killing Old Ben with his gun himself but cannot because he would feel guilty if he shot Old BenCritic Leonard Gilley says that Isaac all his life flouted the right use of the wildernessthe right use which employs the woods but does not destroyMcGrath 380 Isaac Understood that the hunters did not
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