In this passage from "The Bear", Faulkner uses rich imagery to convey the novel's themes. Faulkner was a master at capturing the intricacies of human thought in writing. His sentences have a type of instantaneous and spontaneous nature that makes them resemble human consciousness. This particular passage demonstrates how Faulkner uses his gift for portraying human emotions and thoughts to contribute not only to the style and tone of the passage but to the meaning of the novel as a whole. Faulkner uses the image of a snake retreating into the weeds to show the reader his main point: the old wilderness is disappearing.
Now the cleaned-up version:
In this passage from "The Bear", Faulkner uses rich imagery to convey the main point of his story: the old wilderness is disappearing. His sentences in this passage follow the intricacies of thought and feeling of Ike McCaslin, the novel's protagonist, as he encounters the graves of Old Ben, the bear, and Sam Fathers, his former hunting guide, now truly his spiritual father. During this scene, Ike also nearly steps on a rattlesnake, and with this image of coiling, shadowy, undying death, Faulkner further suggests that the wildnerness has hidden within itself its own demise, apart from the stupidities of man who cannot grasp the significance of that greater world the wilderness of hunters represents in the novel as a whole.
Then, use this paragraph as a blue-print for essay:
2nd paragraph: Ike's thoughts and feelings as he encounters the graves of Ben and Sam. Reverence. Remembrance. Nature's "concordant generality" taking back what it gives. Death not the end. Promise of restoration? "They would give him his paw back"
3rd paragraph: The imagery of the rattlesnake. His fear but not "fright" matches the "not in fright" of the snake. "it crawled and lurked", the "old one, ancient and accursed". "Evocative of all knowledge and an old weariness and of pariah-hood and death", the snake a vibrant, sensory reminder of the wilderness' innate connection with the vulnerability of all earthly paradise.
4th paragraph: He is now truly Sam's son. "Grandfather". The "old tongue" remains alive in him, the death of the wilderness can not hurt him, though it will pain him enough.
Conclusion: The stream-of-consciousness brings us the hopes, dreams, fears, and rich harmonies of Ike McCaslin as he walks the wilderness, remembering what was, knowing that all earthly perfections remain doomed.