How to Read Faulkner if You’ve Tried and Failed

As a high school teacher, I find the best way to teach William Faulkner is to begin with the Snopes family — that ornery, duplicitous, barn-burning clan of blacksmiths, bigamists, and bank presidents. If you haven’t read Faulkner, or have tried and flung the book away in disgust, this may be helpful.

Faulkner does not come naturally to most high school students, and he can be…