The Sound and the Fury - Wikipedia
In the memory Uncle Maury asks Versh, one of Dilsey's sons and .. With this scene Faulkner totally de-romanticizes Miss Quentin's relationship with the Benjy sits down in front of the fireplace in the kitchen and calms down. evoking figure who transcends the sound and fury; (9) Dilsey responding to the . Luster whips Benjy when he howls too much, reversing the power relationship between the old white slave .. Benjy is sitting in front of the stove looking into. Luster - Frony's son and Dilsey's grandson. Luster is a young boy who looks after and entertains Benjy in , despite the fact that he is only half Benjy's age.
In the third section, set a day before the first, on April 6,Faulkner writes from the point of view of Jason, Quentin's cynical younger brother. In the fourth and final section, set a day after the first, on April 8,Faulkner introduces a third person omniscient point of view. The last section primarily focuses on Dilsey, one of the Compsons' black servants. Jason is also a focus in the section, but Faulkner presents glimpses of the thoughts and deeds of everyone in the family.
It contains a page history of the Compson family from to April 7, [ edit ] The first section of the novel is narrated by Benjamin "Benjy" Compson, a source of shame to the family due to his diminished mental capacity; the only characters who show a genuine care for him are Caddy, his older sister; and Dilsey, a matriarchal servant. His narrative voice is characterized predominantly by its nonlinearity: The presence of italics in Benjy's section is meant to indicate significant shifts in the narrative.
Originally Faulkner meant to use different colored inks to signify chronological breaks. This nonlinearity makes the style of this section particularly challenging, but Benjy's style develops a cadence that, while not chronologically coherent, provides unbiased insight into many characters' true motivations. Moreover, Benjy's caretaker changes to indicate the time period: Luster in the present, T.
In this section we see Benjy's three passions: But by Caddy has been banished from the Compson home after her husband divorced her because her child was not his, and the family has sold his favorite pasture to a local golf club in order to finance Quentin's Harvard education. In the opening scene, Benjy, accompanied by Luster, a servant boy, watches golfers on the nearby golf course as he waits to hear them call "caddie"—the name of his favorite sibling.
When one of them calls for his golf caddie, Benjy's mind embarks on a whirlwind course of memories of his sister, Caddy, focusing on one critical scene. In when their grandmother died, the four Compson children were forced to play outside during the funeral. In order to see what was going on inside, Caddy climbed a tree in the yard, and while looking inside, her brothers—Quentin, Jason and Benjy—looked up and noticed that her underwear was muddy.
This is Benjy's first memory, and he associates Caddy with trees throughout the rest of his arc, often saying that she smells like trees. Other crucial memories in this section are Benjy's change of name from Maury, after his uncle in upon the discovery of his disability; the marriage and divorce of Caddyand Benjy's castrationresulting from an attack on a girl that is alluded to briefly within this chapter when a gate is left unlatched and Benjy is out unsupervised.
Readers often report trouble understanding this portion of the novel due to its impressionistic language necessitated by Benjamin's mental abilities, as well as its frequent shifts in time and setting. June 2, [ edit ] Quentin, the most intelligent of the Compson children, gives the novel's best example of Faulkner's narrative technique.
We see him as a freshman at Harvardwandering the streets of Cambridgecontemplating death, and remembering his family's estrangement from his sister Caddy. Like the first section, its narrative is not strictly linear, though the two interweaving threads, of Quentin at Harvard on the one hand, and of his memories on the other, are clearly discernible. Quentin's main obsession is Caddy's virginity and purity. He is obsessed with Southern ideals of chivalry and is strongly protective of women, especially his sister.
When Caddy engages in sexual promiscuity, Quentin is horrified. He turns to his father for help and counsel, but the pragmatic Mr.
The Sound and the Fury
Compson tells him that virginity is invented by men and should not be taken seriously. He also tells Quentin that time will heal all. Quentin spends much of his time trying to prove his father wrong, but is unable to do so. Shortly before Quentin leaves for Harvard in the fall ofCaddy becomes pregnant by a lover she is unable to identify, perhaps Dalton Ames, whom Quentin confronts.
The two fight, with Quentin losing disgracefully and Caddy vowing, for Quentin's sake, never to speak to Dalton again. Quentin tells his father that they have committed incestbut his father knows that he is lying: Quentin's idea of incest is shaped by the idea that, if they "could just have done something so dreadful that they would have fled hell except us" 51he could protect his sister by joining her in whatever punishment she might have to endure.
In his mind, he feels a need to take responsibility for Caddy's sin. Pregnant and alone, Caddy then marries Herbert Head, whom Quentin finds repulsive, but Caddy is resolute: Herbert finds out that the child is not his, and sends Caddy and her new daughter away in shame. Quentin's wanderings through Harvard as he cuts classes follow the pattern of his heartbreak over losing Caddy.
For instance, he meets a small Italian immigrant girl who speaks no English. Significantly, he calls her "sister" and spends much of the day trying to communicate with her, and to care for her by finding her home, to no avail.
He thinks sadly of the downfall and squalor of the South after the American Civil War. Tormented by his conflicting thoughts and emotions, Quentin commits suicide by drowning. While many first-time readers report Benjy's section as being difficult to understand, these same readers often find Quentin's section to be near impossible. Not only do chronological events mesh together irregularly, but often especially at the end Faulkner completely disregards any semblance of grammar, spelling, or punctuation, instead writing in a rambling series of words, phrases, and sentences that have no separation to indicate where one thought ends and another begins.
This confusion is due to Quentin's severe depression and deteriorating state of mindand Quentin is therefore arguably an even more unreliable narrator than his brother Benjy.
Because of the staggering complexity of this section, it is often the one most extensively studied by scholars of the novel. April 6, [ edit ] The third section is narrated by Jason, the third child and his mother Caroline's favorite. It takes place the day before Benjy's section, on Good Friday. Of the three brothers' sections, Jason's is the most straightforward, reflecting his single-minded desire for material wealth.
This desire is made evident by his bad investments in cotton, which become symbolic of the financial decline of the south. ByJason is the economic foundation of the family after his father's death. He supports his mother, Benjy, and Miss Quentin Caddy's daughteras well as the family's servants.
His role makes him bitter and cynical, with little of the passionate sensitivity that we see in his older brother and sister. He goes so far as to blackmail Caddy into making him Miss Quentin's sole guardian, then uses that role to steal the support payments that Caddy sends for her daughter. This is the first section that is narrated in a linear fashion.
It follows the course of Good Friday, a day in which Jason decides to leave work to search for Miss Quentin Caddy's daughterwho has run away again, seemingly in pursuit of mischief. Here we see most immediately the conflict between the two predominant traits of the Compson family, which Caroline attributes to the difference between her blood and her husband's: This section also gives us the clearest image of domestic life in the Compson household, which for Jason and the servants means the care of the hypochondriac Caroline and of Benjy.
April 8, [ edit ] April 8,is Easter Sunday. This section, the only one without a single first-person narratorfocuses on Dilsey, the powerful matriarch of the black family servants. She, in contrast to the declining Compsons, draws a great deal of strength from her faith, standing as a proud figure amid a dying family.
On this Easter Sunday, Dilsey takes her family and Benjy to the 'colored' church. Through her we sense the consequences of the decadence and depravity in which the Compsons have lived for decades. Dilsey is mistreated and abused, but nevertheless remains loyal. She, with the help of her grandson Luster, cares for Benjy, as she takes him to church and tries to bring him to salvation. The preacher's sermon inspires her to weep for the Compson family, reminding her that she's seen the family through its destruction, which she is now witnessing.
Meanwhile, the tension between Jason and Miss Quentin reaches its inevitable conclusion. Versh warns Caddy that she will be whipped for getting her dress wet, so Caddy takes the dress off, but then she gets mud on her underclothes too.
Benjy repeats that she smells like trees. Damuddy never actually appears except on the day of her death. In this she symbolizes the Old South, the history and lifestyle the Compsons try to cling to, but which is irrevocably gone. Active Themes Related Quotes with Explanations Back in the present, Luster mentions that Benjy thinks that the pasture is still owned by the Compsons, though they had sold it years before.
Benjy returns to the memory, in which the children head home from the branch. Caddy and Quentin worry that Jason will tattle to their parents about their wet clothes, and they will get whipped. Even as a child Jason is portrayed as self-serving and greedy, and Quentin and Caddy are clearly very close with each other. Active Themes In this memory, Benjy and T. Quentin beats him up, but T. Benjy starts crying then, afraid of his confusing drunkenness. Versh appears, scolding them, and he carries Benjy up the hill to the wedding.
Drunk Benjy is even more confusing than the usual Benjy, as his sense of perception becomes more muddled. In hindsight from the rest of the novel it is likely that Quentin is attacking T. Versh tells the children that the family has company for dinner, because all the lights are on in the house.
The children meet Mr. Compson says that the children have to eat in the kitchen and stay quiet, as there is company over for dinner. Compson do not tell the children that their grandmother is dead — the children have to find it out for themselves.
The Compsons are more concerned with appearances than emotional connection. Dilsey serves dinner to the children, but then Benjy starts crying again. Quentin asks if Mrs. Compson was crying earlier, but Dilsey deflects the question.
Caddy shows herself to be a headstrong child, always trying to be in charge, but she is also the only one who tends to Benjy. The child Jason always seems to be crying about something. Dilsey practically raises the children, as Mrs. Compson is totally incompetent and Mr. Compson is distant, and usually quietly drunk. InDilsey sings in the kitchen while Roskus, her husband, says that the Compsons are unlucky.
The curse of the Compsons will be associated with the theme of history and decline. Dilsey then puts Luster and Benjy to bed together, side by side. Benjy then returns to a memory inwhen the children were playing with some lightning bugs T.
The last flashback shows that Luster and Benjy were basically raised together. Versh points out that Jason will be rich someday because he always has his hands in his pockets, and this makes Jason cry. Caddy tries to convince them that it is not actually a funeral going on, but a party. Young Jason is crying again, foreshadowing his later sense that the world is against him, and his hands in his pockets foreshadow his later greed and small-mindedness. Back inCaddy decides to climb a tree to look into the house, as she still thinks there is a party going on instead of a funeral, and that Damuddy is still alive.
She makes Versh help her up into the tree, and her three brothers look up and see her dirty underwear from below before she disappears into the branches. Her dirty underwear appears again as more foreshadowing, though she is still associated with trees and innocence here and there is a sense that Benjy's sense of her as natural and clean may be more accurate than the Compson's shame about her behavior.
Smells are a strong signifier for Benjy, and when Caddy no longer smells like trees it upsets his sense of order, as she is not youthful and innocent anymore. Compson appears and complains that Benjy is disturbing her peace. Then Caddy figures out that it is her perfume upsetting Benjy, so she washes it off, but Benjy still keeps moaning. Compson once again makes everything about her. Caddy is growing up and becoming less innocent, and the only thing holding her back is not the Compson honor or old Southern values, but her desire to not upset Benjy.
Active Themes In the same memory Mrs. Compson gets upset with her husband for making fun of Uncle Maury, who is in a quarrel with Mr. Compson argues that her family is just as well born as Mr. Compson then fills his decanter of alcohol and leaves.
Caddy falls asleep next to Benjy, trying to comfort him. Compson is more concerned with her own family name and pride than with the real moral deficiencies of her brother. This is the first instance of Mr. Compson drinking, but his decanter of whiskey will become a fixture of his presence. Dilsey then comes out of the house and pulls Caddy down, scolding the children for being outside at night.