Sound And The Fury Essay, Research Paper
THE SOUND AND THE FURY William Faulkner’s background influenced him to write the unconventional novel The Sound and the Fury. One important influence on the story is that Faulkner grew up in the South. The Economist magazine states that the main source of his inspiration was the passionate history of the American South, centered for him in the town of Oxford, Mississippi, where he lived most of his life. Similarly, Faulkner turns Oxford and its environs, “my own little postage stamp of native soil,” into Yoknapatawpha County, the mythical region in which he sets the novel (76). In addition to setting, another influence on the story is Faulkner’s own family. He had three brothers, black servants, a mother whose family was not as distinguished as her husband’s, a father who drank a lot, and a grandmother called Damuddy who died while he was young. In comparison, the novel is told from the point of view of the three Compson brothers, shows the black servant Dilsey as a main character, has Mrs.! Compson complain about how her family is beneath her husband’s, portrays Mr. Compson as a alcoholic, and names the children’s grandmother Damuddy who also dies while they are young. Perhaps the most important influence on the story is Faulkner’s education, or lack thereof. He never graduated from high school, let alone college, and in later life wryly described himself as “the world’s oldest sixth grader.” He took insistent pride in the pre-intellectual character of his creativity, and once declined to meet a delegation of distinguished foreign authors because “they’d want to talk about ideas. I’m a writer, not a literary man” (76). In writing The Sound and the Fury, Faulkner pays no attention to normal literary work. He often uses incoherent and irrational phrases to bring the reader into the minds of the characters. This background, together with a believable plot, convincing characterization and important literary devices enables William Faulkner in The Sound and the! Fury to develop the theme of the regression of the family. The structure of The Sound and the Fury leaves much to be desired. First of all, the time sequence is chaotic and only leads to confusion. The first section is told from the point of view of a thirty three year old idiot, Benjy Compson, who can tell no difference between the past or present. The Benjy section is very difficult to understand because the slightest incident can trigger a memory from him and completely replace what is happening in the immediate time frame. For instance, the first jump in time occurs on just the second page of the book when Luster says, “Cant you never crawl through here without snagging on that nail.” Benjy automatically thinks back to when he went with Caddy to deliver a letter to Mrs. Patterson and got stuck on the fence near Christmas. When Caddy says in the same memory, “You don’t want your hands froze on Christmas, do you,” Benjy thinks of an earlier incident when Caddy tried to convince Mrs. Compson to let him come outside with her (F! aulkner 4). The next section, told from Quentin Compson’s perspective, is as equally puzzling. Since Quentin has decided to end his life, he reminisces about his past and the reason he chose to die. The reason is his sister’s act of adultery. Whenever he is reminded of events that have to do with his sister’s sin, he also goes back in time. When Quentin is thinking about how good the weather will be for the Harvard boat race in June, the month of brides, he thinks of Caddy’s wedding day. He then thinks of the roses at her wedding and of trying to convince his father that he committed incest with his sister (77). Another uncertainty in this novel is the lack of rising action or climax. The book is told on Easter weekend, 1928, and gives the whole history of the family by retelling the events that occurred in the minds of the characters. To begin, the first section tells what will happen in the rest of the novel in the form of Benjy’s memories. It informs the reader th! at Mr. Compson and Damuddy dies, Uncle Maury is having an affair with a married woman, Benjy gets castrated, and that Caddy gets pregnant, married, and then denounced by her family when she is left by her husband. Since the first part already tells what happens to the family, there is no suspense. The rest of the novel is just the same events retold from a different view. There is nothing to look forward to but the clarification of the events that already occurred. The closest thing there is to a climax is when Quentin runs away with the money Jason stole from her. But, since neither of the characters are the protagonist, the event is not a dramatic enough change in the novel to be considered as a turning point. Finally, the want of resolve makes the book seem barren. The struggle Caddy went through is indecisive. Caddy spent her whole life battling her parents to show that their way of life was iniquitous. Instead, she is the one who gets pregnant and trapped in a lo! veless marriage, divorced from her husband for having an affair before him, and having the daughter she bore removed from her care because she was deemed an unfit mother. The last pitiful account of Caddy in the book is when she tries to get a glimpse of her daughter Quentin, who later runs away with a man from a traveling carnival (202). Quentin’s role in the book also seems pointless. He tried to live a fruitful life but only succeeded in killing himself. He got so involved with his sister and her life that he forgot the value of his own. After Faulkner meticulously describes how Quentin feels and thinks, he ends the character’s life and shows no significance of what Quentin went through to the reader. Undoubtedly, Benjy’s character seems the most meaningless. The only person who showed any sign of love to him was his sister Caddy. He spent his whole life being shifted between people who only thought of him as a burden. In the end, he is sent to an mental institutio! n and is never heard from again. Therefore, the greatest fulfillment of The Sound and the Fury does not come from the the sequence of events, climax, or resolve, but the appreciation of the battle each character fights. Caddy, Quentin, and Jason, each representing different elements of society, prove that being a Compson can only lead to a futile life. Caddy’s character represents the rebellious side of mankind. The first signs off her defiance show when she is just seven years old. When Caddy is playing in the branch, she squats down and gets her dress wet. Even with all of the warnings from Versh and Quentin, she does not care if her parents find out. Instead, she takes off her dress in front of the servants, and then plays in the water. Even when Jason threatens to tell on her, she tells him she does not care. In fact, she says she will tell their parents herself (Faulkner 17). When she is older, about eighteen, Caddy commits her biggest act of disobedience. She loses her virginity to Dalton Ames in an attempt to deny everything her parents stand for, even if it means losing something that she can never get back. When she returns home from her date, she avoids Benjy because she know! s that he can sense sexual changes in her. In the past, he would always moan and holler when he sensed that she was doing something with a man that she was not supposed to do. All she had to do to make him stop was to wash her face and mouth, but now she can not simply wash her sin away, so she tries to stay away from him. Once he sees her, though, he starts to cry and pushes her to the bathroom in an attempt to turn her back to normal (69). Later in the book, Caddy is even willing to end her life because she knows her parents will disapprove. When Quentin finds out that Caddy has lost her virginity, he wants her to commit suicide with him. She readily accepts, and when he puts the knife to her neck, she even tells him to make sure he pushes hard (152). While Caddy represents rebellion, Quentin portrays morals because of his obsession with his sister’s sin. When the story is told from his point of view, it is filled with his thoughts of her and the men in her life. In ! his mind, he goes over the times when he confronted Dalton Ames and Herbert Head, his father’s nonchalant opinion about her sin, and the times when he talked with her about it (76). Another example of Quentin’s fixation on his sister is when he tries to get her to commit suicide with him. He is so crazed over her loss of ethics that he wants to end it all for both of them. He can not live in a world without social laws, and he feels that Caddy should die also because she has broken them. After she accepts his offer, though, he does not kill her because it would only cause more chaos (152). In the end, however, he does commit suicide to escape from a world without morals. When he wakes up in the morning, he dresses in his best suit and writes two letters in an attempt to get his last affairs in order. He then lets every part of his sister’s violation replay over and over in his mind before he ends his life (76). Ultimately, Jason depicts the corrupt portion of society. H! e gets pleasure from causing other people torment. When Luster wanted to go to the show one night Jason offered to sell him the tickets that he was not going to use anyway. He knew that Luster had no money, so he held out the tickets to tantalize him. When Luster said he could not pay for it but asked him to let him have it since he was not going to use it, Jason burned the tickets in front of him (254). Furthermore, Jason is willing to steal to attain what he wants. When Caddy sends him money to take care of Miss Quentin, he pretends to burn the checks, claming he will not accept money from her. Instead, he keeps the money to use for himself and his mistress (219). Finally, Jason feels no ties to anyone. He does not care whom he hurts as long as he gets what he wants. Jason even sent his own brother Benjy to an insane asylum in Jackson because he was ashamed of him. He grew weary of his moaning and sent him off to where he could not bother him anymore (222). Theref! ore, in struggling to deny and escape the world of the Compsons, Caddy, Quentin, and Jason are each doomed to live their lives in vain because there is no evading the family curse. The mixture of literary devices in The Sound and the Fury give a rare and personal view of the characters. Point of view is one of the most important methods used because it shows each character from different perspectives. Benjy is nonjudgmental and shows each character from the stand point of someone who is not personally involved. Through him, each character is shown purely for what they do and say. Quentin’s view is different from the fact that he is more meticulous. He sees every error that each member of the family makes. He dwells on the sordid side of life, so each character is shown for their covetous side. For instance, the only view we get of Mr. Compson is from Quentin. Since Mr. Compson does not live by principals, Quentin is the most likely person to dwell on him. Jason gives the last personal view of the story. He is self-centered so he only thinks of people by the way their acts affect him. Through his eyes, every character is seen as petty and usel! ess unless they serve his purpose. When he spoke of his mistress he said, “I’ve got every respect for a good honest whore,” but when he calls Miss Quentin a “little whore,” the respect is obviously left out. By using contrast and foils each character’s personalities are seen more clearly. Mrs. Compson and her daughter, Caddy, are two very different people. Mrs. Compson is lazy and self-pitying. She exaggerates small problems and shifts her responsibilities onto the black servants, then complains that they don’t do it quickly enough (59). On the other hand, Caddy is very strong and independent. She took care of herself and her brothers when Mrs. Compson laid in bed. While her mother cares for appearances, such as always keeping Benjy away from the company, Caddy becomes a mother figure to him and takes him everywhere with her. Quentin and Jason also contradict each other. Quentin is very sensitive about the world around him. The very act of committing suicide because of! what his sister did goes against everything Jason believes in. Jason can only think of himself and would never dream of making such a drastic sacrifice for someone else’s mistake. The only feelings he has toward his sister are those of hatred because she cost him a job at her ex-husband’s bank. Dilsey and Maury Bascomb counter each by the roles they play in the family. Dilsey helps keep the family together and in order. She even buys Benjy a birthday cake and takes him to church with her when everyone else ignores him. Unlike Dilsey, Maury does nothing useful. He lives with his sister’s family and repays them by using their money for liquor and sending their children to deliver letters to Mrs. Patterson, a married woman he is having an affair with. The technique that most defines the novel is Faulkner’s use of stream of consciousness. This technique allows Benjy’s true thoughts to show. Through his mind, it is possible to show what his limitations are. The reader! gets to see how Benjy associates words and objects through his simple musings. The first occurrence is when the people playing golf call for their caddie and Benjy remembers his older sister (3). By using stream of consciousness, Jason is shown for who he really is. All of his egotistical, greedy, and pompous thoughts are shown in detail. When he thinks about is brother Benjy “running up and down the fence, bellowing like a cow,” there is no mistaking his lack of compassion for others (222). This method proves the most useful in Quentin’s section. Since it is hard to comprehend why most people commit suicide, this mode proves invaluable by giving a true first hand look. Even though it is difficult to understand, the chopped fragments of different conversations can be pieced together to give a precise reason why he justified such an extreme measure. If nothing else, this novel gives the complete aspect of each character’s mind and personality. This background, together with a believable plot, convincing characterization, and important literary devices, enables William Faulkner in The Sound and the Fury to develop the theme of the regression of the family. The only purpose of this theme is to make the story seem more tragic. Faulkner makes no attempt to reform the characters in the book, which gives the reader the impression that the characters are condemned by their environment and heredity. In turn, it makes any attempt at improvement in real life seem useless. He succeeds in making The Sound and the Fury notorious with ill-fated, hopeless, and irredeemable characters. Even though the book is filled with grave adversity, it is worthwhile because of the memorable characters and the author’s unique style of writing.
Dont really have one, sorry