Sound And Fury Characterizatio Essay, Research Paper
Several times throughout The Sound and the Fury, as in other novels, are scenes in which the family, or parts of it, is sitting down at the dinner table for a meal. In Jason s section, there is a particular scene in which this occurs. At this point in time, the Compson family consists of Jason, his mother, Quentin and Benjy, and Dilsey and Luster. The scene begins by Jason refusing to eat dinner, or even go to the dinner table, until his mother and Quentin come down to accompany him. This situation clearly shows the stubbornness of Jason s personality. Several times Dilsey asks him to just eat by himself, and to forget about the other family members who are obviously too sick or occupied to come down to dinner. Instead, Jason continues to read the paper, refusing to move until the rest of the family has come down to join him.
In the same dialogue as above, not only is the trait of stubbornness shown, but also his constant sarcastic, almost brash tone. When Dilsey first tells Jason that dinner is ready, instead of a thank you or any other common words of appreciation, he replies Is it?. . .Excuse me, I didn t hear anybody come down. This clearly shows his sarcastic tone towards all people.
Jason is seen as the man of the house ever since Mr. Compson died. His mother actually corrects herself when she calls the house her house, instead saying it is Jason s and that he is the head of it. This is what gives him a lot of his arrogance and haughtiness. His mother is constantly telling him how he is the superior of all the other children and even that he is the head of the house and that it is his. Who wouldn t acquire such a big ego with the praise he receives from his mother?
When Quentin finally sits at the table, Jason immediately starts to rip her apart. In his usual cynical tone he constantly irritates Quentin to the point where she breaks. Jason brings up the situation in which he was chasing Quentin with another man, but instead of actually telling his mother that he was chasing Quentin, he generalizes the story to exclude her. Quentin knows that this story is about her, and that it will get her in trouble, so she is constantly being bothered by the fact that she could get in trouble at any moment Jason decides to mention her name. This is an example of how manipulative and irking Jason is, especially to Quentin, who has a deep hate for Jason.
Jason also seems to be a chronic liar, an expected characteristic of such an egotistical jerk. He is constantly lying to his mother about his money usage and where he has been and done throughout the day. He lies to his boss at the hardware store about why he was late and what he has been doing. Not only does he lie to his mother, but also he instills a deep depression into her. He does this because he knows it gives him power and control. He likes the fact that his mother is dependent on him and practically bows down in his presence. At one point in their conversation, he said in his mocking tone You ve got Ben to depend on. Cheer up. Just a couple paragraphs down they start talking about Quentin (Jason s brother) and Jason replies Too bad it wasn t me instead of him, you d be a lot better off. Both of these lines spoken by Jason will bring sadness to his mother about the harsh realities of his other siblings, in turn making him look virtually flawless, and nonetheless the best sibling.
He thinks of himself as the best sibling and is completely insensitive to his own relatives. He has no care or love for any of his brothers or sisters. Never once did Jason show sadness or regret for Quentin s death, nor understanding or sympathy for Ben s awful condition.
Throughout this scene and the entire book, we don t get a lot into Quentin s mind or actions. However we do infer that she feels completely uncomfortable, unwanted and out of place in her living situation. She was thrown into that small dysfunctional family and she knows it. She rarely talks or even comes out of her room to converse with her grandmother or Jason. The only events we know of Quentin are immoral, troublemaking ones. She wears heavy make up and gallivants with almost any man she can find. This is more than likely because of the lack of love from home. Jason cannot stand her, and he lets her know it. Her grandmother is so delusional and cannot see her as anything else but a small replica of Caddy.
After being silent for the entire meal, Quentin cannot stand Jason s mind games anymore and she screams that she is the way she is because Jason drives her to be, the Jason makes her do the things she does and be bad and immoral. She seems to show signs of emotional stress by being so quite and confide and times, and then suddenly reacting with an outburst of yelling. This could also be a sign of simply being a teenager, going through rough emotional times that become even worse without the support of loved ones.
The next character being portrayed in this scene is Carolina. She is over concerned with Jason, being her only normal child. She considers him the head of the house, which I personally find quite strange for a mother to be calling her youngest son the head of the house. It almost seems as she looks at Jason as her husband, especially after he passed away. She also keeps herself locked up from society and the outside world. She likes the fact that she is blind to the wickedness of the world, when ironically so much of it is in herself and her family. By keeping herself confide, she doesn t have to compare herself or her family to anything else, and they won t be seen as dysfunctional.
We depict from this scene what the society is like during these times. Compared the public in which we live today, people were less rushed back then and took more significance to a very unified family. There was such importance on the fact that all family members had to be present for the meal and eat together. Now it is lucky if meals are eaten together by the whole family, which everyone s individual schedules.
This society was a less evolved one in the fact that the man was always the head of the house, and that he worked for the benefit of everyone else. The rest of the family was then expected to be obedient to this man.
In this scene, the underlying point we understand is the dysfunction of the Compson family. It helps paint a clearer picture in the reader s mind about how strange and coldhearted and really uncaring the family was towards each other and everyone around them. Showing how the family interacted on a daily basis, like what was done in this scene, helps us understand how really dysfunctional and abnormal the Compsons are.
More specifically, these scene gives the reader s, hopefully, some affection for Quentin and some hatred for Jason, therefore setting up the reader s for Quentin s revenge. This scene also revisits the idea of Quentin being the possible incestrious product of Quentin and Caddy.