The Sound and the Fury
The title of this novel is The Sound and the Fury. This title is derived from one of Shakespeare’s most intriguing plays, Macbeth. Within Macbeth, Shakespeare describes life as “a tale told by an idiot, full of sound and fury.” And if life is “a tale told by an idiot,” there is justification as to of why Faulkner begins the book through the eyes of Benjy, a thirty-three year old retard.
The author of The Sound and the Fury is William Faulkner. He grew up in Oxford, Mississippi. After dropping out of high school, Faulkner pursued his studies at the University of Mississippi. And he was a member of England’s Royal Navy in World War I.
Attempting to leave his mark in history as a great author, Faulkner created a host of characters comprised of the faults of human nature in the South. And Faulkner is characterized by the range of his technique and tone along with the themes concerning the South.
Faulkner bought a pre-Civil War mansion called “Rowanoak” in Oxford, Mississippi which would be his home until the very day he dies.
The first section of the book is seen through the eyes of Benjy, the retarded son of the aristocratic Compson family. In Benjy’s section, Benjy has no concept of time and portrays everything in the present, and in this case, April Seventh, 1928. The events that take place on this day are insignificant. However, these events bring about memories which are highly significant. Benjy doesn’t understand any abstract concepts such as integrity and time. Instead he just absorbs memories from what he sees and what he hears. He does, however, have the ability to sense any bad occurrences that are out of place. One example of this can be seen when Caddy loses her virginity. Benjy is able to sense this and moans continuously. Caddy is Benjy’s only source of affection and is entirely dependent on her.
The next major character found in the book is Quentin. The second section of the book is seen through the eyes of Quentin many years before. Quentin is the oldest of the Compson children, and has romantic ideals about virginity. He is obsessed with his sister, Caddy, and is upset with her for wanting to marry a man named Dalton Ames. And he only becomes more upset when his father pays no negative regard toward Caddy’s promiscuity or about honor within a family. This eventually leads him to commit suicide. He is the only character in the novel who is obsessed with honor and sexuality. And when he can’t find any love from his mother, he turns to Caddy. Quentin does not want to forget how he handled Caddy’s promiscuity because he believes that if he were to forget the entire experience would be meaningless although he is haunted by it. And in the end, Quentin commits suicide by drowning himself in the river....