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William Faulkner’s Quentin Section: Time Motif

1467 words - 6 pages

William Faulkner’s The Sound and The Fury (1929), focuses on the stream of consciousness narrative technique that is used in his fictional novel. Faulkner uses motifs throughout his novel masterly through time, shadows, order and chaos that bring into focus the consciousness of his characters. These motifs are used continuously as structures, contrasts or literary devices that develop and inform the text’s themes. He focuses on the theme of the corruption of southern aristocratic values, the economy, Civil War, resurrection, renewal, failure of language and narrative (www.sparknotes.com). Analyzing a motif as a thematic construct used by Faulkner makes it possible to identify the purpose of the device. In his novel the mechanism is used to develop an explicit character and point of view. Consequently, the author effectively brings into existence an impetus by which the reader will be controlled exclusively due to a motif. The use of a motif as a literary convention creates depth to the significance of his novel. A thematic construct, a motif of time, is used by writer, William Faulkner to give connotation and shape to his novel, The Sound and The Fury. Analyzing time motif in Faulkner’s novel along with the examination of the critical theories of Jacques Derrida and Jean Paul Sartre reveals the function of time in the Quentin section.
Jacques Derrida in 1966 gave a lecture at John Hopkins entitled “Structure, Sign and Play in the Discourse of the Human Sciences” whereby explained the importance of identifying the structure, sign and play when applying his technique of deconstruction. A deconstructive reading is a reading which analyses the specificity of a text’s critical difference from itself” (www.stanford.edu). Applying his technique one may identify thematic constructions such as time motif used in Faulkner’s novel. Derrida sees time as “phenomenological, temporality and limitless, hence, time can flow backwards as well as forwards, unidirectional. Moreover, since he views time as boundariless he sees that we don’t jump into the past (or have the past return); time flows backwards. The “stream” is simply reversed. Or rather, it is reversed while still moving forward—and of course this makes it less simple. Time flows forwards just as much as backwards, and never “returns” upon itself in the sense that it rewinds and undoes itself, going back to the moment that is not yet” (www.mikejohnduff.com). Derrida’s time ideology is applied by Faulkner as a narrative technique as a stream of consciousness and time motif. Additionally, applying Derrida’s perspective of time on a broader scale relating to Faulkner’s novel time would be noted on a broader scale revealing: the finish and the potential possibility – fate as well as revealing the transition from the old southern aristocratic values to the new southern ways that devalues the old.
In addition to applying Derrida’s deconstruction techniques to grasp deeper meaning to...

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