Critiques of Faulkner’s Sound and Fury

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Critiques of Faulkner’s Sound and Fury

After reading through a large chunk of criticism, it seems clear to me how David Minter, editor of our edition, hopes to direct the readers’ attentions. I was rather dumbstruck by the number of essays included in the criticism of this edition that felt compelled to discuss Faulkner and the writing of The Sound and the Fury seemingly more than to discuss the text itself. Upon going back over the essay, I realized that Minter’s own contribution, “Faulkner, Childhood, and the Making of The Sound and the Fury,” is a prime example of such “criticism of the text” that focuses on the author, his creation of the text as a process, and the author’s self-professed opinions of the text. I have a number of problems with this idea. Although analyzing Faulkner and his process is not condemnable in of itself, it seems as though nearly every essay in this edition feels it necessary to include a lengthy quote by Faulkner addressing either his love of Caddy, his non-plan when writing the novel, or his deeming the novel a failure. After reading about these facts in essay after essay, one hopes Minter is satisfied in drilling them into the reader’s head. Another issue I have with these inclusions is the relevancy of an author’s statements concerning the writing process of a particular text after the text has been written. It seems that most of Faulkner’s comments about the novel and the writing process were recorded long after the fact, and I have trouble believing his statements concerning his writing process after publication. It seems more likely that his repeated desire to emphasize Caddy’s positive nature is a direct response to more negative receptions of the character upon the release of the book. Re...

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...solely within the imaginations of her three brothers. For Benjy, she is a non-past memory; for Quentin, her spoiled virginity haunts him (along with the honeysuckle he associates with her); for Jason, Caddy haunts in the form of the lost job and subsequent material loss. Thus she becomes in actuality triply phenomenally constructed, for not only does she exist solely within the imaginations of her brothers (in whatever form they are haunted by), but also within the imaginations of Faulkner and the reader. Just as we are watching the watched watcher, readers conceive of Caddy solely through her watchers, the brothers, and their watcher, Faulkner. Caddy exists only in the imaginations of the three (brothers, Faulkner, reader), but she effectively and efficiently haunts them all, detached and delocated from her material body into the phenomenal body of the imagination.
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