Free College Essays - Chaos in The Sound and the Fury
454 Words2 Pages
The Sound and the Fury - Chaos
A key theme in William Faulkner’s novel The Sound and the Fury is the deterioration of the Compson family. May Brown focuses on this theme and explains that Quentin is the best character to relate the story of a family torn apart by” helplessness, perversion, and selfishness.” In his section, there is a paradoxical mixture of order and chaos which portrays the crumbling world that is the core of this novel.
The most important element in Quentin’s section is his obsession with time. To Quentin. time is torturous and destructive. He blames time for his loss of Caddy to sin and hence for his own suffering. Quentin becomes obsessed with avoiding time and attempts to avoid all implements which tell time. When he realizes that he has about as much chance of escaping time as stopping Caddy from losing her virginity, he tries to defeat time by destroying himself Therefore, at the end of his section, he commits suicide.
Another significant element to look at in Quentin’s section is his imagery. For one, “the mirror” constantly creeps up in Quentin’s mind and is a symbol of Quentin’s inability to look at Caddy’s marriage directly. Moreover, Quentin always sees Caddy as “ confined “in the mirror because this is his illusion of her childhood purity. He cannot accept that she has crossed the threshold into maturity. Doors are another important image in Quentin’s section. They portray Caddy’s actual entry into the world of maturity - a notion which Quentin refuses to accept. Water, as well, is alluded to often. It represents Quentin’s understanding of the knowledge of good and evil which he constantly tries to deny and his obsessions with sex and mortality. It is in water that Quentin finally decides to take his own life.
Throughout Quentin’s section there are a number of grammatical errors, unfinished sentences, fragmented thoughts, and repeated phrases. These intentional “mistakes” are an essential part of Quentin’s narrative. They help depict Quentin’s madness and the confused state which he is in on the day of his suicide. We see from his thoughts and memories that he has become just as cynical and fatalistic as his alcoholic father who says, no battle is ever won.