Major Themes in Faulkner’s The Sound and The Fury

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What themes do you see in the novel? Faulkner’s The Sound and The Fury, has numerous themes. While reading the novel, several themes stood out to me more than others. From the beginning of the book, we see how time, the past and its meaning play a large role in each characters life. This fixation on the past and guilt from the past also gives way to the theme of family honor and how that plays into the aristocratic life of the Compson family. The first chapter is narrated by Benjy, a person with both physical and mental disabilities. This chapter was incredibly difficult to follow and took me nearly the entire chapter to really get a sense of what is happening in it. It is obvious that Benjy was disabled; however, the difficult part of the reading was following the time-lapses that surround his narration. Benjy has no real concept of time, so the story is in and out of past memories that tie together later in the novel. “He was thrashing about and laughing and I tried to get up. The cellar steps ran up the hill in the moonlight and T.P. fell up the hill, into the moonlight, and I ran against the fence and T.P. ran behind me saying. ‘Hush up hush up.’ Then he fell into the flowers, laughing, and I ran into a box, but when I tried to climb onto it it jumped away and hit me on the back of the head and my throat made a sound. It made the sound again and I stopped trying to get up, and it made the sound again and I began to cry. But my throat kept on making the sound while T.P. was pulling me. It kept on making it and T.P. fell down on top of me laughing, laughing and it kept on making the sound and Quentin kicked T.P. and Caddy put her arms around me, and her shining veil, and I couldn’t smell trees anymore and I began to cry” (40)... ... middle of paper ... ... disgracing the Compson family name. “That’s just what I’m thinking of-flesh. And a little blood too, if I had my way. When people act like niggers, no matter who they are the only thing to do is treat them like a nigger” (181). Here is another example of Jason’s feelings of how Miss Quentin should be treated when she acts in the same way as her mother. Jason keeps the money Caddy sends to Miss Quentin every month. Jason feels him “confiscating” the money is his right. He feels that since he is the only male Compson left at home, other than Benjy, he must keep the family together at all costs. As different as all three of these narrators are, and the vastly different way they interact with the other members of the Compson family, we see many of the same themes. We are able to see how Family honor, guilt, and time greatly affect each character in their own way
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