The Sound And The Fury

2672 Words11 Pages
THE SOUND AND THE FURY

William Faulkner's background influenced him to write the unconventional novel The Sound and the Fury. One important influence on the story is that Faulkner grew up in the South. The Economist magazine states that the main source of his inspiration was the passionate history of the American South, centered for him in the town of Oxford, Mississippi, where he lived most of his life. Similarly, Faulkner turns Oxford and its environs, "my own little postage stamp of native soil," into Yoknapatawpha County, the mythical region in which he sets the novel (76). In addition to setting, another influence on the story is Faulkner's own family. He had three brothers, black servants, a mother whose family was not as distinguished as her husband's, a father who drank a lot, and a grandmother called Damuddy who died while he was young. In comparison, the novel is told from the point of view of the three Compson brothers, shows the black servant Dilsey as a main character, has Mrs.! Compson complain about how her family is beneath her husband's, portrays Mr. Compson as a alcoholic, and names the children's grandmother Damuddy who also dies while they are young. Perhaps the most important influence on the story is Faulkner's education, or lack thereof. He never graduated from high school, let alone college, and in later life wryly described himself as "the world's oldest sixth grader." He took insistent pride in the pre-intellectual character of his creativity, and once declined to meet a delegation of distinguished foreign authors because "they'd want to talk about ideas. I'm a writer, not a literary man" (76). In writing The Sound and the Fury, Faulkner pays no attention to normal literary work. He often uses incoherent and irrational phrases to bring the reader into the minds of the characters. This background, together with a believable plot, convincing characterization and important literary devices enables William Faulkner in The Sound and the! Fury to develop the theme of the regression of the family. The structure of The Sound and the Fury leaves much to be desired. First of all, the time sequence is chaotic and only leads to confusion. The first section is told from the point of view of a thirty three year old idiot, Benjy Compson, who can tell no difference between the past or present. The Benjy section is ve...

... middle of paper ...

...section. Since it is hard to comprehend why most people commit suicide, this mode proves invaluable by giving a true first hand look. Even though it is difficult to understand, the chopped fragments of different conversations can be pieced together to give a precise reason why he justified such an extreme measure. If nothing else, this novel gives the complete aspect of each character's mind and personality. This background, together with a believable plot, convincing characterization, and important literary devices, enables William Faulkner in The Sound and the Fury to develop the theme of the regression of the family. The only purpose of this theme is to make the story seem more tragic. Faulkner makes no attempt to reform the characters in the book, which gives the reader the impression that the characters are condemned by their environment and heredity. In turn, it makes any attempt at improvement in real life seem useless. He succeeds in making The Sound and the Fury notorious with ill-fated, hopeless, and irredeemable characters. Even though the book is filled with grave adversity, it is worthwhile because of the memorable characters and the author's unique style of writing.

More about The Sound And The Fury

Open Document