The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner

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William Faulkner is a celebrated American author. A native of the south, many of his novels have a southern influence and often revolve around a common theme: the fall of the South. These novels contain elements and characteristics similar to those of the south after the Civil War. Faulkner symbolizes the fall of the south throughout his novel The Sound and the Fury by illustrating how the male characters are weaker than the female characters.

Jason Compson III, the father of the Compson family, is considered a weak character due to flaws in his personality. Although he is the head of the Compson family, he is not a strong enough fatherly figure to prevent the family’s downfall. Mr. Compson is an indifferent father and lacks compassion towards his children. Instead of being supportive and loving Mr. Compson is an ironic and pessimistic man. In one instance, Mr. Compson tells his son Quentin “bad health is the primary reason for all life. Created by disease, with putrefaction, into decay” (#). The advice he gives his children is cynical as well. When Quentin tries to help his sister Caddy, Mr. Compson states “no battle is ever won he said. They are not even fought. The field only reveals to man his own folly and despair, and victory is an illusion of philosophers and fools” (#).

Mr. Compson is an emotionally weak man. He is not capable of solving his problems correctly. Mr. Compson sells Benjy’s pasture in order for his son Quentin to attend Harvard. However, Quentin commits suicide and the tuition money is wasted. He becomes depressed and instead of seeking help he turns to alcohol, which ultimately leads to his downfall. Mr. Compson believes help is unnecessary, for he states “it’s not when you realize that not...

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...ills him. Quentin Compson is weak out of the inability to face his fears. He falls apart when he discovers he cannot live in both the past and the present and when he comes to the realization that values are disappearing. Quentin ultimately takes his life as a result. Jason Compson IV is a weak character as well. He is the type of person that needs to put others down in order to build himself up and he is susceptible to vices, such as greed and anger. In the end this causes Jason to become so disheveled that a part of him dies. The weaknesses of all three men help cause the downfall of the Compson family, and as a result the women of the novel are even stronger, as it was when the south fell.

Works Cited

Faulkner, William. Minter, David, ed. The Sound and the Fury. 2nd ed. United States of America: W.W. Norton & Company, Inc., 1994. Print.
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