The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner

1488 Words6 Pages
In William Faulkner’s novel, The Sound and the Fury, the decline of southern moral values at the close of the Civil War was a major theme. This idea was portrayed by the debilitation of the Compson family. Each chapter of the novel was a different characters’ interpretation of the decaying Compson family. Benjy, Quentin, and Jason Compson were three members of the Compson family who had their own section in the novel. Their unique ideas contributed to the reader’s understanding of the novel. In his novel, The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner’s characters’ relationship with time played a significant role in the novel. In the first chapter of William Faulkner’s novel, The Sound and the Fury, Benjy Compson, the severely retarded son, narrated this section. Benjy’s section was told in a childlike, detached, and often disoriented manner. The reality of time was introduced to the readers as a recurring motif. MAIN POINT Benjy lacked the ability to differentiate between present and past. His sense of time allowed the reader to seek and understand that time affects and informs human experiences. Benjy’s childish voice and acute sense of order were two examples of how a character’s relationship with time played a significant role in the novel. Benjy’s voice was one example that represented his relationship with time. Although he was thirty-three years old, he had the mind of a child. He often remained in his childhood and didn’t understand the connection between cause and effect. Benjy’s constant reference to his years as a child was an indication to the reader that he had no concept of time. One of the strongest symbolic components of the past is childhood. Benjy loved bright things, firelight, and mirrors; another suggestion t... ... middle of paper ... ... time that played a significant role in the novel. Quentin had an infatuation with time. His father’s speculations of time caused Quentin to be obsessed. Quentin frequently looked at the time on his pocket watch and listened to the ticking. His ultimate goal in life was to stop time and when this goal could not be accomplished, Quentin felt death was the only outlet left. Thirdly, was Jason Compson, another character who narrated a section in Faulkner’s novel. His interpretation and relationship with time differed from the other two characters. Jason dwelled in the past and refused to move forward. He frequently blamed his siblings for his life in the present. Jason said it was Caddy’s fault for not obtaining the job at the bank and Quentin’s fault for not having a good education. Each characters’ relationship with time greatly affected The Sound and the Fury.
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