William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury

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William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury

In William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury, the image of honeysuckle is used repeatedly to reflect Quentin’s preoccupation with Caddy’s sexuality. Throughout the Quentin section of Faulkner’s work, the image of honeysuckle arises in conjunction with the loss of Caddy’s virginity and Quentin’s anxiety over this loss. The particular construction of this image is unique and important to the work in that Quentin himself understands that the honeysuckle is a symbol for Caddy’s sexuality. The stream of consciousness technique, with its attempt at rendering the complex flow of human consciousness, is used by Faulkner to realistically show how symbols are imposed upon the mind when experiences and sense perceptions coalesce. Working with this modernist technique, Faulkner is able to examine the creation function of symbols in human consciousness.

The occurrences of honeysuckle in the Quentin section suggest that Quentin came to view this plant as a symbol for Caddy’s sexuality involuntarily. When Quentin attempts to convince his father that he was the one who impregnated Caddy, he connects honeysuckle with his sister’s loss of virginity: “I fooled you all the time I was in the house where that damn honeysuckle trying not to think the swing the cedars the secret surges the breathing locked drinking the wild breath the yes Yes Yes yes” (94). In Quentin’s memory of the night Caddy lost her virginity, he recalls honeysuckle as a significant element of the event. In addition, he is hostile towards the plants and its meaning, which can be seen in his damning of it. This connection to the sexual act and the hostility, which is ascribed to it, suggests the internal conflict in his anger...

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... of our deepest memories, rather they are active forces in our life, capable of controlling the mind of the individual.

Works Cited

Bauer, Margaret D. Southern Literary Journal. “`I Have Sinned in That I Have Betrayed

the Innocent Blood': Quentin's Recognition of His Guilt.” 2000: 32.2 70-90.

Bockting, Ineke. Style. “The impossible world of the `schizophrenic': William

Faulkner's Quentin Compson.” 1990:24.3 484-498.

Kartiganer, Donald M. “The Meaning of Form in The Sound and the Fury.” The Sound and the Fury. Ed. David Minter. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1994. 333.

Vickery, Olga W. “The Sound and the Fury: A Study in Perspectives.” The Sound and the Fury. Ed. David Minter. New York: W.W. Norton and Company, 1994. 285.

Zender, Karl F. American Literature. “Faulkner and the Politics of Incest.” 1998: 70.4 739-766.
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