Essay about The Strength of Dilsey in The Sound and the Fury

Essay about The Strength of Dilsey in The Sound and the Fury

Length: 714 words (2 double-spaced pages)

Rating: Better Essays

Open Document

Essay Preview

The Strength of Dilsey in The Sound and the Fury


In The Sound and the Fury, the fated Compson family is a portrayal of both the declining old South and the new South that rose demonically out of its ruins. Through the Compsons, Faulkner personifies at once the mournful self-pity of a fallen gentry, and in Jason, the embittered rage and resentment of those who come after the fall. Throughout the novel, Dilsey is the one quiet fortitude in this irredeemably tragic and fallen family.



One of the first indications of Dilsey's strength in the Compson house is attested to by the fact that she can tell time from the warped clock that hangs in the kitchen. This clock and its skewed rendering corresponds with the Compsons' own inability to reconcile themselves to any rational concept of time. Quentin is long tortured and eventually driven to suicide by his morbid nostalgia; "... time is [Quentin's] misfortune..."(97). Jason's resentment of the past has driven him to his maniacal obsession with hoarding money, in preparation for an abstract future that will never, can never become a reality. Dilsey's ability to make sense of the broken clock reveals that she has made a sense of time eternal, a sense that allows her to live free from the grip of the past and the anticipation of the future. Through her responsibility for the Compson family, and the fact that she is the sole person with whom this responsibility lies, she is inextricably bound to the present-- to project onto Dilsey a past or future seems inappropriate and irrelevant. Dilsey's present however is not Benjy's present, comprised simply of one moment to the next; through living the present, Dilsey transcends it.



That Dilsey is st...


... middle of paper ...


... beckons Benjy to a peace -- ultimate and eternal.



Faulkner gives the reader a final testimony to the eternal quality of Dilsey's strength in her section of the appendix, that comes after the sections devoted to the other blacks of the novel. Simply writing "they endured"(302), Faulkner affirms that Dilsey has led her family to salvation, to stand long after the fall of the Compsons. At the end of the novel, Dilsey returns home: "... the fire had died down. There was no sound in the house... there was no sound anywhere."(265). Dilsey outlasts "the sound and the fury" of the fatally self-centered Compsons, to remain long after them, indomitable and knowing. In bitter irony it is Dilsey who, in Faulknerian terms, not only endures, but prevails.



Works Cited



Faulkner, William. The Sound and the Fury. New York: Vintage Books, 1984.

Need Writing Help?

Get feedback on grammar, clarity, concision and logic instantly.

Check your paper »

Societal Symbology in The Sound and the Fury Essay

- Societal Symbology in The Sound and the Fury A group of independent scientists and historians had determined that mankind was destined to self- destruct in twenty years, despite the best efforts of those who would change the world. Within days of the dire pronouncement, civilization had reverted to its component personality types - revealing the fundamental essence of every person who had heard the news. There were those unable to deal with the imminent doom of the human race, who went home and withdrew into themselves....   [tags: The Sound and the Fury Essays]

Better Essays
1276 words (3.6 pages)

The Sound And The Fury By William Faulkner Essay

- The author of The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner is considered to be one of the greatest and most influential modernist writers of the twentieth century. The Sound and the Fury happens to be one of his most critiqued and studied pieces. Most essays written about the book focus on either the ideas that the mother is egotistical, cold, selfish or that the daughter retrogressive, impure, and soiled. Faulkner blames the decay of the family unit on the daughter Caddy’s virginity and the loss of her purity....   [tags: William Faulkner, Novel, Absalom, Absalom!]

Better Essays
1124 words (3.2 pages)

Essay on The Sound and The Fury

- The Sound and the Fury This novel revolves around the rise and the fall of the aristocratic 19th century Southern Compsons that advocated conventional Southern values. In that dynamism and the muting family norms, the rival upsurge was the changing role of men and women. This is true, as men used to enjoy their authority, dominance, power, masculinity, valiancy, virtuous strength, determination, and courtliness over women and in the society while the role played by the women was similar to putting a showpiece in the form of feminine purity, elegance, and chastity....   [tags: essays research papers]

Better Essays
950 words (2.7 pages)

Essay about William Faulkner’s Dilsey Section

- William Faulkner’s epic mode, The Sound and The Fury (1929) in his last chapter entitled “April 8, 1928,” occurs on Easter Sunday is a tale told from an omniscient narrator in third-person who primarily identifies with the values of the Compson’s servant, Dilsey Gibson. Dilsey is the Compson’s “negro” cook and is the pillar of the Compsons who are suffering economically as being at the verge of The Great Depression. Melancholy appears to be The Compson’s latest song as a result of the affects of the period....   [tags: Literary Analysis ]

Better Essays
2051 words (5.9 pages)

The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner Essay

- 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....   [tags: The Sound and the Fury ]

Better Essays
1488 words (4.3 pages)

The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner Essay

- 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....   [tags: The Sound and the Fury ]

Better Essays
1113 words (3.2 pages)

Sound and The Fury Essay

- Sound and The Fury William Faulkner's The Sound and The Fury is a complicated story of tragedy, lies, and destruction. The whole Compson family is filled with negativity and bad decisions. The family is broken down little by little until it is finally destroyed. Ms. Compson is supposed to be in control but she is a neurotic self-centered woman that escapes responsibility by depending on Dilsey for every need. Ms Compson also created hostility between the Family. Jason, the head of the family since their father died, is always knowing but only cares for himself....   [tags: Faulkner Sound and the Fury Essays]

Free Essays
682 words (1.9 pages)

The Sound and the Fury Essay

- The Sound and the Fury: Chronology of Despair Three little boys watch wearily and fearfully as their sister shimmies quickly up a tree to peer through the window of a dilapidated Southern farmhouse. Our attention focuses neither on her reaction to the festivities commencing in the house, nor on the danger suspended nervously in the dusky air as the tiny image worms up the tree trunk. Sensing the distress apparent in the boys’ words and actions, our eyes rivet to the same thing that fills their faces with apprehension—the dark and muddied stain of filth firmly planted on the bottom of the little girl’s underpants....   [tags: Sound Fury]

Better Essays
6984 words (20 pages)

Shakespeare in the Sound and the Fury Essay

- Shakespeare in the Sound and the Fury   The "Tomorrow" soliloquy in Act V, scene v of the Shakespearean tragedy Macbeth provides central theme and imagery for The Sound and the Fury.  Faulkner may or may not agree with this bleak, nihilistic characterization of life, but he does examine the characterization extensively.               Tomorrow, and tomorrow, and tomorrow             Creeps in this petty pace from day to day             To the last syllable of recorded time;             And all our yesterdays have lighted fools             The way to dusty death.  Out, out brief candle....   [tags: Sound and the Fury Essays]

Better Essays
1696 words (4.8 pages)

Essay about The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner

- The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury is a novel that depicts the loss of traditional Southern values after the Civil War. This corruption is shown through the Compson family, whose notions of family honor and obsession with their family name are the driving force in severing all the ties that once held them together. Mr. Compson tries to instill these notions into his four children, but each is so occupied by their own beliefs and obsessions that this effort results in a house that is completely devoid of love and consumed by self-absorption....   [tags: Sound fury william Faulkner Essays]

Free Essays
445 words (1.3 pages)