The Sound and the Fury Essay

The Sound and the Fury Essay

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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.

This scene from William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury illustrates Faulkner’s incredible talent for storytelling that has enabled him to trap readers and critics in his spectrum of characters for decades. Weaving intense characters together with stories of despair and triumph, Faulkner produces a tapestry that blankets readers with his love/hate relationship with the South. However, in his novel The Sound and the Fury, Faulkner employs a vastly different method of creation. This story unfolds as a patchwork of chronological events told through the experiences, memories, and interpretations of three brothers infatuated and obsessed with the actions and absence of their sister, Caddy. Consisting of a multitude of colors laid out by Caddy’s actions and her brothers’ reactions, Faulkner’s true patchwork genius lies in the craftsmanship of his seam. Binding together multi-colored material created by similar experiences, Faulkner’s stitching takes on a radically different, almost haphazard appearance. With each Compson brother producing a different type of stitching due to vastly different interpretations of their s...


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...n Vase or Crucible of Race?" New Essays on The Sound and the Fury. Ed. Noel Polk. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 1993. 99-137.

"Milkweed." Random House Webster’s College Dictionary. 1996 ed.
Millgate, Michael. "The Sound and the Fury." Ed. David Minter. The Sound and the Fury. New York: W.W. Norton, 1994. 297-310.

Pouillon, Jean. "Time and Destiny in Faulkner." Ed. Robert Penn Warren. Faulkner: A Collection of Critical Essays. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1966. 79-93.

Ross, Stephen M. "The ‘Loud World’ of Quentin Compson." Ed. Andre Bleikasten. William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury: A Critical Casebook. New York: Garland Pulishing, 1982. 101-114.

Sartre, Jean-Paul. "On The Sound and the Fury: Time in the Work of Faulkner." Ed. Robert Penn Warren. Faulkner: A Collection of Critical Essays. Englewood Cliffs: Prentice-Hall, Inc., 1966. 87-93.

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