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When Chet and Bernie happen upon a prison work crew that includes Frenchie Boutette, an old criminal pal they sent up the river, getting a new case is the last thing they expect. But Frenchie, who comes from an old Louisiana family full of black sheep, needs help finding his one law-abiding relative, his brother Ralph, a reclusive inventor who has gone missing with his houseboat.
Though he's tempted to take another job with a big payday in Alaska, Bernie decides to set course for the bayous of Louisiana, a trip that will introduce Chet to a world of sights, smells, and tastes that are like nothing he's ever encountered. In he described it to graduate students at the University of Virginia as a series of failures:.
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Our editors will review what you've submitted, and if it meets our criteria, we'll add it to the article. Please note that our editors may make some formatting changes or correct spelling or grammatical errors, and may also contact you if any clarifications are needed. Written By: Haley Bracken. Structure The Sound and the Fury is divided into four sections. Start Your Free Trial Today. Learn More in these related Britannica articles:. The novel did find a publisher, despite the difficulties it posed for its readers, and from the…. William Faulkner, American novelist and short-story writer who was awarded the Nobel Prize for Literature.
As the eldest of the four sons of Murry Cuthbert and Maud Butler Falkner, William Faulkner as he later spelled his name was well aware of his family background and especially of his…. Novel, an invented prose narrative of considerable length and a certain complexity that deals imaginatively with human experience, usually through a connected sequence of events involving a group of persons in a specific setting.
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The Sound and the Fury () - IMDb
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In the third section, set a day before the first, on April 6, , Faulkner writes from the point of view of Jason, Quentin's cynical younger brother. In the fourth and final section, set a day after the first, on April 8, , Faulkner introduces a third person omniscient point of view.
The last section primarily focuses on Dilsey, one of the Compsons' black servants. Jason and Quentin Compson Caddy's daughter are also a focus in the section, but Faulkner presents glimpses of the thoughts and deeds of everyone in the family. It contains a page history of the Compson family from to The first section of the novel is narrated by Benjamin "Benjy" Compson, a source of shame to the family due to his diminished mental capacity; the only characters who show a genuine care for him are Caddy, his older sister; and Dilsey, a matriarchal servant.
His narrative voice is characterized predominantly by its nonlinearity: spanning the period —, Benjy's narrative is a series of non-chronological events presented in a stream of consciousness. The presence of italics in Benjy's section is meant to indicate significant shifts in the narrative.
Originally Faulkner meant to use different colored inks to signify chronological breaks. This nonlinearity makes the style of this section particularly challenging, but Benjy's style develops a cadence that, while not chronologically coherent, provides unbiased insight into many characters' true motivations. Moreover, Benjy's caretaker changes to indicate the time period: Luster in the present, T.
In this section we see Benjy's three passions: fire, the golf course on land that used to belong to the Compson family, and his sister Caddy. But by Caddy has been banished from the Compson home after her husband divorced her because her child was not his, and the family has sold his favorite pasture to a local golf club in order to finance Quentin's Harvard education. In the opening scene, Benjy, accompanied by Luster, a servant boy, watches golfers on the nearby golf course as he waits to hear them call "caddie"—the name of his favorite sibling.
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When one of them calls for his golf caddie, Benjy's mind embarks on a whirlwind course of memories of his sister, Caddy, focusing on one critical scene. In when their grandmother died, the four Compson children were forced to play outside during the funeral. In order to see what was going on inside, Caddy climbed a tree in the yard, and while looking inside, her brothers—Quentin, Jason and Benjy—looked up and noticed that her underwear was muddy.
This is Benjy's first memory, and he associates Caddy with trees throughout the rest of his arc, often saying that she smells like trees. Other crucial memories in this section are Benjy's change of name from Maury, after his uncle in upon the discovery of his disability; the marriage and divorce of Caddy , and Benjy's castration , resulting from an attack on a girl that is alluded to briefly within this chapter when a gate is left unlatched and Benjy is out unsupervised.
Readers often report trouble understanding this portion of the novel due to its impressionistic language necessitated by Benjamin's mental abilities, as well as its frequent shifts in time and setting. Quentin, the most intelligent of the Compson children, gives the novel's best example of Faulkner's narrative technique.
The Sound and the Fury
We see him as a freshman at Harvard , wandering the streets of Cambridge , contemplating death, and remembering his family's estrangement from his sister Caddy. Like the first section, its narrative is not strictly linear, though the two interweaving threads, of Quentin at Harvard on the one hand, and of his memories on the other, are clearly discernible. Quentin's main obsession is Caddy's virginity and purity.
He is obsessed with Southern ideals of chivalry and is strongly protective of women, especially his sister. When Caddy engages in sexual promiscuity, Quentin is horrified. He turns to his father for help and counsel, but the pragmatic Mr. Compson tells him that virginity is invented by men and should not be taken seriously. He also tells Quentin that time will heal all. Quentin spends much of his time trying to prove his father wrong, but is unable to do so.
Shortly before Quentin leaves for Harvard in the fall of , Caddy becomes pregnant by a lover she is unable to identify, perhaps Dalton Ames, whom Quentin confronts. The two fight, with Quentin losing disgracefully and Caddy vowing, for Quentin's sake, never to speak to Dalton again. Quentin tells his father that they have committed incest , but his father knows that he is lying: "and he did you try to make her do it and i i was afraid to i was afraid she might and then it wouldn't do any good" Quentin's idea of incest is shaped by the idea that, if they "could just have done something so dreadful that they would have fled hell except us" 51 , he could protect his sister by joining her in whatever punishment she might have to endure.
In his mind, he feels a need to take responsibility for Caddy's sin. Pregnant and alone, Caddy then marries Herbert Head, whom Quentin finds repulsive, but Caddy is resolute: she must marry before the birth of her child.
Sarah Churchwell: rereading The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner
Herbert finds out that the child is not his, and sends Caddy and her new daughter away in shame. Quentin's wanderings through Harvard as he cuts classes follow the pattern of his heartbreak over losing Caddy. For instance, he meets a small Italian immigrant girl who speaks no English. Significantly, he calls her "sister" and spends much of the day trying to communicate with her, and to care for her by finding her home, to no avail. He thinks sadly of the downfall and squalor of the South after the American Civil War.
Tormented by his conflicting thoughts and emotions, Quentin commits suicide by drowning. While many first-time readers report Benjy's section as being difficult to understand, these same readers often find Quentin's section to be near impossible. Not only do chronological events mesh together irregularly, but often especially at the end Faulkner completely disregards any semblance of grammar, spelling, or punctuation, instead writing in a rambling series of words, phrases, and sentences that have no separation to indicate where one thought ends and another begins.
This confusion is due to Quentin's severe depression and deteriorating state of mind , and Quentin is therefore arguably an even more unreliable narrator than his brother Benjy. Because of the staggering complexity of this section, it is often the one most extensively studied by scholars of the novel. The third section is narrated by Jason, the third child and his mother Caroline's favorite.