Sound and the fury essay

The message to the reader is contradictory; it can even be read as an ultimatum: either stay away, or plunge and lose yourself in the disorienting world of the text. And indeed many things do become clearer as crucial events of family history and identities of the characters are filled in.


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But in fact all four sections construct the implied reader as an insider and exclude the real first-time reader, though in more subtle ways. Often, much like Benjy, Quentin's narrative begins to switch among different times, and, as in Benjy's part, it is only the author's italics that indicate the switches. Quentin's narrative often lacks punctuation, is complicated by syntactic jumbling and fragmentation, which unrealistically implies a reader who is an insider not merely of the Compson family and of the Harvard campus, but of Quentin's own head as well.

But Quentin's stream of consciousness is syntactically and logically problematic even as stream of consciousness—and it certainly makes sense as a technique, because it should be more difficult to follow the stream of a deranged mind on its final countdown to suicide.

The Sound and Fury by William Faulkner

The narrative style of Jason's section is closer to first-person narration rather than stream of consciousness, it is regularly punctuated and capitalized, there are no loose pronouns without reference, no enigmatic metaphors as in Benjy's section, and in general the narration is more coherent. Yet it probably wouldn't be an exaggeration to say that few readers can accept or understand Jason's moral world, which is extremely mean and cruel.

Jason is probably the least trustworthy narrator in the novel, since his perspective is distorted towards oversimplifying and flattening out the complexities of the inner life of the Compson household and each of its members. He is the only one of the four narrators who makes jokes, but he has no poetic strain at all, and this sets him apart from the three other narrators.

Once the reader has become attuned to Benjy's and Quentin's poetic modes of telling, he may find it difficult to adjust to Jason's drier and more cynical mode.


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  • Also, tracing out Jason's rather intricate machinations, such as his pocketing of the money that Caddy sends to her mother for little Quentin, may require considerable mental strain and make the reader feel once again like a puzzled outsider to the experience represented. As for the last section, it is certainly the clearest and most coherent one. The third person narrator finally provides some exposition, for example, on the faces and clothing of characters long familiar to the reader by now if, of course, the reader has kept to the linear order and has not started at the end, the way I eventually did, not having been able to go through the book in its given sequence.

    But a certain element of being closed to the first-time reader persists even here.

    "The sound and the fury", by William Faulkner. "The Death of a Family" - WriteWork

    In the last section there are several moments where the sound of speech or cry is central: first of all Reverend Shegog's Easter sermon, and the description of Benjy's wail discussed in more detail later in the paper as examples of ideal communication represented in the novel. I would argue that in these descriptions written communication itself is positioned as insufficient: the text tells us that the quality of sound in these utterances is what conveys the most important part of their meaning.

    Therefore, one can say that all four parts of The Sound and the Fury cast the implied reader as a more or less intimate insider, present on the scene, and as a result, have a tendency to exclude most or all real readers as unwelcome to the novel's world. In Benjy's and Quentin's sections, the narrative does not allow the reader to tap into its content in regular cognitive ways, but it compensates for this by amplifying the reader's affective perception, by intensifying the emotional content of the narrative, which many readers find much more readily accessible in this text.

    Barbara Hochman. View all notes For instance, this is how one early British reviewer describes his perception of The Sound and the Fury : One reads as one would read a work in a foreign language of which one had a slight knowledge…. One can tell that everybody is agitated, that there are mysterious happenings, sudden piercing memories, hatreds, jealousies, agonies.

    The Sound And The Fury By William Faulkner

    They are all genuine. One believes in them. But these things take place behind an impenetrable curtain of words. The reader is shut off from them.


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    • He is excited, but he does not know why. I would say these responses imply that the affective, empathic way of understanding is especially adequate for reading Benjy's and Quentin's narratives. In fact, even young Jason, as he appears in Benjy's section, can arouse sympathy and understanding, when he cries because he can't go to sleep with the grandmother any more, or when he does not get an equal share of affection from his father. Ong briefly discusses Faulkner's reader role in comparison with the role imposed on a reader of Hemingway's A Farewell to Arms.

      Hemingway's text constructs the reader as an intimate insider, apparently just like The Sound and the Fury —but the effect is totally different. A joke about the likeness to Hemingway in these categories can help place Benjy's style in relation to something more familiar.

      In fact, both Faulkner's and Hemingway's narrators require from the reader a great deal of identification, intimacy and empathy—but Hemingway's narrators succeed in getting these from many more readers. Faulkner repeatedly compared himself to Hemingway along similar lines: when asked to name the best five contemporary writers, he said, Wolfe, Hemingway, Dos Passos, Caldwell and myself. I rated Wolfe first, myself second. I put Hemingway last. I said we were all failures. All of us had failed to match the dream of perfection and I rated the authors on the basis of their splendid failure to do the impossible….

      I thought after Wolfe I had tried the most. I rated Hemingway last because he stayed within what he knew. He did it fine, but he didn't try for the impossible. This is not the only instance of Faulkner's half-praise, half-condescension toward Hemingway as someone who had greater success with the public at the expense of compromising the limitless freedom of experimentation that Faulkner himself opted for, in The Sound and the Fury. In effect, Faulkner suggests that Hemingway stayed within the limits of the recognizable, practicable reader-roles that he could safely expect his readers to take on, while Faulkner's reader-roles were and remain more challenging.

      Fant quotes an exchange between Faulkner and a student at the University of Virginia: Q. Do you write with a particular reader in mind, Mr. Any audience? No, I don't. I wrote for years before it occurred to me that strangers might read the stuff, and I've never broken that habit. I still write it because it worries me so much I've got to get rid of it, and so I put it on paper. As we have seen earlier, however, there were quite a number of early reviewers of the novel who did manage to appreciate its power and at least potential greatness.

      Kenner's reference to the primary language that Adam spoke in the Garden of Eden suggests a desire for an ideal relationship, such as Adam had with God before the fall and before the creation of Eve—before language was corrupted by the possibility of multiple interpretations introduced by the serpent. I try as every artist should to tell my story simply and clearly. What approach would you suggest for them? None of the three brothers in The Sound and the Fury actually narrates his story—like or, in fact, unlike Faulkner, they all have a zero audience within the represented world of the text.

      There are no possible narratees within the novel: in the case of Benjy and Quentin this is self-evident because stream of consciousness does not imply an intradiegetical narratee; in the case of Jason, he couldn't actually tell what he narrates to any other character in the novel, because he cheats and manipulates everyone he deals with, so he cannot afford to disclose to any of them his full story as it is presented to the reader.

      Moreover, the choice of the stream-of consciousness technique for Benjy's and Quentin's stories is a self-evident, no-alternative choice: the former cannot speak, and the latter could not have told the story of his last day to anyone, because his suicide at the end of the day leaves him no time and gives him no motive to tell it.

      In the realm of communication, such purity can mean, actually, a non-transmission of the message, where the message amounts to the whole endemic world that the text attempts to encapsulate. Only non-transmission can guarantee the message's non-distortion, save it from the abuse of misreading, partial or inaccurate understanding. A partial answer to this question is provided by the ideal reader figures inscribed in The Sound and the Fury , and by instances of what Faulkner seems to see as ideal or nearly-ideal communication.

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      Reading for the Plot: Design and Intention in Narrative. New York : Knopf , View all notes In the closing scene of Benjy's section, on the memorable night of the grandmother's funeral, the father says good night to Benjy and Caddy sleeping in the same bed. Is Caddy the ideal, intimate-insider reader that the text most desires? Is communicating with such a reader metaphorically equivalent to incest, since she already shares the meanings that are to be transmitted to her, being from the beginning flesh and bone of the novel's world?

      Actually, as the text clearly shows, Benjy is capable of communicating. He does manage to communicate to others the most important things that he needs or that bother him—but he only gets through to those others who care to interpret his signs. For instance, he succeeds in letting Caddy know that he doesn't want her to use perfume—but he succeeds only because she notices that he doesn't respond to her embrace and keeps walking away from her 40— She'll do it.

      Caddy, on the contrary, persists in asking him and soon discovers what has upset him; she is also prepared to give away the bottle of perfume to Dilsey so as not to upset him any more. The rationality and madness of Faulkner's "The Sound and the Fury" Quentin Compson is the eldest son of the Compson family of William Faulkner's novel "The Sound and the Fury" and represents all the important elements of madness.

      A family of wealthy and wealthy Compson, which was held in the imaginary town of Jefferson, Mississippi, is beginning to collapse. After a small girl traced the town he was walking for miles, his own sexual desire reached the forefront of his consciousness and changed himself to the mutual memory of his sister Katie. Through the part of Quentin's work by Faulkner, the image of honeysuckle appears with the loss of Katie's virgin and Quentin's anxiety about this loss. I am ashamed of the number of papers that were forced to discuss the text of Faulkner's "brawl and confusion", rather than discussing the text itself, which was included in the critique of this version.

      In this way, the Compson brothers are In-itself only without a For-itself; that is, without a projection toward a possible future self, for these past experiences determine the next person. I am not. However, this is not entirely correct for Benjy and Jason, for both have the present as a part of their respective phenomenologies of time as discussed below.

      The main criticism of the novel is that Faulkner confuses chronology and temporality, characterizing time as an external rather than an internal relation, distinct from and determinate of human consciousness, which is to emphasize a past without a future.

      The Sound And The Fury Essay

      For, in each first-person narrative, words describing the present are often interrupted by descriptions of past experiences, which sometimes wholly usurp the story describing the chronological present. A story is told nonetheless, which implies some movement between these narratives of the past and present. He illustrates this notion with a metaphor of an airplane flight with lots of air pockets.

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      Does it bring us to the questions: What is the nature of this motionless movement characterized by this sinking in of consciousness into the past? In sum, literary experts criticize Faulkner for maintaining a chronological metaphysics of time under which consciousness is determined by the sure of its misfortunes, leaving his characters without their future possibilities. Sartre, on the other hand, maintains that the novel is a matter of emotional constellations, which provide it with a purposeful ordering different from a rational, chronological order.

      Faulkner leaves his characters without futures; however, this is not to say that the future is not present in the novel; for it is present as an absence brought about by the expected but unaccomplished isolation of it from the grounds of the three Compson consciousnesses. I would criticize this characterization of the future because we are the source of our possibilities and therefore of our possible future selves.

      Faulkner was not looking to describe the lived experience of all human beings, but instead was describing and expressing a distinctly southern expertise that non-southerners could feel so profoundly they almost believed they experienced it themselves. Accessed October 18, Leave your email and we will send you an example after 24 hours 23 : 59 : If you contact us after hours, we'll get back to you in 24 hours or less. Hi there, would you like to get such a paper?

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