The Sound and the Fury

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Overview

First published in 1929, Faulkner created his "heart's darling," the beautiful and tragic Caddy Compson, whose story Faulkner told through separate monologues by her three brothers—the idiot Benjy, the neurotic suicidal Quentin and the monstrous Jason.
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Overview

First published in 1929, Faulkner created his "heart's darling," the beautiful and tragic Caddy Compson, whose story Faulkner told through separate monologues by her three brothers—the idiot Benjy, the neurotic suicidal Quentin and the monstrous Jason.
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Editorial Reviews

From the Publisher
“I am in awe of Faulkner’s Benjy, James’s Maisie, Flaubert’s Emma, Melville’s Pip, Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein—each of us can extend the list. . . . I am interested in what prompts and makes possible this process of entering what one is estranged from.” —Toni Morrison
 
“No man ever put more of his heart and soul into the written word than did William Faulkner. If you want to know all you can about that heart and soul, the fiction where he put it is still right there.” —Eudora Welty
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9781857150698
  • Publisher: Gardners Books
  • Publication date: 3/19/1992
  • Edition description: New

Meet the Author

William Faulkner

William Faulkner (1897–1962) is the Nobel Prize–winning author of
The Sound and the Fury and As I Lay Dying, among other works.

Michael Gorra teaches English at Smith College. His books include After Empire, The Bells in Their Silence, and, as editor, the Norton Critical Edition of Faulkner’s As I Lay Dying. He lives in Northampton, Massachusetts.

Biography

William Faulkner was born in New Albany, Mississippi, on September 25, 1897. His family was rooted in local history: his great-grandfather, a Confederate colonel and state politician, was assassinated by a former partner in 1889, and his grandfather was a wealth lawyer who owned a railroad. When Faulkner was five his parents moved to Oxford, Mississippi, where he received a desultory education in local schools, dropping out of high school in 1915. Rejected for pilot training in the U.S. Army, he passed himself off as British and joined the Canadian Royal Air Force in 1918, but the war ended before he saw any service. After the war, he took some classes at the University of Mississippi and worked for a time at the university post office. Mostly, however, he educated himself by reading promiscuously.

Faulkner had begun writing poems when he was a schoolboy, and in 1924 he published a poetry collection, The Marble Faun, at his own expense. His literary aspirations were fueled by his close friendship with Sherwood Anderson, whom he met during a stay in New Orleans. Faulkner's first novel, Soldier's Pay, was published in 1926, followed a year later by Mosquitoes, a literary satire. His next book, Flags in the Dust, was heavily cut and rearranged at the publisher's insistence and appeared finally as Sartoris in 1929. In the meantime he had completed The Sound and the Fury, and when it appeared at the end of 1929 he had finished Sanctuary and was ready to begin writing As I Lay Dying. That same year he married Estelle Oldham, whom he had courted a decade earlier.

Although Faulkner gained literary acclaim from these and subsequent novels -- Light in August (1932), Pylon (1935), Absalom, Absalom! (1936), The Unvanquished (1938), The Wild Palms (1939), The Hamlet (1940), and Go Down, Moses (1942) -- and continued to publish stories regularly in magazines, he was unable to support himself solely by writing fiction. he worked as a screenwriter for MGM, Twentieth Century-Fox, and Warner Brothers, forming a close relationship with director Howard Hawks, with whom he worked on To Have and Have Not, The Big Sleep, and Land of the Pharaohs, among other films. In 1944 all but one of Faulkner's novels were out of print, and his personal life was at low ebb due in part to his chronic heavy drinking. During the war he had been discovered by Sartre and Camus and others in the French literary world. In the postwar period his reputation rebounded, as Malcolm Cowley's anthology The Portable Faulkner brought him fresh attention in America, and the immense esteem in which he was held in Europe consolidated his worldwide stature.

Faulkner wrote seventeen books set in the mythical Yoknapatawpha County, home of the Compson family in The Sound and the Fury. "No land in all fiction lives more vividly in its physical presence than this county of Faulkner's imagination," Robert Penn Warren wrote in an essay on Cowley's anthology. "The descendants of the old families, the descendants of bushwhackers and carpetbaggers, the swamp rats, the Negro cooks and farm hands, the bootleggers and gangsters, tenant farmers, college boys, county-seat lawyers, country storekeepers, peddlers--all are here in their fullness of life and their complicated interrelations." In 1950, Faulkner traveled to Sweden to accept the 1949 Nobel Prize for Literature. In later books--Intruder in the Dust (1948), Requiem for a Nun (1951), A Fable (1954), The Town (1957), The Mansion (1959), and The Reivers (1962) -- he continued to explore what he had called "the problems of the human heart in conflict with itself," but did so in the context of Yoknapatawpha's increasing connection with the modern world. He died of a heart attack on July 6, 1962.

Author biography courtesy of Random House, Inc.

Good To Know

William Faulkner - As I Lay Dying: The Corrected Text

The publisher, Harrison Smith, received Faulkner's typescript for As I Lay Dying in January 1930 and published it with very few editorial changes on October 6, 1930. That text remained the same through various reprints until 1964 when Random House brought out a new edition that was corrected in accordance with the original manuscript and typescript. For the "corrected text" shown here, scholar Noel Polk used Faulkner's own ribbon typescript setting copy, corrected to account for his revisions in proof, his typing errors, and other clear inconsistencies and mistakes.

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    1. Also Known As:
      William Cuthbert Falkner (real name)
      William Faulkner
    1. Date of Birth:
      September 25, 1897
    2. Place of Birth:
      New Albany, Mississippi
    1. Date of Death:
      July 6, 1962
    2. Place of Death:
      Byhalia, Mississippi

Read an Excerpt

April Seventh, 1928.

Through the fence, between the curling flower spaces, I could see them hitting. They were coming toward where the flag was and I went along the fence. Luster was hunting in the grass by the flower tree. They took the flag out, and they were hitting. Then they put the flag back and they went to the table, and he hit and the other hit. Then they went on, and I went along the fence. Luster came away from the flower tree and we went along the fence and they stopped and we stopped and I looked through the fence while Luster was hunting in the grass.

"Here, caddie." He hit. They went away across the pasture. I held to the fence and watched them going away.

"Listen at you, now." Luster said. "Aint you something, thirty three years old, going on that way. After I done went all the way to town to buy you that cake. Hush up that moaning. Aint you going to help me find that quarter so I can go to the show tonight."

They were hitting little, across the pasture. I went back along the fence to where the flag was. It flapped on the bright grass and the trees.

"Come on." Luster said. "We done looked there. They aint no more coming right now. Les go down to the branch and find that quarter before them niggers finds it."

It was red, flapping on the pasture. Then there was a bird slanting and tilting on it. Luster threw. The flag flapped on the bright grass and the trees. I held to the fence.

"Shut up that moaning." Luster said. "I cant make them come if they aint coming, can I. If you dont hush up, mammy aint going to have no birthday for you. If you dont hush, youknow what I going to do. I going to eat that cake all up. Eat them candles, too. Eat all them thirty three candles. Come on, les go down to the branch. I got to find my quarter. Maybe we can find one of they balls. Here. Here they is. Way over yonder. See." He came to the fence and pointed his arm. "See them. They aint coming back here no more. Come on."

We went along the fence and came to the garden fence, where our shadows were. My shadow was higher than Luster's on the fence. We came to the broken place and went through it.

"Wait a minute." Luster said. "You snagged on that nail again. Cant you never crawl through here without snagging on that nail."

Caddy uncaught me and we crawled through. Uncle Maury said to not let anybody see us, so we better stoop over, Caddy said. Stoop over, Benjy. Like this, see. We stooped over and crossed the garden, where the flowers rasped and rattled against us. The ground was hard. We climbed the fence, where the pigs were grunting and snuffing. I expect they're sorry because one of them got killed today, Caddy said. The ground was hard, churned and knotted.

Keep your hands in your pockets, Caddy said. Or they'll get froze. You dont want your hands froze on Christmas, do you.

"It's too cold out there." Versh said. "You dont want to go out doors."

"What is it now." Mother said.

"He want to go out doors." Versh said.

"Let him go." Uncle Maury said.

"It's too cold." Mother said. "He'd better stay in. Benjamin. Stop that, now."

"It wont hurt him." Uncle Maury said.

"You, Benjamin." Mother said. "If you dont be good, you'll have to go to the kitchen."

"Mammy say keep him out the kitchen today." Versh said. "She say she got all that cooking to get done."

"Let him go, Caroline." Uncle Maury said. "You'll worry yourself sick over him."

"I know it." Mother said. "It's a judgment on me. I sometimes wonder."

"I know, I know." Uncle Maury said. "You must keep your strength up. I'll make you a toddy."

"It just upsets me that much more." Mother said. "Dont you know it does."

"You'll feel better." Uncle Maury said. "Wrap him up good, boy, and take him out for a while."

Uncle Maury went away. Versh went away.

"Please hush." Mother said. "We're trying to get you out as fast as we can. I dont want you to get sick."

Versh put my overshoes and overcoat on and we took my cap and went out. Uncle Maury was putting the bottle away in the sideboard in the diningroom.

"Keep him out about half an hour, boy." Uncle Maury said. "Keep him in the yard, now."

"Yes, sir." Versh said. "We dont never let him get off the place."

We went out doors. The sun was cold and bright.

"Where you heading for." Versh said. "You dont think you going to town, does you." We went through the rattling leaves. The gate was cold. "You better keep them hands in your pockets." Versh said. "You get them froze onto that gate, then what you do. Whyn't you wait for them in the house." He put my hands into my pockets. I could hear him rattling in the leaves. I could smell the cold. The gate was cold.

"Here some hickeynuts. Whooey. Git up that tree. Look here at this squirl, Benjy."

I couldn't feel the gate at all, but I could smell the bright cold.

"You better put them hands back in your pockets."

Caddy was walking. Then she was running, her book-satchel swinging and jouncing behind her.

"Hello, Benjy." Caddy said. She opened the gate and came in and stooped down. Caddy smelled like leaves. "Did you come to meet me." she said. "Did you come to meet Caddy. What did you let him get his hands so cold for, Versh."

"I told him to keep them in his pockets." Versh said. "Holding on to that ahun gate."

"Did you come to meet Caddy," she said, rubbing my hands. "What is it. What are you trying to tell Caddy." Caddy smelled like trees and like when she says we were asleep.

What are you moaning about, Luster said. You can watch them again when we get to the branch. Here. Here's you a jimson weed. He gave me the flower. We went through the fence, into the lot.

"What is it." Caddy said. "What are you trying to tell Caddy. Did they send him out, Versh."

"Couldn't keep him in." Versh said. "He kept on until they let him go and he come right straight down here, looking through the gate."

"What is it." Caddy said. "Did you think it would be Christmas when I came home from school. Is that what you thought. Christmas is the day after tomorrow. Santy Claus, Benjy. Santy Claus. Come on, let's run to the house and get warm." She took my hand and we ran through the bright rustling leaves. We ran up the steps and out of the bright cold, into the dark cold. Uncle Maury was putting the bottle back in the sideboard. He called Caddy. Caddy said,

"Take him in to the fire, Versh. Go with Versh." she said. "I'll come in a minute."

We went to the fire. Mother said,

"Is he cold, Versh."

"Nome." Versh said.

"Take his overcoat and overshoes off." Mother said. "How many times do I have to tell you not to bring him into the house with his overshoes on."

"Yessum." Versh said. "Hold still, now." He took my overshoes off and unbuttoned my coat. Caddy said,

"Wait, Versh. Cant he go out again, Mother. I want him to go with me."

"You'd better leave him here." Uncle Maury said. "He's been out enough today."

"I think you'd both better stay in." Mother said. "It's getting colder, Dilsey says."

"Oh, Mother." Caddy said.

"Nonsense." Uncle Maury said. "She's been in school all day. She needs the fresh air. Run along, Candace."

"Let him go, Mother." Caddy said. "Please. You know he'll cry."

"Then why did you mention it before him." Mother said. "Why did you come in here. To give him some excuse to worry me again. You've been out enough today. I think you'd better sit down here and play with him."

"Let them go, Caroline." Uncle Maury said. "A little cold wont hurt them. Remember, you've got to keep your strength up."

"I know." Mother said. "Nobody knows how I dread Christmas. Nobody knows. I am not one of those women who can stand things. I wish for Jason's and the children's sakes I was stronger."

"You must do the best you can and not let them worry you." Uncle Maury said. "Run along, you two. But dont stay out long, now. Your mother will worry."

"Yes, sir." Caddy said. "Come on, Benjy. We're going out doors again." She buttoned my coat and we went toward the door.

"Are you going to take that baby out without his overshoes." Mother said. "Do you want to make him sick, with the house full of company."

"I forgot." Caddy said. "I thought he had them on."

We went back. "You must think." Mother said. Hold still now Versh said. He put my overshoes on. "Someday I'll be gone, and you'll have to think for him." Now stomp Versh said. "Come here and kiss Mother, Benjamin."

Caddy took me to Mother's chair and Mother took my face in her hands and then she held me against her.

"My poor baby." she said. She let me go. "You and Versh take good care of him, honey."

"Yessum." Caddy said. We went out. Caddy said,

"You needn't go, Versh. I'll keep him for a while."

"All right." Versh said. "I aint going out in that cold for no fun." He went on and we stopped in the hall and Caddy knelt and put her arms around me and her cold bright face against mine. She smelled like trees.

"You're not a poor baby. Are you. Are you. You've got your Caddy. Haven't you got your Caddy."

Cant you shut up that moaning and slobbering, Luster said. Aint you shamed of yourself, making all this racket. We passed the carriage house, where the carriage was. It had a new wheel.

"Git in, now, and set still until your maw come." Dilsey said. She shoved me into the carriage. T. P. held the reins. "Clare I dont see how come Jason wont get a new surrey." Dilsey said. "This thing going to fall to pieces under you all some day. Look at them wheels."

Mother came out, pulling her veil down. She had some flowers.

"Where's Roskus." she said.

"Roskus cant lift his arms, today." Dilsey said. "T. P. can drive all right."

"I'm afraid to." Mother said. "It seems to me you all could furnish me with a driver for the carriage once a week. It's little enough I ask, Lord knows."

"You know just as well as me that Roskus got the rheumatism too bad to do more than he have to, Miss Cahline." Dilsey said. "You come on and get in, now. T. P. can drive you just as good as Roskus."

"I'm afraid to." Mother said. "With the baby."

Dilsey went up the steps. "You calling that thing a baby." she said. She took Mother's arm. "A man big as T. P. Come on, now, if you going."

"I'm afraid to." Mother said. They came down the steps and Dilsey helped Mother in. "Perhaps it'll be the best thing, for all of us." Mother said.

"Aint you shamed, talking that way." Dilsey said. "Dont you know it'll take more than a eighteen year old nigger to make Queenie run away. She older than him and Benjy put together. And dont you start no projecking with Queenie, you hear me. T. P. If you dont drive to suit Miss Cahline, I going to put Roskus on you. He aint too tied up to do that."

"Yessum." T. P. said.

"I just know something will happen." Mother said. "Stop, Benjamin."

"Give him a flower to hold." Dilsey said. "That what he wanting." She reached her hand in.

"No, no." Mother said. "You'll have them all scattered."

"You hold them." Dilsey said. "I'll get him one out." She gave me a flower and her hand went away.

"Go on now, fore Quentin see you and have to go too." Dilsey said.

"Where is she." Mother said.

"She down to the house playing with Luster." Dilsey said. "Go on, T. P. Drive that surrey like Roskus told you, now.

"Yessum." T. P. said. "Hum up, Queenie."

"Quentin." Mother said. "Dont let "

"Course I is." Dilsey said.

The carriage jolted and crunched on the drive. "I'm afraid to go and leave Quentin." Mother said. "I'd better not go. T. P." We went through the gate, where it didn't jolt anymore. T. P. hit Queenie with the whip.

"You, T. P." Mother said.

"Got to get her going." T. P. said. "Keep her wake up till we get back to the barn."

"Turn around." Mother said. "I'm afraid to go and leave Quentin."

"Cant turn here." T. P. said. Then it was broader.

"Cant you turn here." Mother said.

"All right." T. P. said. We began to turn.

"You, T. P." Mother said, clutching me.

"I got to turn around some how." T. P. said. "Whoa, Queenie." We stopped.

"You'll turn us over." Mother said.

"What you want to do, then." T. P. said.

"I'm afraid for you to try to turn around." Mother said.

"Get up, Queenie." T. P. said. We went on.

"I just know Dilsey will let something happen to Quentin while I'm gone." Mother said. "We must hurry back."

"Hum up, there." T. P. said. He hit Queenie with the whip.

"You, T. P." Mother said, clutching me. I could hear Queenie's feet and the bright shapes went smooth and steady on both sides, the shadows of them flowing across Queenie's back. They went on like the bright tops of wheels. Then those on one side stopped at the tall white post where the soldier was. But on the other side they went on smooth and steady, but a little slower.

"What do you want." Jason said. He had his hands in his pockets and a pencil behind his ear.

"We're going to the cemetery." Mother said.

"All right." Jason said. "I dont aim to stop you, do I. Was that all you wanted with me, just to tell me that."

"I know you wont come." Mother said. "I'd feel safer if you would."

"Safe from what." Jason said. "Father and Quentin cant hurt you."

Mother put her handkerchief under her veil. "Stop it, Mother." Jason said. "Do you want to get that damn looney to bawling in the middle of the square. Drive on, T. P.

"Hum up, Queenie." T. P. said.

"It's a judgment on me." Mother said. "But I'll be gone too, soon."

"Here." Jason said.

Copyright 1991 by William Faulkner
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Reading Group Guide

1. The novel's title is taken from a monologue spoken by Shakespeare's Macbeth, who has attained the throne of Scotland through murder and has held it through the most brutal violence and tyranny; at this point in the play he has just heard that his wife has killed herself. Sated with his own corruption and looking forward to his imminent defeat and death, he says: "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!/ Life's but a walking shadow, a poor player/ That struts and frets his hour upon the stage/ And then is heard no more. It is a tale/ Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury, / Signifying nothing." Why do you think Faulkner chose a phrase from this passage for his title? How is this passage applicable to the novel? Do you find the novel as pessimistic and despairing as Macbeth's speech?

2. In The Sound and the Fury Faulkner makes use of the stream of consciousness technique, which was also used earlier in the 1920s in such experimental works as James Joyce's Ulysses and Virginia Woolf's Mrs. Dalloway. He further complicates matters for the reader by scrambling, as it were, the time frames referred to by the narrating consciousness of the opening section of the novel. How do you learn to find your way in Benjy's chapter? How many time periods are interspersed? What are some of the events Benjy is remembering? If Benjy is the "idiot" of Macbeth's speech, in what ways can he be seen, nonetheless, as both a sensitive and sentient observer of his family?

3. All of the novel's crucialevents are registered in Benjy's section and are later recapitulated or expanded upon by other narrators, for Benjy is in many ways the central and most important narrating consciousness. Faulkner said of Benjy, "To that idiot, time was not a continuation, it was an instant, there was no yesterday and no tomorrow, it all is this moment, it all is [now] to him. He cannot distinguish between what was last year and what will be tomorrow, he doesn't know whether he dreamed it, or saw it." What are some of the effects of the opening section upon your experience of the Compson family story? Why would Faulkner choose Benjy to introduce the reader to his story? What is Benjy's importance in a novel that is dominated by memory rather than action?

4. Which characters, if any, serve as registers of emotional and moral value? In whom do we find love, honor, loyalty, strength? Is Jason the embodiment of the opposite traits? How does Caddy's daughter, Quentin, fit into the scheme of value here? What about Mrs. Compson? Do Benjy's perceptions function as a sort of touchstone for the reader?

5. Each of the four sections has a date rather than a chapter number. Note that three of the narratives take place on three sequential days in April of 1928 though they are not presented in chronological sequence. The second of the four, Quentin's narrative, is dated June 2, 1910--the day he drowned himself at the end of his first year at Harvard. With each section the narrative voice becomes more coherent, and we finish with a fairly straightforward and traditional third-person voice. Why do you think Faulkner has chosen to present things in this way and in this order?

6. What are the reasons for Quentin's decision to drown himself? Why does Faulkner choose to have Quentin narrate his own section, even though he has been dead for nearly eighteen years? What do you see as the meaning of his dual obsession with his sister's virginity and the loss of the family honor? Why does he attempt to make, in a crucial conversation with his father, a false confession of incest? Given Quentin's state of mind at the time, what do you think of Mr. Compson's response to him?

7. For her brothers, Caddy is the traumatic absence at the center of their experience. For Faulkner, Caddy was the image around which the novel took shape; she was "the sister which I did not have and the daughter which I was to lose, " and it all began with the image of "the muddy bottom of a little doomed girl climbing a blooming pear tree in April to look in the window" at the funeral of her grandmother. While Caddy is presented as maternal, erotic, promiscuous, and imperious, she is also unknowable, given that she can only be glimpsed in the rather unreliable narrations of her brothers. Does she appeal to you as a sympathetic character? Is Caddy's fall the cause of the family tragedy or is she just another child-victim of the abdication of parental responsibility? Why do Caddy's brothers each have a narrative voice, while Caddy has none?

8. Jason is an embittered young man with a nasty sense of humor. Nonetheless, he is the querulous Mrs. Compson's favorite, the son upon whom she depends. He imagines people saying of his siblings, "one of them is crazy and another one drowned himself and the other one was turned out into the street by her husband..." [p. 233]. Do you think he succeeds in preserving the appearance of normality that is so important to him? How would you describe Jason's mode ofthinking and reasoning? What are some of his activities and preoccupations? What is the effect of his narrative's mood and voice, following as it does upon Benjy's and Quentin's?

9. What role does Dilsey play in the novel? Why does the narrative of the fourth and final section focus upon her, and why do you think Faulkner chose not to give her a narrative in her own voice? What is the significance of the black community and its church in the final section? The novel ends on Easter Sunday; how does this turn to an overtly Christian context work for you as a reader?

10. The novel takes into its scope a number of serious philosophical and psychological issues--the meaning of time, for instance, and the psychopathology of the family--but it does not devote itself to a cohesive exploration of any of them. What, then, would you say this novel is "about"? Think again about the Macbeth quotation--life is "a tale told by an idiot, signifying nothing." What does Faulkner's tale, told four times, signify? What does it achieve? In what ways does the novel focus our attention upon the problem of representing consciousness realistically within the novel form? How does The Sound and the Fury change or affect your experience as a reader of novels?

Comparing
The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying, and Absalom, Absalom!

1. In all three of these novels the family is central to structure, plot, and meaning. It is the source of grief and identity as well as the locus of all individual psychic struggles. Do you see all of Faulkner's characters eternally trapped within their familial roles? How do the families differ in each of these novels, and how are they similar? How do the particularly important symbolic roles of the mother and the father differ from book to book?

2. Faulkner tries to make himself disappear in these works. Instead of using the traditional third-person narrator that most readers associate with the author, he directs a chorus of voices that intertwine, complement, and contradict one another. As readers, we must rely on what we learn from the characters themselves as to time, place, plot, and matters of cause and effect. Why do you think Faulkner prefers to make his characters speak "directly" to his readers? How does this technique affect your ability to believe in the worlds that exist in these novels? How would more direct intervention by an authorial voice change your experience?

3. In which of these works do you think Faulkner's style, his use of language, and his formal innovations are most finely tuned, most powerfully worked out? In which do you feel that his stylistic quirks are most annoying, most distracting?

4. All of these novels question our assumptions about time as regular, linear, sequential, predictable. What are some of the ways in which time is disrupted in these works?

5. The Compson family of The Sound and the Fury (1929) plays a central role in Absalom, Absalom! (1936) as well. Does Faulkner want readers of Absalom, Absalom! to assume that Quentin's involvement in the Sutpen story is one of the reasons for his suicide, which takes place three months later in The Sound and the Fury? Do you see a seamless characterization of Quentin and Mr. Compson in the two books?

6. Faulkner is interested in the causes and effects of extreme psychological pressures, as we see in Quentin and Benjy Compson, Henry and Thomas Sutpen, Rosa Coldfield, Vardaman and Darl Bundren, and many other characters in these novels. What are some of the forms that psychopathology takes in Faulkner's world?

7. Faulkner has often been accused of an extremely misogynistic representation of women. Consider Caddy Compson, Dilsey, Dewey Dell and Addie Bundren, Judith Sutpen, Rosa Coldfield, the wife of Charles St. Valery Bon, and other female characters in these three novels. How would you describe Faulkner's notion of the feminine, as compared with the masculine? Do you agree with the critic Irving Howe that "Faulkner's inability to achieve moral depth in his portraiture of young women clearly indicates a major failing as a novelist"?

8. Is the work of Faulkner necessarily different in its impact depending upon whether one is from the North or the South, whether one is black or white?

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Customer Reviews

Average Rating 4
( 105 )
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See All Sort by: Showing 1 – 20 of 105 Customer Reviews
  • Posted August 12, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    I Also Recommend:

    The Sound and the Fury

    William Fauklner's forth novel and considered by many to be his masterpeice, The Sound and the fury is an absolute great read. A Challenging yet rewarding book, the novel contains 4 chapters, each narrarated by 4 different speakers, the three Compson brothers and the fourth is told in third-person. The First chapter is told by the mentally retarded benjy. The Second is told by the sad elder-child Quentin, and the third told by the mean and selfish Jason. many consider benjy's chapter to be the most difficult, however, I found the chapter a lot easier than Quentin to be much more difficult. The last 2 chapters were very simple. One of the best books I have ever read I would recommend reading SparkNotes for a litle aid if you are new to these harder and more rewarding works of fiction.

    12 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 7, 2003

    Amazingly captures the very evil of human traits

    William Faulkner brilliantly tells the inherent evil in the ignorance that humans establish in life through the Compson family. The setting takes place in the South where one family will not change from their slave driven ways causing the downfall and torture of every member. You will see the consequences of evil ways through: Caddy, the beautiful yet tragically promiscuous daughter. Benjy, the mentally retarded manchild who can't grow up Quentin, the suicidal son who is tortured with the realization of the evil that exists within his family Jason, the posessor of this inherent evil that has been passed down through his family This book is one that captures the truth of what ignorance can truly cause. It is dark novel that gives but a glimpse to what the humans can possess. This novel is one that I only hope everyone takes the time to read.

    10 out of 10 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 25, 2011

    more from this reviewer

    Really?

    U CANNOT JUSTIFY THIS PRICE FOR THIS BOOK. Are u trying to alienate your loyal customers? Jacking up the prices and blaming someone else is becoming a very concerning trend. We want books and quality apps at FAIR prices. I love my NC and buy alot of books and apps, but it is a turnoff to see blatant overpricing. Are u figuring that we are trapped and have no choice? We depend on u to do the right thing. I will Read Forever if u do.

    7 out of 26 people found this review helpful.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 5, 2010

    I am in-between

    Because this book is a classic, I wanted to like it very much. I found the characters really hard to follow and the book itself to be a little confusing. Overall, it is a good read, just not my favorite.

    3 out of 4 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted December 13, 2006

    A work of art!

    I have read this book, and Faulkner's ability to use the thoughts of others and to incorporate them into the story. Some say that this story is babble, but they can't understand that this story was written in the early 1900s. Faulkner had his own way of starting and ending a story. It's brilliant dialogue and cultural visions, give us a glimpse into the life of a family in the South during the times of racism and slavery.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 22, 2002

    A Masterpiece

    One of the highest heights reached in American literature. Let the English lit professors argue about modernism's relevance. This is a profound story told in a complex and powerful way. Faulkner's powers are at their peak in his masterpiece. This is not an easy read at first, especially for those unaccustomed to the non-linear storytelling style of modernism. The story's multiple points of perspective may also be initially confusing. The end result though makes the journey worth the undertaking.

    3 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 20, 2013

    I can only speculate as to the overall quality of the review to

    I can only speculate as to the overall quality of the review to follow, as I have only read this book once. This is one that, after I set it down and thought about for a week, replaying key scenes and revisiting key images in my mind, I desired greatly to read again. But I didn't; I went ahead and read two other Faulkner novels, those being 'Light in August' and 'As I Lay Dying'. I found that I could not get enough of the man's work, because as a writer and something of a closet aesthete, I fell in love with his brilliant style, with its fluctuating regard for proper punctuation and its haunting stream-of-consciousness passages. I became intrigued by his characters and by the way they functioned and thought and failed. No book has altered the way that I think more than this one. This is one that remains always in the back of my mind even now, three months after completing it. I have never physically been to the South, but after reading this and two of his other novels, I feel that I know it much better than if I had simply gone and stayed in Mississippi for a week, having been taken there mentally, having felt the overwhelming hubris, impotency and humanity of the Compson family. One gets the feeling, reading through 'The Sound and the Fury', that Faulkner has tossed proper method out the window, leaving us only with the madness. I can only say that it is a madness well worth experiencing multiple times (in fact, it demands it), and that I shall be returning to it shortly.  

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 12, 2006

    Fantastic Deep Reading

    I read this book for an english project and ended up loving it. The beginning section seems at first an insurmountable obstacle, but the further you get into it the better it gets. This novel is a profound exploration of human nature that captivates the diligent reader.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 11, 2006

    You must be kidding!!!

    This is pseudo intellectual babble. I suppose it is similiar to throwing paint on a canvas and calling it art.

    1 out of 12 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 16, 2005

    Amazing

    This might be the best book I have ever read. For anyone bold enough to pick it up, I highly recommend it.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 19, 2004

    The Great Early 1900's

    I would recommend that you read The Sound and the Fury it is a great book that shows you how society was back in the early 1900's. It shows how people were treated because of race or disabilites. This book will teach you to have a better view of the way the south was and also how people lived in day to day life. It also will show you how people can just cast out thei8r own family members and how people can be very decitful. I strongly recommend that you read this book.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted August 20, 2013

    This changed my opinion of 'classics'.

    This changed my opinion of 'classics'.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted May 10, 2013

    Arguably the most difficult book I have ever read, but also one

    Arguably the most difficult book I have ever read, but also one of my all time favorites.  Faulkner himself acknowledged how difficult the book was to read when he originally requested having different text colors for the characters.

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  • Posted February 25, 2013

    more from this reviewer

    Challenging but well worth it

    The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner is purported to be the sixth greatest English language novel of the 20th Century. It spins a tale about the travails of the Compson family of Mississippi from the late 1800’s to early 1900’s. It is divided into four books each of which is narrated by one of three Compson brothers, the fourth by Faulkner himself. Two of the main female characters Caddy, the Compson brother’s sister and Dilsey, the African American family servant though central to the story are interestingly not given narratives, perhaps symbolic of their disenfranchisement during this time period. To me the book is a series of puzzle pieces. The first book or puzzle piece is the most challenging as it is Benji’s perceptions, memories and feelings. Benji is mentally disabled, his narratives are disjointed and extremely challenging to read, yet they depict what Benji must have perceived his world to be thus giving the reader a glimpse into that world. Each narrative/book thereafter provides additional pieces to the puzzle as events surrounding this family’s story slowly unfold. It is a very dark book with little splashes of tenderness and great writing for relief. Beware this is not light reading for an afternoon’s pleasure. It requires patience, study and research; however, if you enjoy solving puzzles, theorizing and challenging your mind this may be the book for you. Be prepared to forget a linear chronology of events this one jumps from different points in time to different points of view. There was an addendum in the edition I read which explained the family’s history that I wish I had read first for context. The book is fertile ground to formulate your own interpretations thus providing the final puzzle pieces yourself. I used a reading guide to help me test my theories and keep myself on track. Overall, I enjoyed the challenge, read it and see what you think!

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted January 31, 2013

    Great book

    This is the book that made me love Faulkner.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted September 10, 2012

    Great Novel

    This novel was the first, and still, only thing by Faulkner I have read. This book was also my first introduction to fiction with a non-linear structure. I was so blown away by how different everything was that I read it all in a single day. This book is confusing, but it is worth the effort. The critical essays in this edition, as well a, some of Faulkner's own writing about the novel really helped me get a grasp on what was happening in the story. From beginning to end I was trying to piece together who's narrative each part was. I was actually excited by this as well. This book is the best example I have ever read of the stream-of-consciousness style.

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 30, 2012

    The epitome of editorial excellence

    If nothing else, one must appreciate the artfullness and craft that Faulkner exhibits in this masterpiece. Those whom rate it poorly must not be avid readers or lack the patience and open mind that reading classics sometimes requires. I admit that it was confusing to keep up with it at first, given the fact that the first chapter is from the perspective and thought process of Benjy, a retarded sibling of the Compson family, but as the book progesses, so does the solidity and apparent interconnectedness of the novel.

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Anonymous

    Posted July 27, 2012

    Madisson

    Awesome

    Was this review helpful? Yes  No   Report this review
  • Posted October 20, 2011

    Well worth the read...

    0 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 31, 2011

    This book is too expensive!

    No text was provided for this review.

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