The Sound and the Fury is the tragedy of the Compson family, featuring some of the most memorable characters in literature: beautiful, rebellious Caddy; the manchild Benjy; haunted, neurotic Quentin; Jason, the brutal cynic; and Dilsey, their black servant. Their lives fragmented and harrowed by history and legacy, the character’s voices and actions mesh to create what is arguably Faulkner’s masterpiece and one of the greatest novels of the twentieth century.
“I give you the mausoleum of all hope and desire. . . . I give it to you not that you may remember time, but that you might forget it now and then for a moment and not spend all of your breath trying to conquer it. Because no battle is ever won he said. They are not even fought. The field only reveals to man his own folly and despair, and victory is an illusion of philosophers and fools.” —from The Sound and the Fury
About the Author
William Cuthbert Faulkner was born in 1897 and raised in Oxford, Mississippi, where he spent most of his life. One of the towering figures of American literature, he is the author of The Sound and the Fury, Absalom, Absalom!, and As I Lay Dying, among many other remarkable books. Faulkner was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1950 and France’s Legion of Honor in 1951. He died in 1962.
Date of Birth:September 25, 1897
Date of Death:July 6, 1962
Place of Birth:New Albany, Mississippi
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, you know 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."
What People are Saying About This
Faulkner… belongs to the full-dressed post-Flaubert group of Conrad, Joyce, and Proust.
For all his concern with the South, Faulkner was actually seeking out the nature of man. Thus we must return to him for that continuity of moral purpose which made for the greatness of our classics.
For all the range of effect, philosophical weight, originality of style, variety of characterization, humor, and tragic intensity [Faulkner's works] are without equal in our time and country.
“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
Reading Group Guide
The questions, discussion topics, and author biography that follow are designed to enhance your group's reading of three of William Faulkner's greatest novels: The Sound and the Fury, As I Lay Dying, and Absalom, Absalom! We hope that they will provide you with new ways of thinking and talking about three works that stand as major landmarks in the history of modern American literature, works that exemplify Faulkner's bold stylistic and formal innovations, his creation of unforgettably powerful voices and characters, and his brilliant insight into the psychological, economic, and social realities of life in the South in the transition from the Civil War to the modern era. In their intellectual and aesthetic richness, these novels raise nearly endless possibilities for discussion. The questions below will necessarily be limited and are meant to open several, but certainly not all, areas of inquiry for your reading group.
Most Helpful Customer Reviews
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
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!
This might be the best book I have ever read. For anyone bold enough to pick it up, I highly recommend it.
This is a wonderful book that requires some patience and focus to read. But it is worth it. Ultimately it is about a family-- the good, the bad, the ugly. This may not be your family but there's something in here that everyone can relate to. There's a nice review posted already that I think would be an excellent reading guide, chapter by chapter and character by character. (I'd read the book first, and then go back and use a guide if needed). Faulkner's ability to offer the different perspectives and voices is unsurpassed and really highlights his versatility. For those who are daunted at first: the first chapter is by far the most challenging to read and decipher, it gets easier. If you are a reader who just wants to know what happens and does not revel in the language and telling of the tale itself you should not read this book.
My first impression of the book's narrative can be summarized as; (1) Everything has a smell for Benji, (2) Quienten notices his shadow, (3) Jason is angry, and (4) Dilsey sees the light. If this summary doesn't clearly communicate a story to you, welcome to The Sound And The Fury! The book doesn't tell a story. Rather it is a description of a condition from four different points of view. The condition being described is that of the corruption of Southern aristocratic values. The first three views of the four being expressed are from the perspective of the three brothers in the family. Their views are that of a southern family aware of their aristocratic past but with a present psychological condition of utter demise. The fourth view is described from the view point of an omniscient narrator describing the life of the African-American house servant and her family. This last view together with the Easter timing gives a theme of possible resurrection and renewal for the future. It's interesting to note that the family in degenerate condition is made up of descendants of the slave owning class, and the productive workers who are the hope for the future are descendants of slaves. The very end of the book contains a clash that is symbolic of the future conflict to come as the Old South changes into the New South. Luster, the black grandson of Dilsey, is driving a horse and wagon into the town square where a marble statue of a Confederate soldier stands. Luster decides to turn toward the left. Suddenly, the youngest son, Jason, jumps up into the wagon and forces the horse to turn right instead. This disagreement between whether to turn left or right appears symbolic of disagreements over directions for the future.Readers are likely to feel a bit lost while navigating through the interior monologs, tricks with time, jumbled narrative, play of memory, and also saga of decay and decline of a southern family. Appreciation of the book begins after the reader has finished reading the book. The fun comes from trying to put the pieces together and to begin marveling at the abundance of meanings that can be gleaned from the book. Perhaps it is a 20th Century version of Shakespeare's Macbeth. Is Benjy a Christ figure? Is there a message of resurrection and renewal? Is it only about corruption of Southern aristocratic values? Is it about false and true visions? Why does the time motif keep showing up? Is it a contrast of order and chaos? What is the meaning of the frequent references to shadows. What is the symbolic meaning of Quentin's watch? How about the role of water in the story? Or is the book a prime example of the failure of language and narrative by being itself a failure to communicate?How do you rate the number of stars for a book that is torture to read, but a pleasure to interpret? Well, for me it's three stars.
This is a very powerful book, though that is not what you think about the book as you begin reading it. In fact through the first half of the book you feel many things, not very many of those feelings are very positve. The book is broken down into 4 chapters with the first 3 chapters being narrations by the three brothers and then the final chapter being Faulkner's voice as he finishes the story that he is trying to tell.Faulkner starts the book with Benjy narrating the first chapter in what has to be one of the most unreadable, frustrating, incomprehensible chapters ever written. Benjy is an autistic, mentally retarded son of an old southern family that has slowly faded from the grand old days of the south to near collapse. But you won't actually know that after the first chapter, in fact you won't know a whole lot about anything. As you begin the second chapter, which is wrritten by Quentin, there is still a disorganized, discombobulated structure to the narration. But as I read it, I felt a sublte difference in the second voice of Quentin and the original voice of Benjy. The second chapter is confusing also but in the first chapter, Faulkner is attacking the reader.All readers come to a book with simple, straight forward, linear ways of percieving the novel that they are reading. Faulkner could have chosen his own voice to start the book, one that explains and gets the reader hooked into the story before introducing the narration of Benjy. But Faulkner does not do this, instead he chooses Benjy to begin the narration and as he does this he attacks the reader's perceptions and stability; he does not ask us to understand or empathize with the characters, he forces us to feel what they feel. Faulkner wants us to feel the Sound and the Fury. Benjy does not attack the reader, Benjy just is. He has little or no logic, no real ability to think in a linear or even in an elliptical fashion for that matter, Benjy just percieves the world viscerally. He hears, he tastes, he smells, he touches, he sees and in his narration he swirls all that together and narrates it for us. But what Faulkner does is take that swirl and disorients the reader, frustrates the readers perceptions so that the reader begins to understand the Sound and the Fury that all the characters feel as they live in the midst of Sound and the Fury. We get the ability to understand, not the events that have occured to the characters in the past 33 years (or more to the point, in the past 100 years), but the result of what has happened to them for the past 33 years in a very visceral way. We end up being angry, frustrated, disoriented and dazed from reading the onslaught that is Benjy's narration. As he describes his own consternation and rage at the life he is in, we feel the Sound and the Fury ourselves because our perceptions are being attacked by the writer. As the moaning, and the wailing, and the "bellering" occurs page after page, the reader feels the overwhelming Sound of that narration. You may not understand what he is saying, but page after page you are attacked with the sound and the fury of his narration. As Benjy experiences his life, there is precious little happiness or comfort, there is only an ongoing expression of outrage and of Fury. The first time you read Benjy's chapter, there is a feeling of having been attacked, not by Benjy, but by Faulkner. He leaves you feeling the Sound and the Fury.As the second chapter begins, Quentin's voice is also disorganized and unreadable, except that there is a subtle difference. This time reader is not being attacked, but rather we are reading the narrative of someone who has lived so long inside the Sound and the Fury that his thinking has been compromised. Quentin is not autistic, he is in fact bright and capable. And through his narrative we begin to see that the Sound and Fury is not just a crazy family, but that this crazy family is inseparable from it's legacy and history as a part of the genteel Southern rulin
This is the first book on the Easton list that I have been unable to finish. I read almost half of the book and had no idea what it was about. From my understanding, the book is divided into four sections. The first three sections are written as stream-of-conscious. I hate this writing style, which is probably why I had difficulty paying attention.
Okay so this is an absolute classic and William Faulkner is an amazing writer. You have to read this. It's one of those "must read before you die" type of books.
This is the book by Faulkner that I have always wanted to read. I am glad that I waited until I had the patience to wade through his sentences and the layers of Faulkner's plots and characters. However, if all else was defecient, the language itself would be a masterpiece.
This is my favorite book ever. It is somewhat daunting with Benjy, so I don't recommend to first time Faulkners ;) If you're ready for a challenge, pick it up.
The Sound and the Fury is much easier to understand if you realize that it cannot be understood from the get go, but only when it is complete. To borrow a line from The Big Chill, sometimes you have to let art flow over you.The book is divided into four parts, the first three of which are told in first-person, stream of conscious narrative from the perspective of three Compson brothers: Benjy, Quentin, and Jason. Benjy¿s section is particularly difficult to follow because he is mentally retarded and does not talk, but only narrates what he hears, in no particular chronological order. Quentin¿s and Jason¿s sections are progressively more comprehensible as pieces of the story develop. The final section is told by an omniscient third-person narrator, ties the loose ends together, and brings the story to its exciting close. The first-person accounts are made even more confusing by the multiplicity of names. Because this is the story of a large Southern family, many family members share first names. There are two Moreys, although the younger of the two is renamed Benjamin, the first narrator. The two Jasons, father and son, can usually be told apart, but the two Quentins, uncle and niece, are particularly confusing when introduced in Benjy¿s section because the absence of chronological consistency brings both Quentins into the story at the same time, although the niece was born after the uncle¿s death.Reading The Sound and the Fury is like watching a masterpiece being painted. Each brushstroke brings out more of the picture until the whole, beautiful composition is revealed.
Earlier this year I read another one of Faulkner's Gothic Mississippian novels, As I Lay Dying. His portrayal of the South and his occasional splendidly incoherent dialogue drew me in to his works, and it was this that influenced me to read The Sound And The Fury. It follows the fall of the Compson family- an interesting cast of characters, to say the least. The first quarter of the book is narrated by Benjy, a mentally challenged man-boy who has no sense of time, something that is reflected in the way he narrates his section. Next chapter the reader hears from Quentin, his brother, who is neurotic and incapable of dealing with his sister Caddy's promiscuity. His section is even more unintelligible than Benjy's, and by the end he has deviated from any type of sentence structure or logical thought. While hard to initially comprehend, these unreliable narrators are what give the novel, and Faulkner's South, its voice and power.In dealing with our study of cultural identity, we look at the South that Faulkner portrays. The main conflict at hand here is the old Southern code of chivalry and honor, strongly believed in by Quentin, struggling to stay important amid the new generation of southerners. The whole portrayal is tragic in its overall despair.I would highly recommend this. The way the first half of the novel is told is nothing short of masterful, as we see the South and the fall of the Compson family through our unreliable narrators. I really enjoy books that place extra meaning in the way that they are written- like Anthony Burgess's "nadsat" language in A Clockwork Orange. Faulkner's sometimes deteriorating, sometimes utterly incoherent dialogue does this exactly in The Sound And The Fury, and is my favorite thing about this book. For anyone who can appreciate a book for not only its plot, but also the way it is written--please go read this book.
Frankly, this book bored me.I am not going to consider whether this book is well written or not here. Many have already thought this one of the best books ever. I don't doubt that, not at all, as I could identify, myself, a lot of elements in the book that would qualify it a substantial and significant work.My comment is just this: this book requires a lot of patience and concentration to read and understand. It's appropriate, I suppose, as a piece studied by a literature course. For pleasure, leisure reading, this seemingly thin book is going to surprise a lot of people with its heaviness and thick passages that are near impossible to wade through. I only made sense out of what's going on with the aid of study guides.It's unfortunate that I lost interests as I got deeper into the book and only skimmed through the last bit. I am also not too entirely sure with what actually happened in the book. It's interesting that the rivalry between Hemingway and Faulkner was so well documented that, upon discovering that Hemingway didn't exactly entertain me as much as it did others, when I first picked up this book I thought I was going to join the Faulkner camp. But now I find myself preferring Hemingway. Ultimately, I have to say that I think this book is out dated in this modern world, for me at least, and I prefer contemporary British writers.To be fair, however, even though as a whole the book failed to grab my attention, there were some very touching pages in there: Quentin and the little Italian girl, Jason and Miss Quentin's exchanges... It's just a difficult book, that's all.
This book is brilliant. The manner in which each character is handled is both evocative and heartwarming in the face of their struggles. For having four very different tones the changes are not hard to deal with as the mood something about the style in general helps you along.
I'd not read any Faulkner prior to picking up The Sound and the Fury, and I must admit that I was a bit apprehensive about this book. But I was also looking forward to getting some Faulkner under my belt, and this was my book group's selection, so I had added incentive. The metanarrative of this book is the decline of an old southern family in a tale told by three brothers: one disabled, one suicidal, one horrible. All of the brothers are obsessed with their sister Caddy, and their three narratives explain their lives through their thoughts of and interactions with their sister. Caddy's own decline, in the form of an affair and resulting pregnancy, fundamentally shapes the life of all the family members. Each member of the Compson household is afflicted in one way or another, and these afflictions collectively bring the family into a downward tailspin. I enjoyed reading this book, though it's difficult for me to explain exactly what makes it a classic. It might be the beautiful prose, it might be the deep complexity of the story, it might be the investment the reader must make in getting through it. While I'm certainly aware of Faulkner's importance to the modernist movement and his place in the literary canon, it's something else that makes this classic literature for me. I did think that Faulkner's evocation of the New South was masterful, and for those who've not studied the history of the New South, this is an excellent snapshot. By the time I'd reached the final section of the book I wanted to devour it all in one sitting. I'll be exploring more of Faulkner's canon in the years to come.
Fantastic book. How have I not read it before? A story revolving around a dysfunctional Southern family, The Sound and the Fury is divided into four long chapters. The first three chapters are told from the perspective of each of the Compson brothers (mentally challenged Benjy, neurotic and depressed Quentin and Jason the bully) and the last by a neutral party. Upon finishing, I had an immediate urge to re-read it, particularly to parse back through the Benjy and Quentin chapters. (I have not done this yet, but plan to) The first time through, the Benjy chapter is particularly challenging due to its intentionally chaotic, jumbled stream of consciousness style. Benjy flips back and forth in time spanning thirty or so years and also jumps between characters, many of whom share the same name! Local dialect is also employed which takes a bit of time to get used to. The story does eventually fall together despite the initial confusion, particularly in the last chapter - my favorite chapter, by far. The last chapter, in fact, paints such a vivid picture of the characters that I felt as if I could see a play unfolding as I was reading. Brilliant work. A must read ¿ but important that the reader go into the first chapter understanding that it will be disorienting, to say the least.
Some books are so great -- and so complex -- that you can finish the last page, start again on page one, and it's as though you're reading an entirely new novel. The Sound the the Fury is one of those books.Faulkner tells the story of the Compson family from the point of view of three of four siblings: Benjy, who is mentally impaired; Quentin, who has started his freshman at Harvard; and Justin, who is the bitter youngest son.The story begins in the mind of Benjy with a first chapter that is one of the greatest virtuoso performances in the English language. It's also one of the most difficult to read. If you can make it through that, the narrative becomes increasingly easy to follow and you start to understand the dynamics of the Compson family. If you have the patience to go back and re-read Benjy's chapter after completing The Sound and the Fury, the seemingly impenetrable shifts in time make sense and you get a much more nuanced picture of all the events detailed in the novel. Not an easy read by any measure, but a rich one if you stick with it.
This is probably more difficult than it needs to be, but it's also beautiful and entertaining. I recommend venturing into it forewarned or with notes prepared (easily gained online), and taking your time with it. It's worth the time, but it does take time and effort to work through.
This is on several "OMG you must read these books before you die" lists so I decided to try it. I was not prepared for now remarkably difficult it is to follow. It is divided into four sections, the first three narrated in (unreliable) first person and the fourth in third person omniscient. The first section is narrated by Benjy, a man with severe mental retardation; next is Quentin, a neurotic with a tendency to interrupt himself midsentence; and finally we have Jason, an evil man with an apparent distaste for proper nouns, often going entire scenes talking about "her" without letting the reader know who "she" is. The fourth section would be a breath of fresh air, tying everything together, except it's so strangled with purple prose it's almost unbearable. To be fair, this should never have been an audiobook. Gardner is an excellent narrator, but with no way to obviously set apart the italicized sections from the rest it all becomes one big jumble, jumping back and forth through time without any indication to the reader of what's happening when. (Multiple characters sharing the same name doesn't help either.) Not that I think I would have liked this book had I experienced it in print first. The characters are despicable. The mother especially got under my skin, with her self-centered mewling about what a martyr she is. Now, just because I didn't like it doesn't mean you won't. I can see how this book would appeal to people who enjoy an extra challenge in their reading, who define "classics" as books that require multiple reads to fully understand. I actually gave some thought to rereading it, but I didn't really want to spend any more time with the Compsons than strictly necessary. In short, if you're just looking for a good story the first time around, I would strongly suggest skipping this one - or at least having a study guide close at hand while you read.After finishing this, I read its corresponding Wikipedia entry. Though usually not a fan of spoilers, I wish I'd read this synposis before tackling the actual text. It may have been easier to parse.
This is one book where I wish I would have read the reviews before I read it. Through the entire first half of the book I was thoroughly confused and continuously contemplating putting it down. If it had been written by just about anybody else but Faulker, I probably would have ditched it. I'm glad I didn't because it all came together at the end, which was beautifully done. If you can stick with it, the pieces fall into place at the end -- but I'm giving it four stars instead of five because of the torment and frustration it put me through to get that fulfillment.
Read this for class with, at first, a groan (Having read As I Lay Dying I wasn't ready for another Faulkner experience) I found that this book (and the class experience with it) was so much better. All the symbolism, and character intensity, caught me and held me. I needed to know what was happening to these people, which was pleasantly surprising.