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THE SOUND AND THE FURY
William Faulkner\'s background influenced him to write the unconventional novel The Sound and the Fury.
One important influence on the story is that Faulkner grew up in the South. The Economist magazine
states that the main source of his inspiration was the passionate history of the American South, centered
for him in the town of Oxford, Mississippi, where he lived most of his life. Similarly, Faulkner turns
Oxford and its environs, "my own little postage stamp of native soil," into Yoknapatawpha County, the
mythical region in which he sets the novel (76). In addition to setting, another influence on the story
is Faulkner\'s own family. He had three brothers, black servants, a mother whose family was not as
distinguished as her husband\'s, a father who drank a lot, and a grandmother called Damuddy who died while
he was young. In comparison, the novel is told from the point of view of the three Compson brothers,
shows the black servant Dilsey as a main character, has Mrs.!
Compson complain about how her family is beneath her husband\'s, portrays Mr. Compson as a alcoholic, and
names the children\'s grandmother Damuddy who also dies while they are young. Perhaps the most important
influence on the story is Faulkner\'s education, or lack thereof. He never graduated from high school,
let alone college, and in later life wryly described himself as "the world\'s oldest sixth grader." He
took insistent pride in the pre-intellectual character of his creativity, and once declined to meet a
delegation of distinguished foreign authors because "they\'d want to talk about ideas. I\'m a writer, not a
literary man" (76). In writing The Sound and the Fury, Faulkner pays no attention to normal literary
work. He often uses incoherent and irrational phrases to bring the reader into the minds of the
characters. This background, together with a believable plot, convincing characterization and important
literary devices enables William Faulkner in The Sound and the!
Fury to develop the theme of the regression of the family.
The structure of The Sound and the Fury leaves much to be desired. First of all, the time
sequence is chaotic and only leads to confusion. The first section is told from the point of view of a
thirty three year old idiot, Benjy Compson, who can tell no difference between the past or present. The
Benjy section is very difficult to understand because the slightest incident can trigger a memory from
him and completely replace what is happening in the immediate time frame. For instance, the first jump
in time occurs on just the second page of the book when Luster says, "Cant you never crawl through here
without snagging on that nail." Benjy automatically thinks back to when he went with Caddy to deliver a
letter to Mrs. Patterson and got stuck on the fence near Christmas. When Caddy says in the same memory,
"You don\'t want your hands froze on Christmas, do you," Benjy thinks of an earlier incident when Caddy
tried to convince Mrs. Compson to let him come outside with her (F!
aulkner 4). The next section, told from Quentin Compson\'s perspective, is as equally puzzling. Since
Quentin has decided to end his life, he reminisces about his past and the reason he chose to die. The
reason is his sister\'s act of adultery. Whenever he is reminded of events that have to do with his
sister\'s sin, he also goes back in time. When Quentin is thinking about how good the weather will be for
the Harvard boat race in June, the month of brides, he thinks of Caddy\'s wedding day. He then thinks of
the roses at her wedding and of trying to convince his father that he committed incest with his sister
(77). Another uncertainty in this novel is the lack of rising action or climax. The book is told on
Easter weekend, 1928, and gives the whole history of the family by retelling the events that occurred in
the minds of the characters. To begin, the first section tells what will happen in the rest of the novel
in the form of Benjy\'s memories. It informs the reader th!
at Mr. Compson and Damuddy dies, Uncle Maury is having an affair with a married woman, Benjy gets
castrated, and that Caddy gets pregnant, married, and then denounced by her family when she is left by
her husband. Since the first part already tells what happens to the family, there is no suspense. The
rest of the novel
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Modernist literature, The Sound and the Fury, Quentin Compson, Compson, Caddy, Quentin, William Faulkner, Compson family, That Evening Sun
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