The Sound and the Fury By William Faulkner 1929

The Sound and the


By William Faulkner


Main Characters

Caddy - The book tells her story in the
first three sections discussing parts of her childhood and growth continuing
with her illegitimate daughter in the third section.

Benjy - He is the narrator of the first
section and 33 at the time, but has a mental illness which makes him deaf
and dumb.

Quentin - He is the narrator of the second
section during his freshman year at Harvard during which he commits suicide.

Jason - He is a brother of the three previous
main characters and the narrator of the 3 section who describes his relationships
with Caddy and her daughter.

Minor Characters

Dilsey - She is a black servant of the

Compson household and the one to see their doom in the fourth section.

Caroline Compson - She is the mother of
the main character and a hypochondriac.

Three main settings

The Compson house - Most of the story takes
place here at the house of the Compson family.

Boston - The second section happens in

Boston as Quentin prepares for his suicide.

Mottstown - Parts of the fourth section
happen here has Jason chase Miss Quentin trying to get back the money she
stole from him.


The book begins with a section narrated
by Benjy. The narration moves back and forth through times since

Benjy, being an idiot, has no sense of time. In the present, Benjy
is 33. However, we see incidents from his past experiences such as

Damuddy’s funeral, and the various experiences with Caddy. Near the
end of his section, he is mistaken to have sexually assaulted a girl and
we find out that he is castrated later in the book. The second section
is narrated by Quentin and shows his preparations for his suicide.

In the start of the section, he breaks his watch in somewhat of an attempt
to escape time. He prepares his suicide notes and gives them to Deacon
whom he tells to deliver the notes the next day. He travels around

Boston but gets arrested for trying to take a young Italian girl home.

He gets in a fight with a guy named Gerald bland, and later drowns himself.

The third section is narrated by Jason. This shows the way he takes
money from Caddy intended for Quentin. It also shows Quentin’s developing
sexuality and rebelliousness. Jason partly attempts to discipline
her, but it seems more for his entertainment than for a caring for the
girl. The fourth section is from an omniscient viewpoint and focuses
largely on Dilsey. Dilsey goes to an Easter service where she hears
the preacher preach a sermon which reflects the Compson household.

Through the sermon, she also sees the inevitable doom facing the Compson
household. This section also follows Jason to Mottstown following

Quentin who stole $7,000 from him.


Quentin’s watch - The watch was given to
him by his father and symbolizes life and time. By breaking the watch,

Quentin attempts to escape time and ultimately his life.

Dilsey - Dilsey symbolizes the only form
of reason and logic in the Compson house. All other characters are
doomed to life ineffectual lives but she sees the fall that is happening
while not experiencing it herself.


Faulkner’s style in this novel is very
unconventional. He arranges the novel in four sections which doesn’t
have the typical chronological part, but shows parts of the story at a
time from any which time period. His writing is very characteristic
of the narrator with Benjy writing simply from a very objective point of
view, Quentin being neurotic, and Jason being sadistic.


Faulkner shows in this book the tragic
fall of a family in this book. He seems to warn against weak family
ties showing that to be a great cause of the tragedy of the Compson house.


"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." Benjy narrates this section in the beginning of the book
showing his viewpoint of what seems to be golfers.

"When the shadow of the sash appeared in
the curtains it was between seven and eight oclock and then I was in time
again, hearing the watch. It was Grandfather’s and when Father gave
it to me he said I give you the mausoleum of all hope and desire; it’s
rather excruciatingly apt that you will use it to gain the reducto absurdum
of all human experience which can fit your