William Faulkner used dialogue from the perspectives of different characters to drive home his message in ‘The Sound and the Fury.’ These quotes underpin the psychology of the human mind.
Narcissism and Selfishness
Whoever God is, He would not permit that. I’m a lady. You might not believe that from my offspring, but I am.
In the final chapter, after finding that Miss Quentin had fled, Mrs. Compson utters these remarks. She thinks Miss Quentin might have killed herself at first, but she rejects the idea because she thinks that God would never permit her children to harm her in such a way.
This remark sheds a lot of light on Mrs. Compson’s way of thinking. She hints that she saw her son Quentin’s suicide as an attempt to hurt or defy her, which shows how deeply absorbed she is in herself. She still doesn’t understand the degree of sorrow that Quentin went through, and she smugly believes that his only motive for taking his own life was to get even with her.
If I’d just had a mother so I could say Mother Mother.
Quentin is thinking about how little love his mother showed him when he was a child. Mrs. Compson only displayed care for one of her children, Jason, as she was too preoccupied with herself and her concerns about her family name.
As abandoned, unloved outsiders, Quentin and Caddy became close, and Quentin built an abnormally deep bond with his sister. Due to Quentin’s anguish at Caddy’s promiscuity caused by this bond, Caddy commits suicide. It is clear from Quentin’s concentration on his mother’s absence and neglect during his final hours that Mrs. Compson’s failure as a mother has been profound and detrimental.
Bitterness, Resentment, and Self-loathing
I wouldn’t lay my hand on her. The bitch that cost me a job, the one chance I ever had to get ahead, that killed my father and is shortening my mother’s life every day and made my name a laughing stock in the town. I won’t do anything to her.
Jason justifies his pursuit of Miss Quentin to the sheriff. Jason speaks in his typically caustic manner and exhibits the victim mentality. He resents Caddy for divorcing Herbert Head and depriving Jason of the bank position Herbert had promised.
Jason has been bitter and cruel to people for a large portion of his adult life. Jason is enraged that Miss Quentin stole his money and goes on to accuse her of being the cause of all the family’s problems.
Once a bitch always a bitch, what I say.
The first few sentences of the portion Jason narrates make his personality quite evident. He has a deep-seated disdain for women and is enraged, resentful, and vicious.
Pessimism and Cynicism
They ain’t no luck on this place.
When Maury’s name is changed to Benjamin and Caroline declares that Caddy’s name is never to be brought up again after Miss Quentin moves in with the Compsons, Roskus makes this fatalistic proclamation twice. Roskus succinctly captures the decline of a home devoid of acceptance and affection in one sentence. The Gibsons are significantly wiser than the Compsons
I seed de beginnin, en now I sees de endin.
In the novel’s last chapter, shortly after learning that Miss Quentin has left, Dilsey utters these remarks during the Easter church service. Dilsey’s remark demonstrates her understanding of the Compson family tragedy and her capacity to place it within a larger cycle.
Dilsey has been there from the beginning when the Compson kids were just infants, and she is still there in the conclusion when the family’s disintegration reaches its peak. Dilsey serves as the book’s constant in this regard. The Compsons have long since given up the traditional Southern ideals of faith, love, and family, but she has upheld them.
Promiscuity and Sexual Purity
We watched the muddy bottom of her drawers
This picture served as the inspiration for the novel, according to William Faulkner. When Caddy climbs a tree to observe what the grownups within the home are doing, Benjy is reflecting on the day of Damuddy’s passing. Her brothers can be seen below inspecting the bottom of her filthy underpants, a sign of Caddy’s early promiscuity and eventual demise, which caused the three sons great sorrow.
Caddy smells like trees.
Throughout his portion, Benjy makes repeated comments about how Caddy smells like leaves or trees. Caddy is the pillar of comfort and order in little Benjy’s thoughts because she is his only maternal figure and source of affection.
Because of how much Benjy has relied on his sister, his disappearance has left him in complete disarray. Benjy enjoyably connects Caddy’s innocent youth with the scent of the trees where they used to play in his earliest memories of them.
‘I don’t care,’ she says, ‘I’m bad and I’m going to hell, and I don’t care’
Even the spirited Miss Quentin has reached her breaking point as a result of Jason’s brutality. As soon as she says these words, she gives up and wholeheartedly commits to a promiscuous lifestyle.
The Passage of Time
I give it to you … that you might forget [time] now and then for a moment.
As Quentin receives his grandfather’s watch from his father, he is reminded of these words. Quentin’s father prefers that he occasionally lose track of time, which will reduce his desire to master it. Though Quentin is fixated on time due to his desperation about the loss of the Compson family honor, it is now too late for him to forget it. Additionally, the watch his father gave him makes it hard to lose track of time. The watch is a family treasure that symbolizes the history of the Compsons and serves as its timepiece. Because of the watch, time cannot be forgotten.
Why were Quentin and Caddy close in The Sound and the Fury?
They were close, likely because their mother, Mrs. Compson, was a neurotic who paid them no mind and only loved Jason.
Was Jason a misogynist in The Sound and the Fury?
Yes. He repeatedly used derogatory language when referring to women in his life — like his sister, Caddy, and his niece, Miss Quentin
What happened to Benjy later on in The Sound and the Fury?
According to the appendix, added by William Faulkner in 1946, Benjy was committed to a mental institution.
What is one of the most notable quote from The Sound and the Fury?
“Clocks slay time… time is dead as long as it is being clicked off by little wheels; only when the clock stops does time come to life.”