The form of ‘The Sound and the Fury’ is unmistakably Modernist; Faulkner makes use of a variety of literary Modernist tropes, such as the use of erratic narrators, interior monologues, and unorthodox syntax.
Style of Prose
‘The Sound and the Fury’ has long been regarded as being extremely difficult to read and comprehend. The novel’s four different narrators and the stream-of-consciousness literary technique Faulkner uses in the first two sections contribute significantly to its complexity.
The technique of “stream of consciousness” places the reader inside the narrator’s head, where ideas and language come to them naturally. To mimic the actual flow of thoughts through the mind, the approach creates potentially perplexing alterations in time and space, such as abruptly leaping from the past to the present or from one location to another. Additionally, it could be difficult to tell who characters are speaking or what events are being recounted.
The fact that Benjy is a man with a severe mental handicap who is mute makes using this technique in the first chapter of ‘The Sound and the Fury’ particularly difficult. Faulkner’s deliberate decision illustrates his belief that perfect communication is never attainable. He makes confused readers piece together Benjy’s muddled thoughts and feelings to find the significance hidden there before moving on to the main plot.
Symbolism in The Sound and the Fury
Throughout the book, water represents purification and cleansing, especially about Caddy. Caddy seems to be the picture of innocence and purity, playing in the stream as a child. She smears her underwear, which foreshadows Caddy’s eventual promiscuity, though. When Benjy first notices that Caddy is wearing perfume, he becomes furious. Caddy, who is still a virgin, removes the perfume, metaphorically washing away her sin.
Another symbolic element in ‘The Sound and the Fury’ is the wristwatch of Quentin. Mr. Compson gave Quentin a watch in the hopes that it would help him feel less obliged to focus so much attention on keeping track of the time. With or without the watch, Quentin is unable to shake his obsession over time. The watch, which previously belonged to Mr. Compson, continually serves as a reminder of the illustrious heritage that Quentin’s family values so highly.
The Concept of Time in The Sound and the Fury
Faulkner argues that people can engage with time in a variety of ways and that it is not a consistent or objectively understood concept. Benjy doesn’t understand the time and cannot tell the difference between the past and the present. He can make connections between the past and the present that others might not be able to, and his impairment frees him from the other Compsons’ preoccupation with the renown of their name in the past.
As a result of being stuck in time, Quentin is unable and unwilling to let go of his memories of the past. By shattering his watch, he seeks to escape time’s hold, but the sound of the clock’s ticking haunts him afterward, and he sees no other option except to commit suicide.
Organization and Anarchy in The Sound and the Fury
The Compson brothers each have a unique understanding of order and chaos. When anything happens that does not fit the pattern of familiar memories that Benjy has created in his head, he gets disturbed. To maintain order, Quentin uses his idealized Southern code. Jason organizes everything in his universe around possibilities for personal gain, trying to make the best of every situation. These three mechanisms all go down, resulting in pandemonium for the Compson household.
Nobody has a keener sense of order than Dilsey. She upholds her morals, suffers the turbulent demise of the Compsons, and emerges as the sole person who has not been damaged.
The Creation of Yoknapatawpha County in The Sound and the Fury
Faulkner chose to invent his imaginary setting, which he called Yoknapatawpha County (pronounced yok-na-pa-TAW-pha), based on Oxford. A loose translation of the Chickasaw Indian phrase “Yoknapatawpha” is “water moves slowly through flatlands.”
Yoknapatawpha appears in 14 of Faulkner’s novels and a large number of his short works. Although the residents of Yoknapatawpha County behave exactly like those in Lafayette County, Mississippi, in real life, Faulkner can draw attention to the inherent issues by how he presents his characters.
The Narrations in The Sound and the Fury
There are four parts to ‘The Sound and the Fury,’ and each one is told by a different narrator. One of the boys of the Compson family provides the first-person narration for the first three parts. Part 1 is told from the viewpoint of mentally challenged guy Benjy Compson, 33. Part 2 is told by Benjy’s brother Quentin, a Harvard student who intends to end his life. Part 3 is told from the perspective of Jason, the third brother, who is an enraged adult who manages the household while holding down a menial job at the local general store. Part 4 of the story is told by an omniscient narrator and focuses on the Compsons’ housekeeper Dilsey and recent happenings in their home.
The work encourages readers to make connections between the four sections, which frequently offer various viewpoints on the same events and individuals. To find the connecting themes that tie the novel’s sections together and disclose the Compsons’ history, readers must move back and forth between all four of the novel’s sections.
What style did William Faulkner use in writing The Sound and the Fury?
William Faulkner employed a stream-of-consciousness style in telling the stories of the Compson family.
What is the point-of-view narration of The Sound and the Fury?
William Faulkner told the story from four perspectives: Part 1 with Benjy’s account, Part 2 with Quentin, Part 3 with Jason, and Part 4 with an omniscient narrator.
What language was The Sound and the Fury written in?
The Sound and the Fury was written in English
What year was The Sound and the Fury published?
‘The Sound and the Fury’ was published in 1929.
The Sound and the Fury Review
Lasting Effect on The Reader
The Sound and the Fury Review
‘The Sound and the Fury’ by William Faulkner chronicles the fall of the Compson family in Jefferson, Mississippi in the 20th century.
- The characters are captivating.
- The story is socially relevant
- The writing style is difficult to follow.
- The narration is hazy and confusing.