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The Sound and the Fury

The Ink of Melancholy: Faulkner’s Novels from The Sound and the Fury to Light in August

By André Bleikasten

Indiana University Press

Hardcover

ISBN: 0253312000

Published 1990

William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury: A Critical Casebook

By André Bleikasten (ed.)

Garland

ISBN: 0824092694

Published 1982

William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury: Modern Critical Interpretations

By Harold Bloom (ed.)

Chelsea House

Hardcover

ISBN: 1555460429

Published 1988

Approaches to Teaching Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury

By Stephen Hahn and Arthur F. Kinney (eds.)

Modern Language Association of America

Hardcover

ISBN: 0873527372

Paperback

ISBN: 0873527380

Published 1996

Critical Essays on William Faulkner: The Compson Family

By Arthur F. Kinney (ed.)

G.K. Hall

Hardcover

ISBN: 081618464X

Published 1982

The Sound and the Fury: Faulkner and the Lost Cause

By John T. Matthews

Twayne’s Masterwork Studies

Twayne Publishers

Hardcover

ISBN: 0805779655

Published 1991

New Essays on The Sound and the Fury

By Noel Polk (ed.)

American Novel series

Cambridge University Press

Paperback

ISBN: 0521457343

Hardcover

ISBN: 0521451140

Published 1993

The Sound and the Fury: A Concordance to the Novel

By Noel Polk

University Microfilms

Hardcover

ISBN: 0835705137

Published 1980

The Sound and the Fury: Manuscript

Garland

Hardcover

ISBN: 082406805X

Published 1987

The Sound and the Fury: Carbon Typescript and Miscellaneous Typescript Pages

By Noel Polk (ed.)

Garland

Hardcover

ISBN: 0824068068

Published 1987

Reading Faulkner: The Sound and the Fury

By Stephen M. Ross and Noel Polk

Reading Faulkner series

University Press of Mississippi

Hardcover

ISBN: 0878059350

Paperback

ISBN: 0878059369

Published 1996

An Editorial Handbook for William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury

By Noel Polk

Garland

Hardcover

ISBN: 0824088328

Published 1985


Barron’s Book Notes on William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury

Barrons Educational Series

Paperback

ISBN: 0812035410

Published 1985

Cliffs Notes on Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury

Cliffs Notes

Paperback

ISBN: 0822012197

Published 1970

Maxnotes: The Sound and the Fury

Research & Education Association

Paperback

ISBN: 0878910476

Published 1996

William Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury and Other Works

Monarch Notes

Paperback

ISBN: 999160183X

Published 1973

Contents

Benjy’s Section
Quentin’s Section
Source of the Title
Compson Genealogy
Character List

Benjy’s Section

Three black servants are Benjy’s caretakers at different times: Versh when Benjy is a small child, T.P. when Benjy is about 15 years old, and Luster when Benjy is 33 years old. Benjy relives approximately 15 events from the past.

Versh is Benjy’s attendant:

  • Damuddy’s death (1898): children at the branch; Caddy in the tree; muddy drawers
  • Name change (1900): key images include fire, mirror, rain, cushion, library
  • Uncle Maury’s love affair (?): Mr. Patterson; Uncle Maury’s black eye

T.P. is Benjy’s attendant

  • Caddy uses perfume (1905): pushes Caddy into bathroom
  • Caddy in the swing (1906): Charlie; Caddy washes her mouth
  • Benjy must sleep alone (1908): “You too big to sleep with folks”
  • Caddy loses virginity (1909): Caddy walking fast; Benjy howling
  • Caddy’s wedding (1910): T.P.’s “whooey” sasprilluh
  • Benjy at the gate (1910): “Caddy gone and left you”
  • Quentin’s suicide (1910): Roskus talking about bad luck; “that’s two”
  • Benjy is castrated (?): “How did he get out?”; schoolgirls swinging satchels
  • Death of Mr. Compson (1912): Dan howling
  • Trip to cemetery (?): T.P. driving carriage with Mrs. Compson, Benjy

Luster is Benjy’s attendant

  • Death of Roskus (?): “Dilsey moaned”; Blue howling
  • Present (April 7, 1928): Luster looking for a quarter; circus in town.

Quentin’s Section

Quentin’s section has flashbacks to fewer moments in the past and is less disjointed than Benjy’s section, but because he is more intellectual and abstract, his section is much more fragmented. His memories are often only hinted at by key words or phrases (which are not always italicized) early in the section, which are repeated and expanded upon later. As his section progresses, and Quentin gets closer to his suicidal destiny, the language he uses reveals more and more the fragmentation of his psyche. A long scene with Caddy at the branch takes the form of a dialogue without punctuation or capitalization, though each time the speaker changes a new paragraph is formed. Very late in the section, Quentin recalls a conversation he had with his father in which he claims to have committed incest with Caddy--here, even paragraphing has disappeared along with punctuation, with speaker changes indicated by “and he ... and i ... and he” etc.

Nearly all of Quentin’s flashbacks, except minor memories (such as breaking his leg) and those depicting conversation with his father, concern Caddy’s sexuality and/or Quentin’s reaction to it. His most significant memories, in chronological order, are the following:

  • Damuddy’s death (1898)
  • Benjy’s name change (1900)
  • Kissing Natalie (undated)
  • Caddy kissing a boy (1906-1907)
  • Caddy having sex with Dalton Ames (late summer 1909)
  • Wedding announcement (1910)
  • Meeting Herbert Head (April 23?, 1910)
  • Wedding eve (April 24, 1910)
  • Wedding (April 25, 1910)

The Title

The title and some of the imagery in the novel derive from a soliloquy by the title character in Shakespeare’s tragedy Macbeth. In Act V, Scene v, following the death of his wife, and as he begins to realize his dire situation, Macbeth speaks his “Tomorrow” soliloquy:

To-morrow, and to-morrow, and to-morrow
Creeps in this petty pace from day to day
To the last syllable of recorded time,
And all our yesterdays have lighted fools
The way to dusty death. Out, out, brief candle!
Life’s but a walking shadow, a poor player
That struts and frets his hour upon the stage
And then is heard no more. It is a tale
Told by an idiot, full of sound and fury
Signifying nothing.

Character List

These are characters who appear in the novel. Links lead to entries about these people in the glossary. Characters whose proper names are not given are indicated in quotation marks. Characters who appear only in the novel’s “appendix” are in brackets. Major or significant characters are listed in boldface.
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How to cite this page (MLA style):

Padgett, John B. “The Sound and the Fury: Resources.” William Faulkner on the Web. 17 Aug. 2006. Ed. John B. Padgett. U of Mississippi. 02 Sep. 2014 <>.

This page was last modified on Thursday, August 17, 2006, at 03:20 PM CDT.
Copyright © 1995 – 2006 by John B. Padgett.
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