Benjy’s Cyclical Timeline
The Sound and the Fury, a novel written by William Faulkner expresses that time is irrelevant and has no fixed timeline. Focusing on three brothers, Benjy, Quentin, and Jason, Faulkner separates each character by changing the order of time in their respective sections. Out of the three, Faulkner distorts Benjy’s sense of time the utmost. Benjy is unable to move forward, his only movement is to the past. Leaving him stuck at a point in time, with only memories of his past. A set of memories and his surroundings are what make up Benjy’s monologue throughout the novel. By creating the character Benjy, Faulkner proves that the nature of times forward progress is irrelevant to a characters success.
A characters success is measured by his or her progress in a novel. Benjy’s sense of time affects his progress. Benjy’s perception of time progresses in a cyclical pattern, instead of the common linear pattern followed by Quentin and Jason. Instead of following the southern social norms, which the other characters follow, Benjy is stuck inside a world which repeats constantly. From present to past, Benjy’s stream of consciousness switches when an event in the present triggers a flashback, “Dont try to carry him, Mother said. Cant you lead him over here. Is it too much for you to think of. I can carry him, Caddy said. “Let me carry him up, Dilsey.” (Faulkner 61). Benjy’s flashbacks are triggered by present time occurrences, when Benjy enters a flashback the entire setting of the section switches. Faulkner created Benjy’s monologue this way to show that he only looks at the big picture. Never searching for any new memory, only for something that will remind him of a past memory which brought him pleasure. Because Benjy has no progression of time and is bound to repeating the same memories, he cannot progress to an ending.
In addition to not being able to develop, Benjy is stuck in an embryonic mind set focused on the most basic needs. Since...
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