Caddy and Quentin Compson

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Justine Weng
AP English III-1
24 March 2011
One Step Forward, One Step Backward
Challenging traditional taboos is a factor that contributes to the development of society. Such rebellion was prevalent among the youth of the early twentieth century, introducing fresh societal values that overtook the older, rooted values. In order for an individual to progress with society, he must let go of outdated traditions, for the refusal to do so brings about disastrous results. Those who do adapt to modernization save themselves from ignorance, while those who cling onto values of the past allow their own social undoing. In Faulkner’s The Sound and the Fury, the contrast in behavior between Caddy and Quentin displays the results of those who step forward with modernization versus those who remain in the past. While Caddy portrays a modern, independent woman through her unorthodox behavior, Quentin stands less willing to accept the destined modernization of society as he holds tightly to fading southern traditions and values. Caddy’s refusal to comply with traditional societal expectations for women strengthens Quentin’s grasp on his outdated southern values, leading to his incestuous relationship with his sister. Interactions between Caddy and Quentin as children foreshadow the development of Caddy as a modern woman along with her conflicting relationship with Quentin. Even in their youth, “Quentin’s futile attempts to protect his sister’s honor and body” are displayed in the scene describing the children at play in the branch (Lilburn 312). Her continuous backtalk towards her older brother illustrates Caddy’s rebellious nature against traditional roles of females. She refuses to fulfill characteristics of southern women, such as submission and docile. Not only is her request for Versh to unbutton her dress inappropriate, Caddy’s ability to enforce her way displays her strong nature that contributes to the disruption of Quentin’s mindset of...
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