English- Mr. Recchio Hour 2
Summer Reading Essay
The novel “The Sound and the Fury” by William Faulkner tells the story of the Compson family’s downfall after the civil war. The story takes place in 1910 and 1928 in Mississippi, and centers on the Compson family’s three sons: Benjy, Quentin, and Jason, as well as their unconventional obsessions with their sister Caddy. To understand the sons’ obsessions, one must understand that the Compsons are an extremely dysfunctional family in constant turmoil. With an alcoholic father and a hypochondriac for a mother, the children of the Compson’s are inevitably neglected and left striving for the love and affection that they lacked from their parents. Benjy, the Compson’s mentally handicapped son, looks to Caddy as a surrogate mother. Quentin looks at Caddy as more of a lover than a sister, and Jason finds comfort in hating Caddy and everything that women represent. Each of them were strongly affected when Caddy became promiscuous and pregnant, and their responses to this back in a time when Southern values were vital in a person’s life said a lot about their obsessions with their sister. The important theme of this novel is that the value of a person lies in their honor to what is right.
Back in the “Old South”, men acted like gentlemen. Women acted like ladies. Families were proper and presented a united front. Southern values play a huge role in “The Sound and the Fury”, because every member of the family goes against them. Caddy sleeps around, Benjy is an outcast, Mr. Compson is an alcoholic, Mrs. Compson isn’t a homemaker, and so on and so forth. They all go against what society believes to be right and acceptable in their own ways, and on the outside, people see them as a family that is slowly but surely falling apart.