The Sound and the Fury Structure

Topics: Absalom, Absalom!, Suicide, Time Pages: 7 (3222 words) Published: June 12, 2008
Ben BoydEnglish 11H
In his novel, The Sound and the Fury, William Faulkner employs a unique structural assembly to relay a compelling and complex plot to his readers. Faulkner often uses incoherent and irrational phrases to bring the reader into the minds of the characters. With a believable plot, convincing characterization and important literary devices, William Faulkner is able to bring into perspective a new structural form of writing which influences the significance of the content within the novel. Faulkner does not use the typical writing style of most other authors, whereas to include the basic plot outline (including rising action and a climax), but instead pieces the story together providing small portions of the Compson Family history at a time. The majority of the readers of The Sound and the Fury are quick to note the scrambled botch of ideas and statements that the reader is faced with in the first section of the novel. The second narration is slightly more logical but again contains vague concepts. However, once the reader has become familiar with Faulkner's technique, a more in depth look can be taken into the relationships between the characters of the Compson family. The parallelism of the complex structure and other literary attributes throughout all of the sections of The Sound and the Fury are developed by looking at the relationships between the contrasting points of view as well as main characters, and the varying levels of consciousness of Benjy and Quentin. The structure of The Sound and the Fury leaves much to be desired. First of all, the time sequence is chaotic and only leads to confusion. The first section is told from the point of view of a thirty three year old mentally disabled man, Benjy Compson, who can tell no difference between the past or present. The Benjy section is very difficult to understand because the slightest incident can trigger a memory from him and completely replace what is happening in the immediate time frame. For instance, the first jump in time occurs on just the second page of the book when Luster says, “Cannot you never crawl through here without snagging on that nail.” Benjy automatically thinks back to when he went with Caddy to deliver a letter to Mrs. Patterson and got stuck on the fence near Christmas. When Caddy says in the same memory, “You don't want your hands froze on Christmas, do you,” Benjy thinks of an earlier incident when Caddy tried to convince Mrs. Compson to let him come outside with her (4). The next section, told from Quentin Compson's perspective, is as equally puzzling. Since Quentin has decided to end his life, he reminisces about his past and the reason he chose to die. The reason is his sister's act of adultery. Whenever he is reminded of events that have to do with his sister's sin, he also goes back in time. When Quentin is thinking about how good the weather will be for the Harvard boat race in June, the month of brides, he thinks of Caddy's wedding day. He then thinks of the roses at her wedding and of trying to convince his father that he committed incest with his sister (77). One uncertainty in this novel is the lack of rising action or climax. Part of Faulkners style, the book is told on various dates, on Easter weekend, 1928, and gives the whole history of the family by retelling the events that occurred in the minds of the characters. To begin, the first section tells what will happen in the rest of the novel in the form of Benjy's memories. It informs the reader that Mr. Compson and Damuddy dies, Uncle Maury is having an affair with a married woman, Benjy gets castrated, and that Caddy gets pregnant, married, and then denounced by her family when she is left by her husband. Since the first part already tells what happens to the family, there is no suspense. The rest of the novel is just the same events retold from a different view. There is nothing to look forward to but the clarification of the events that already...
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