Review: The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner

Pages: 4 (1523 words) Published: December 3, 2009
The Sound and the Fury by William Faulkner has been hailed by numerous critics and readers alike as "a deliberately conceived and superlatively executed work (Millgate)." Not only was it an outstanding example of the "stream of consciousness" method of narration, it was in keeping with the modernist trends of implied themes and fragmentation. Faulkner also seems to have had an understanding of the Freudian theory of personality which shows in his writing. The four Compson children are examples of the different personality components and of how their inability to function together as a whole destroys the last of the Compson family. Quentin and Jason IV, the two male children who aren't mentally deficient, both have imbalanced personalities, but their respective deficiencies causes them to be diametrically opposed. Exploration and application of Freud's personality structure will illustrate the areas of their psyche that are underdeveloped or lacking and the ramifications of these deficiencies in their lives.

Sigmund Freud's conception of personality consists of three entities; the id, ego, and superego. The id is the most fundamental of the three. It is characterized as "the reservoir of instinctual psychic energy, or libido (Psychology Today 408)." It is the depository of the innate instinctual drives and always seeks immediate gratification while avoiding pain, known as the "pleasure principle."(Hilgard 478) It is divided into two instincts, Thanatos (death) and Eros (life).

The ego is responsible for controlling the impulsive id. It consists of the psychic apparatuses i.e. perception, memory, motility, and time, which allow the individual to perceive, to think, and to act upon his environment. It also governs and controls the id's encounters with reality.(Deutsch 138) It mediates between the id and the superego and the id and reality. It also directs the Eros, or life instincts.

The superego consists of the conscience and the ego ideal, which are...
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