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The Sound and the Fury - Book Review

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Book Report of The Sound and the Fury

Part 1: about the author

William Faulkner was born in 1897 in Mississippi, to a prominent Southern family. A number of his ancestors were involved in the Mexican-American War, the Civil War, and the Reconstruction, and were part of the local railroad industry and political scene. Faulkner showed signs of artistic talent from a young age, but become bored with his classes and never finished high school.

Faulkner was particularly interested in the decline of the Deep South after the Civil War. Many of his novels explore deterioration of the Southern aristocracy after the destruction of its wealth and way of life during the Civil War and Reconstruction. Oxford and Mississippi where he grew up were his inspiration for the fictional town of Jefferson, Mississippi, and its surroundings, Yoknapatawpha County. Those locates became the setting for a number of his works. Faulkner's "Yoknapatawpha novels" include The Sound and the Fury<1929>, As I Lay Dying<1932>, Light in August<1932>, Absalom, Absalom!<1936>, The Hamlet<1940>, and Go Down, Moses<1942>.

Faulkner's reputation as one of the greatest novelist of the 20C is largely due to his highly experimental style. He was a pioneer in literary modernism, dramatically diverging from the forms and structure traditionally used in novels before his time. He often employs stream of consciousness narrative, discards any notion of chronological order, uses multiple narrators, shifts between the present and past sense, and tends toward imposingly long and complex sentences. First published in 1929, The Sound and the Fury is recognized as one of the most successfully innovate and experimental American novels of its time. So in 1949, he was awarded the Nobel Prize in literature.

Part 2: brief introduction of the book

The first three chapters of the novel consist of the convoluted thoughts, voices and memories of the Compson brothers, captured on three different days. The brothers are Benjy, a severely retarded 33 years old man, speaking in April, 1928: Quetin, a young Harvard student, speaking in June, 1910: and Jason, a bitter4 farm-supply store worker, speaking again in April, 1928. Faulkner tells the fourth chapter in his own narrative voice, but focuses on Dilsey, the Conpson family's devoted "Negro" cook who has played a great part in raising the children.

The Compson are one of the several prominent names in the town of Jefferson, Mississippi. Their ancestors helped settle the area and subsequently defended in during the Civil War. Since the war, the Compsons have gradually seen their wealth, land and status crumble away. Mr. Compson is an alcoholic. Mrs. Compson is a self -absorbed hypochondriac who depends almost entirely upon Dilsey to raise her four children. Quentin, the oldest child, is a sensitive bundle of neuroses. Candy is somewhat stubborn, but is loving and compassionate. Jason has been difficult and mean-spirited since birth and is largely spurned by the other children. Benjy is severely mentally disabled, an "idiot" with no understanding of the concepts of time or morality.

As the children grow older, however, Caddy begins to behave promiscuously, which torments Quentin and sends Benjy into fits of moaning and crying. Quentin is preparing to go to Harvard, and Mr. Compson sells a large portion of the family land to provide funds for the tuition. Candy loses her virginity and becomes pregnant. She is unable or unwilling to name the father of the child. Caddy's pregnancy leaves Quentin emotionally shattered. He attempts to claim false responsibility for pregnancy, lying to his father that he and Caddy have committed incest. However, Mr. Compson seems largely indifferent to Caddy's promiscuity.

Attempting to cover up her indiscretions, Caddy quickly marries Herbert Head, a banker she met in Indiana. Herbert promises Jason Conpson a job in his bank. Herbert immediately divorces Caddy and rescinds Jason's job offer when he realizes



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